November 25, 2010
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The weekly HVG has published an article on a research conducted among Hungarian Lutherans. The results were presented by Gergely Prőhle, who is not only a supervisor of the Lutheran church, but also the state secretary responsible for EU relations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The research has been conducted among 1500 adults randomly selected from the church’s registers containing a total of around 300 thousand persons (ca. 3% of the total population). According to the findings, 90% of these persons consider their religious affiliation important, and most of them do pay the “church tax”, which is collected by the church itself, so it is reasonable to assume that the 300 thousand persons not just happen to be in some register because they were baptised, but who are there due to some affiliation.
Still, Mr Prőhle deplores the secularisation of church members,
which continues in spite of the church’s efforts to rebuild its institutions–and the aim of the research is to develop a strategy to stop this trend. Most church members are satisfied with their pastor’s work, and three quarters of them pray at least once a week, 44% of them said that they were “faithful in their own ways”, and 7% turn to their pastor with their problems – including questions of theological nature. (The secretary of state considers this to be a consequence of the general bad condition of society, which effects also church members.)
Regarding politics, the faithful are divided: while 44% of them believe the church should cooperate with parties that share their values, 41% think that the church should completely stay out of politics.
While most church members pay their dues, less than half donate at worship collections, and even less offer 1% of their personal income tax. — According to tax office data, 49 thousand persons have donated their taxes to the Lutheran church, i.e. 16% of its registered members (the rest do not care or have no taxable income, such as retired persons). Most persons said that they have no income, and the findings suggest that the followers are rather poor, though looking at the tax office’s stats, the average per capita tax of Lutherans (6404 HUF) is a little bit more than the one of Catholics (5627) and Calvinists (5847).
Translated into absolute figures: there are ca. 270 thousand persons for whom the Lutheran church is important (2.7% of the total population), ca. 49 thousand of them are tax paying members of society who care enough to fill out a small sheet, and 156 thousand (1.56% of the total population) are the faithful who follow their church’s teachings.