Secular Hungary

Secular Hungary

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Compulsory Catholic Course for Foster Parents

Christian Democrat state secretary Mr Miklós Soltész has announced that foster parents are required to take a 400 lessons course developed by the Apor Vilmos Catholic College, whose rector, Ms Mária Fülöpné Erdő, the sister of Péter Erdő cardinal and respected member of the European congress of catholic bishops has just been featured in the media due to her textbook for religious education: In her book, 10-year-old children of Catholic parents are informed that “homosexuality is a deadly sin”.
The government uses EU monies to finance the course, but according to the daily Népszava, the 5300 million forints (ca. 18 million euro!) will be enough for only a fourth (1600 of a total of 5200) of all foster parents, making the course rather expensive.
The course, which takes 52 full days’ time, is compulsory also for part-time foster parents (who will spend 52 weekend days less with their foster children) or for people who undertook to raise the children of their dead family or friends. Parents not completing the course before 2017 will be rid of their children.


EU-Funds for Green Energy: Only For Churches

While an earlier programme for increasing the use of green energy was so successful that the money was enough only for applicants from the state sector, and most applicants found themselves on a waiting list, they won’t get anything of the additional funds made available for this programme. According to the online newsportal Origo, The National Development Agency, which is managing EU funds in Hungary, plans to retroactively change the conditions for applying, so instead of NGOs and SMEs who already have invested their time and money in writing a project only green energy projects by churches will be eligible for funding.

Top 10 Sexist Hungarian Politicians

You may remember, that for some people, the sinfulness of women is the cause of all bad things. Would you have thought that this includes homelessness? After Hungarian MP Mr István Varga stated that the cause of domestic violence is that wives are not bearing enough children, his colleague, the Christian Democrat Mr Tamás Lukács has now elaborated that women are responsible for homelessness, since if one visits a shelter, the story of 8 out of 10 men starts with „when I divorced…”, and the bill against domestic violence makes it possible to ban a man [who beats his wife and children] from his home.
The weekly Magyar Narancs has a top 10 list of the womanhaters of the „Respectable House” (as the Hungarian parliament is sometimes called):

1. Mr Blind Dog, József Balogh, ex-Fidesz: His wife had had to go to hospital int he middle of the night, after they came home from the wedding of the stepson. Balogh later claimed she fell over their blind shepherd dog („vak komondor”) and anyway, he didn’t remember much since he was tired and had drunk some alcohol at the wedding (which means his license should be taken away, since the alcohol limit is 0). The former wife claims she had told her successor about Mr Balogh’s beating habits.

2. György Gyula Zagyva, Jobbik, is reported to have said to MP Ms Ágnes Osztolykán: „Even though you’re a gypsy, I’d bang [lit.: stab] you.” He claims he said „they’d’, not „I’d”.

3. István Józsa, Socialists, has reportedly pulled the hair of Dr Anett Kubovicsné Borbély at a committee meeting. He claims she wasn’t shouting because of him but because she was angry about a violation of the rules. He also states that he has said „kiss your hands” to her ever since – which is a greeting form preferred by elderly men who have problems with independent women and think being „chivalrous” is a solution to their  problem. Especially younger working women (under 55 or so) find it patronising.

4. Isván Varga, Fidesz: the cause of domestic violence is that women do not bear enough children.

5. Tamás Deutsch, Fidesz, is rude through and through, preferably via Twitter. His twitter comment on an intervention of MP Tímea Szabó: „Timmie, the political blue-stocking on duty is showing her biceps.”

6. László Tahó, when asked by her to be quiet during the speech of her colleague, told the same MP Szabó: „What are you babbling here, girlie?”

7. István Klinghammer, state secretary for higher education and former rector of Eötvös Loránd University is a bit more complicated, but the gist is that small rural colleges will be enough for the local girls to get a degree in preschool education.

8. Viktor Orbán, prime minister (who alledgedly has been beating his wife for decades) just gave away his eldest daughter into marriage and showed his ideal world to be ne where men play football and the ladies weep at the wedding.

9. Zoltán Illés, state secretary insulted Ms Bernadett Szél– well, just read the statement of the CEU, where he teaches:

10. László Köver, Fidesz, speaker, whose job it is to keep things civil, and who actually finds this totally normal (as one journalist said, this sexist dialect is actually his mother tongue), while minor transgressions from the opposition parties are punished with heavy fines (MP Szabó had to pay one third of her allowance for holding a banner saying „Distribute land, don’t steal it”, referring to scandalous tenders for the lease of agricultural land belonging to the state).

