Secular Hungary

Secular Hungary

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More EU Funds For Hungarian Churches

The Hungarian government gives another 1000 million Euro EU-funds to the churches, according to the weekly Világgazdaság. 4% of EU development funds may be used to fund public administration according to EU funding rules, but the governments are free to allocate these funds to other purposes and the Hungarian government has done so – stated Mr János Lázár, MP and head of the prime minister’s office, who from January 1st is also responsible for the distribution of EU monies received from the EU in the framework of their cohesion policies for the years 2014-2020, in his parliamentary answer to Mr László Varju (Democratic Coalition), who had asked on which grounds the government plans to allocate 300 000 million forints specifically to the churches, although church projects are also eligible for funding within regular programmes and have successfully applied for EU monies also during the funding period 2006-2013.
Mr Lázár, who has been notorious for having stated that a person’s worth is measured by their income, just has received a lot of attention this week, thanks to the internet news portal Cink, who found a Facebook post shared by Ms Donatella Failoni about a hunting party she took part in last December. The hunting party was organised by Mr Lázár and included actor Sándor Oszter (husband of Ms Failoni) as well as Archduke Michael of Habsburg and wife, Prince Nikolaus of Liechtenstein and wife. During the hunt 912 pheasants were shot for pleasure.


Hungarian State Mass For Eusebio

This late Portuguese football player called Eusebio must have been a grave sinner, if even the Hungarian Ministry of Human Resources (which is led by a pastor of the reformed church called Zoltán Balog) has had a mass said for his soul on January 9th…

Three Hungarian Bishops

In December, Lutheran bishop Tamás Fabinyi was interviewed by the Hungarian newspaper Népszabadság. Mr Fabinyi argued for a better separation between the state and the churches. Before thinking of anything such as a secular state: according to him, this means that the state should give money and shut up, while the churches will tell the state what is right and wrong.

Meanwhile Bishop Gusztáv Bölcskei, head of the Hungarian reformed church, talked about money. The faith activities of the churches are mainly but not exclusively funded via income tax: taxpayers may dedicate 1% of their income tax to one of the churches, and while only 26% of taxpayers do so, legislation ensure that the churches receive also the non-dedicated part of this 1% of all income tax (churches receive additional funds, but this 1% constitutes quite a big chunk). Mr Bölcskei deplores recent tax cuts (benefiting rich families with many children, while taxes for low-income taxpayers actually increased), which mean that the churches receive less money than they could with higher taxation, and asks for a more predictable funding system. I am convinced that most NGOs as well as many state-financed institutions such as universities, cultural institutions, public schools and the whole health system will agree with Mr Bölcskei: unlike the churches, they indeed have suffered serious cuts in funding. Funding is indeed unpredictable, but in the case of churches, the unexpected changes always had a positive

Our third bishop is László Tőkés, previously bishop of the reformed church of the Hungarian minority in Transylvania and member of the European Parliament for Romania, who at the age of 62 is having another kid. This, of course, would be his private affair, except that his new wife happened to be 8 months pregnant at their wedding, which, assuming that Mr Tőkés is the father of the child, means that his lifestyle is not quite compatible with the teaching of his own church which forbids sex outside marriage.

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.

