Secular Hungary

Secular Hungary

Little things

Recently, several small news items have been published on the internet, showing state and (catholic) church in bed together.
– Mrs Rózsa Hoffmann, state secretary for education sent her new year’s greeting to all schools. Her greeting was 17 lines long, with half of them recommending the pope’s six pages message on education she included in her letter. Anyone who had any open questions regarding the state scretary’s stance: the aim of education is truth’ and ’freedom’, truth meaning God, and freedom meaning accepting one’s subordination to God. And education is in the eyes of the state secretary a process with a teacher as actor and a pupil as passive open vessel that needs to give itself over to the teacher’s leadership.
http://nol.hu/belfold/hoffmann_rozsa_papai_korlevelet_kuldott_az_iskolaigazgatoknak, the original letter is available on the government’s homepage: http://www.kormany.hu/hu/nemzeti-eroforras-miniszterium/oktatasert-felelos-allamtitkarsag/hirek/hoffmann-rozsa-levele
– Szilárd Németh, mayor of the Budapest district of Csepel is calls to prayer. On the official webpage of the district, he published the text of the prayer recently said by Ágoston Ullrich, priest of Csepel’s Immaculate Heart of the Holy Virgin parish church, on the 104th birthday of Albert Wass, writer emigrated from Transsylvania who is very popular among the far right for his fascistoid ideology. The prayer asks God to bless the prime minister, Viktor Orbán, because the opposition has again brutally attacked him, and the mayor asks all readers to spread the prayer in order to help Viktor Orbán.
http://kepviselofunky.blog.hu/2012/01/10/csepel_orban_viktor_imadsag
– It’s nothing new that the Catholic church is campaigning for the government among its followers. In the Catholic paper Magyar Kurír, János Székely assistant bishop of Esztergom and Budapest gave his ’analysis’ of Hungary’s situation. According to him, the reason for the general hate towards Hungary is that the Hungarian government is standing up for values that many want to distroy, namely marriage between one man and one woman, family, defending life from conception, but the main reason is that the Hungarian government decided on taxing banks heavily. Disputes about details of the media law or the church law are actually meant to cover up the real reason. When the light comes, also the forces of darkness appear.
You find Székely’s rant here: http://www.magyarkurir.hu/hirek/szekely-janos-puespoek-hazankat-ero-tamadasok-okairol
– The new law on education (CXC of 2011) makes the participation in religious education or ethics classes compulsory. State schools have already been required earlier to provide a place for faith classes, and teachers have been paid by the state. This now becomes compulsory, entailing a little technical problem: in theory, no one may be required to make a statement about their faith or to do something that allows conclusions regarding their religious affiliation.
Faith schools (which are financed by the state) are by the way allowed to refuse pupils on grounds of their religion, and they are exempt from non-discrimination legislation.
– The new law on higher education also allows religious selection (although even theology is state funded). However, this applies only to religious communities that have been granted church status. Others are not allowed to discriminate. So a church university may select according to faith even in non theology courses (e.g. in its law school), while non church faith colleges may not even regarding their theology students.
This situation is very interesting because from September, the state finances much less study playes than before (34 thousand instead of 53 tousand), and church universities also offer state financed non-theology study programmes. In 2012, the state will pay free tuition for 100 new law students, while last year, Pázmány Peter Catholic University alone had 100 state financed first year law students.
– An order of the minister of interior affairs (53/2011 (XII. 21.) BM rendelet, 156/2011 Magyar Közlöny) rules that the minister may give team flags to units of forces such as the police. If possible, the ceremony should be organised as part „of a national holiday or an event of the ’traditional churches’”.

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