Secular Hungary

Secular Hungary

Jesus Is Not Good Enough

A conservative parents’ association called National Association of Hungarian Parents (Magyar Szülők Országos Szervezete) has made quite a row this week in Hungary. When conservative Fidesz took over government in 2010, they handed over educational, cultural, social and health issues to their coalition partner, the Christian Democrats (KDNP), who do their bet to adjust these policies to their priorities. From September 2013, denomination religious education will become gradually compulsory at state schools, and children of non-religious parents or of parents belonging to a denomination not recognized by the state are required to take courses in ’morals’ (not ’ethics’) taught by teachers who have taken a 60-hour-course delivered also by denominational colleges. The president of the association, Mr Sándor Keszei announced that these courses in morals should not be taught by persons who are unmarried or have divorced, who have no children and who drink, smoke, pursue aberrant sexual practices (he didn’t give a definition) or watch sex movies. In other words, according to him, even Jesus is not apt to teach morals, not to speak of catholic priests… Mr Keszei committed the mistake to participate in Ms Olga Kálmán’s interview show, who is renown for her polite persistence. This put Mr Keszei in quite an awkward situation, since it turned out that he himself lives in a patchwork family, having divorced and remarried, and still does not think himself incapable of raising his children. At the end of the show, he withdrew the statement.
Unfortunately, this is not the end: Mr Keszei is member of the board which decides on the state funding of non-denominational private schools—denominational private schools automatically receive state funding. The board consists of five members: besides Mr Keszei and three officials from the ministry, another NGO representative participates: Ms Julianna Gärtner, who represents the Association of Christian Intellectuals (Keresztény Értelmiségiek Szervezete) led by the highly conservative Catholic priest Zoltán Osztie, who e.g. believes non-catholic Christian communities are not ‘churches’ in the ‘real’ sense of the word.


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