No wonder, the Hungarian parliament has one of the lowest ratio of women MPs in the world…

Money’s Rolling

According to a government decree published last Friday, the Fidesz-KDNP government gives away another 1900 million forint (6,3 million euro, though since the prime minister appointed his finance minister, Mr György Matolcsy to become president of the National Bank, and pushed through another amendment of the constitution written by his own followers) the Hungarian forint looses its value rapidly) from the budget reserve to the Reformed Church, to improve the infrastructure of the church’s schools in Debrecen (while at present state schools have difficulties in providing for enough chalk). They are thinking long-term: for 2014, 3000, for 2015, 2700 and for 2016 2400 million forint will be provided for the same purpose.

Call to Denounce

The coalition partner of the Fidesz government, the Christian Democrat Party (which is supported by around 1% of voters) has expressed their regret on their website that the election of the new head of the church (spelling „head” with a capital against the orthographic rules) many memes have appeared on the internet that are disrespectful and abusive, as well as comments that make fun of religious beliefs and are degrading, antihuman and show hate towards Christians. According to them bloggers have been competing to vilify and ridicule Roman Catholics and the Holy Father. Which in their opinion shows that the Hungarian press enjoys total freedom.
They continue to encourage their readers to file complaints against websites and bloggers based on the basic law (formerly known as constitution), which stipulates that the freedom of opinion may not used to violate the human dignity of others and the Hungarian nation, national, ethnic, racial and religious communities.
Any more questions about the stance of KDNP towards the freedom of speech?


Hungary has celebrated the revolution of 1848/49 last Friday, and as always, this is the occasion to distribute medals. Let’s have a look at who got one.
Of course, there are again a good dozen of church employees from parish priests and administrative workers to national heads of Catholic convents who have received various crosses of the Hungarian Order of Merit. Among them, János Kothencz, director-general for children and youth issues of the Catholic diocese of Szeged-Csanád, whose name you have read only a few weeks ago in an other context: he is the founder and guru of methodology of the Ágota Foundation, which was entrusted with 25 million forint (85 thousand Euros) to recycle last year’s anti abortion campaign initiated by Christian Democrat (KDNP)’s Mr Miklós Soltész, state secretary for health issues. Both Ágota Foundation and Kothencz’ method, KÁSPEM are registered brands, the latter is a method to deal with children who have to be taken out of their families, while the former is an NGO dealing with foster children and foster parents, which prides itself to have a wide network of church sponsors, including the NGO Renovabis, which was established by the German Catholic bishops’ conference in order to give aid to central and Eastern European Catholics. Their aim is the evangelisation of children who had to be taken out of their families by showing them that God and providence love them, too.
There are quite a number of other interesting winners, too: first of all the guitar player of the far-right wing band Kárpátia, then Mr Tamás Fricz, the organiser of the „Peace March” and its NGO, the Civil Unity Forum (Civil Összefogás Fórum, CÖF), i.e. demonstrations in favour of the government, strengthened by Polish conservatives who are transported by special train from Poland; Mr Vilmos Lázár, who is not only a renown horse-cart driver but also the owner of the grocery franchise CBA and who is a vocal supporter of the government; Mrs Tamás Adamik (maiden name Anna Jászó), who supported Fidesz against the former government and whose husband, the classical philologist Tamás Adamik, works for Kráter Műhely, the publisher who edits the books of the late nazi Albert Wass; Ms Emőke Bagdy, a psychologist who established the Society for Family Research I wrote about earlier. Bagdy’s co-founders were Ms Mónika Keresztes Rónaszékiné, a Fidesz MP, and Mr Imre Téglásy. The latter is the president of the Alfa Association which became notorious in 1998 when it tried to force by legal stratagems a 13 year-old-girl to carry her unwanted pregnancy to term (the local parish priest who assisted in the manoeuvre was awarded a medal for this by pope John Paul II).
Hungary can also pride itself with some real crackpot awardees: Mr Ajándok Eőry, a medical practitioner is know for his „alternative” approaches like chi massage, but he has also stated that he is able to predict the likelihood of certain illnesses by applying a pentagram and using the patient’s birth date. He provides medical services for the Hungarian charity of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, whose head, Catholic priest Imre Kozma stated that Africans are not yet fit for becoming pope. Finally, we have Mr Kornél Bakay who left the Hungarian Academy of Sciences to head a „chair” at the never accredited Humanities Association of Miskolc (Miskolci Bölcsész Egyesület) founded by another crackpot, the late Mr Ferenc Badinyi-Jós. He also ran twice for MP for the far-right MIÉP of the late Mr István Csurka and gave a speech at the funeral of the far-right bishop of the reformed Chruch, Mr Loránt Hegedűs (whose daughter-in-law, Mrs Loránt Hegedűs is an MP for the far-rigth Jobbik). His views are summarised by the linguistic portal Nyest as follows (I couldn’t be more concise): He doubts Darwinian evolutionary theory and sees Hungarian runic script in cave paintings, which he connects to the Sumerian writing system, he denies the existence of the ancient Jewish reign of David and Solomon, he links Hungarians to Huns and Scythians and even Celtic, Etruscan and Greek culture descends from the Magyars. He ascribes medieval slave trade to the Jews, and of course according to him, Jesus was not a Jew, but a Parthian.
Which brings us to the last item for today: the journalist Mr Ferenc Szaniszló was given a Táncsics award by minister (and pastor of the reformed church) Mr Zoltán Balog. During the last few years, Mr Szaniszló has professed quite, well, innovative statements such as the following: gypsies (roma) are primates („emberszabású majom”); as soon as it exhausts its oil occurrences, Israel will populate Hungary with Jews; the Austrian right-wing politician Jörg Haider was killed by a drone because of his success; and the accident at Kolontár (where a basin of an aluminium factory broke and inundated two villages) was not an accident due to natural geological processes (which could have been foreseen) at all but caused by the IMF which ordered NATO to bomb the dam of the artificial lake where residues were stored. After journalists and the Hungarian Journalists’ Association (MÚOSZ) protested and demanded an explanation, Mr Balog said he was sorry and didn’t know who he was giving a medal (several journalists who were honoured earlier have decided to give their medals back in protest). Which is maybe even worse, if it’s true (I mean, is a person who does not tell his staff to do a quick google search prudent enough to act as minister?).