Orbán Is Worth A Mass

An Orban fan collective of unmarried girls and married ladies (no „women”, mind you, but „lányok”, i.e. girls, and „asszonyok”, i.e. married ladies) has paid for a Catholic thanksgiving mass on the occasion of prime minister Viktor Orbán’s 50th birthday on 31st of May. Mr Orbán happens to be a protestant, but the four youngest of his kids were baptised in the Catholic church, and he was received by the late pope John Paul II for an audience with his family. He also told the press that he himself didn’t intend to celebrate his birthday and asked his wife not to arrange any surprise party. Anyway, this is not the first time Orbán fans are a bit overdoing it: at a village event at the end of his first government, an elderly person came up to him and kissed his hand in the old, feudal manner. Still, this definitely is the manner he behaves towards „his” people, so no wonder some are behaving like subjects.
The mass will be held at the Belvárosi plébániatemplom, whose parish priest is a certain Zoltán Osztie, who is the head of the Christian Intellectuals’ Association.
Of course the Catholic Church is quite right to thank their god for Orbán – just now, he’s very active in telling everywhere – at home and abroad – that being christian is essential. In April he participated at a Catholic conference in Bilbao, Spain, where he stated that Europaeans cannot get rid of their Christian essence, in spite that Brussel is promoting an agressively secular agenda. He also told the newspaper El Mundo that a Christian Europe is better place even for non-believers. A week ago, he visited the church of Ják, one of the most important roman style monuments in Hungary, where he reiterated that Europe fell in the trap of agressive secularism, internationalism and is against families, while both Europeans and Hungarians can face the future only through putting prayer and work in the centre of their lives. On the 7th of May, he claimed again that Europe is against families, and that Hungary is being persecuted by the EU because Hungary protects the family (meaning one man, one woman and their progeny). By the way, if anyone has questiosn about the type of family Orbán wants to protect: as a nice coincidence, 200 pregnant women and their impregnators were invited for Mother’s Day (5 May in Hungary) to a matinee at the Opera—to watch The Taming Of The Shrew, a play by Shakespeare on pre-marriage domestic violence with the aim to break the young woman’s back. This happened just one week after MP József Balogh’s partner had to be taken to the hospital, allegedly because he beat her up. Balogh said it was their big blind dog over whom „Terike” (Theresa) fell, but Terike decided not to go back to him after she left hospital. Meanwhile, his ex-wife told the media that Balogh beat her constantly throughout their 25 years marriage (there are medical records around), and that she even had warned Terike about Balogh. Balogh is still an MP, although he has left the Fidesz faction.

Strange Teaching Methods

The Catholic religion teacher (a father of six children himself and a deacon) of Szvetnik Joachim Primary School in Mélykút used a somewhat strange methodology to teach his pupils about the sin of lust: he had a boy and a girl stand up in front of the class, undress and kiss each other in their underware (their age was not given; pupils in primary schools are between 6 and 14 years old). The parents were upset, the incapacitated headmaster pointed to the state authority for maintaining schools since most competences of 11 thousand headmasters were transmitted to the Klebelsberg Centre (Klebelsberg Kunó Intézményfenntartó Központ, or KLIK) on January 1st, 2013. According to the relevant legislation, although religious education is paid for from the state budget, it is the churches who decide about the teachers and the content of the teachings, but since the school is responsible for the children’s well-being, according to some, KLIK could well investigate, although they have not answered journalists’ questions so far. The Kalocsa-Kecskemét Diocese told the left-wing weekly 168 óra that they have contacted the Vatican for guidance in the matter. The deacon says he’s innocent and doesn’t understand a thing.


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?).

Recycled Billboards

The government has recycled its anti abortion advertisements from last year. The ads, which (as usual in such cases) shows an already well-developed fetus asking „let me live and give me up for adoption”, were originally produced with EU funds meant to improve gender equality, but commissioner Viviane Reading protested, the government decided to cover the costs (110 million forints, i.e. ca. 38 thousand euros) from other funds. Now the government has given the ads with 25 million forints to the Ágota Foundation (Ágota Alapítvány), whose founder, Mr János Kothencz was sponsored by the Christian democrat (KDNP) MP, Mr Péter Harrach, for a job back in 2001-2002 in the administration of the town of Szeged, and who ran on behalf of Fidesz for a seat in the local council.

Religious Education

Smaller denominations are fearing that religious education, which will become gradually compulsory at state schools from September 2013 will in practice mean catholic indoctrination. Although any of the thirty something accredited denomination has the right to provide religious education at schools, in practice a minimum of 7 children per class are required, and in a talk on public tv, Mr László Donáth, a Lutheran pastor, said that smaller denominations such as his will not be able to collect enough children, so parents who want their kids to receive some christian . State secretary Mr Bence Rétvári, a Catholic himself, member of KDNP and former president of the IKSZ assured him that no proselytising is intended, while Gábor Horn, a liberal politician claimed that the state has no business in teaching religious values since it is no unanimity on which ones are to be taught.

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