Excellence by Decree

Universities fulfilling a particularly high set of criteria receive some additional state funding due to their excellence. Along with the other Hungarian denominational institutions, Pázmány Péter Catholic University (PPKE) does not meet these criteria. In a fit of ecumenism, pastor and minister Mr Zoltán Balog plans to change the criteria for excellence to suit the Catholic university: according to his plans, universities have either to comply with the standards of excellence, or they have to be established based on international contracts, like PPKE, which is part of the concordat with the Vatican – and which has awarded a doctor universitas degree to deputy prime minister Zsolt Semjén for a paper of questionable quality and in a discipline they have no competence to award degrees in.

Faith Promotion With Public Funds

700 million forints (ca. 2.35 million Euros) of public Hungarian and EU funds were allocated to the development of religious tourism in the Alföld region. The project is one of the 34 featured tourism projects, and it will include not only the restoration of religious buildings of public interest, but also the creation of several theme parks and the building of new chapels and pilgrims’ hostels.

Compulsory Religious Instruction – With Limitations

From 2013 on, compulsory religious education is being introduced gradually into the Hungarian school system (until now, state schools had to organise religious education at the request of the parents). This violates of course religious freedom, i.e. the freedom not to make a statement about one’s religion, since the school can of course guess about a parent’s religion by looking  which religious education class the kid attends. The whole thing is bound to get complicated, as most neighborhoods and school classes are religiously heterogeneous. Consequently, religious education will have to be organised for potentially three dozen different groups of pupils at each level at all schools, and things will be even more complicate if there is more than one class per grade. Even the head of the biggest denomination in Hungary, Catholic Péter Erdő, has stated that his church does not have enough teachers to cover all schools (meanwhile, inexistent ethics teachers are trained at 101 courses of 60 hours). Anyway, some schools have found a way to cut down on the number of groups: as a father, Fabius of the Varanus blog got a letter from his kid’s school offering him a choice not of thirty something denominations enjoying church status, but 5 choices, listed very correctly in alphabetic order: ethics, “evangélikus” (i.e. Lutheran), Greek catholic, “reformed” (i.e. Calvinist), roman catholic.


Government: 90% of Taxpayers Are Church Members

The Hungarian parliament has modified law CXXIV of 1997 (in the 129th paragraph of law CCXII of 2012 which deals with various issues regarding the national health service), which now rules that 0,9% of income taxes are to be handed over to the churches. Similarly to the Italian system, Hungarian taxpayers offer 1% of their income tax to a religious community of the secular alternative(s) provided by the state (another 1% is to be offered to any civil organisation). Despite the media efforts of the bigger churches to get not only their follower’s tax but also that of the wider public, taxpayers are not very keen on dedicating their taxes. In 2011, 38% of taxpayers offered 1% of their income tax to one of the religious communities (this was before the number of possible beneficiaries was cut down to 31), 9% preferred the secular alternative, and 53% decided not to decide. Their 1% is now practically given to the religious communities enjoying church privileges according to the new church law.

UPDATE: sorry, I got the percentage wrong. Out of 3,44 million taxpayers, 1047906 dedicated 1% of their tax to a church, i.e. 30,47%.

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