Hungary’s Paradox

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán
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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, in what would surely anger the Marxist-founded Black Lives Matter (BLM)—which has boasted to “burn down” the “Western-prescribed nuclear-family-structure”—recently stated that kneeling during the playing of national anthems at sporting events was not only provocative but an act of discrimination.

Hungary is one of 14 host nations to the Euro 2020 soccer championship rescheduled for the next two months as a result of the COVID-19 shutdown. Orbán warned that the propagandized guilt of former slave-holding nations and slaves’ descendants living amongst them to impose remorse on nations like Hungary, which never had slavery, is damaging to the common good:

“If you’re a guest in a country then understand its culture and do not provoke it. Do not provoke the host… We can only see this gesture system from our cultural vantage point as unintelligible, as provocation.”

Prime Minister Orbán, who has been hailed as the “protector” of Christianity by many, has been taking heat from the European Union, as well as the United Kingdom and the United States, for his pro-family position: marriage exclusively between male and female with the end of procreation and proper formation of children. In fact, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, seen as the de facto leader of the EU before the pandemic, refused to meet Orbán for over four years for what was deemed his “democratic backsliding.”

Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party, of which Orbán is chairman, has proposed banning the “promotion” of sexuality of young people under a new law. The bill would also outlaw promoting sex change among minors, including in schools, films, or books.

Last year, Orbán vehemently opposed a new children’s book that featured homosexual characters:

“Hungary has laws on homosexuality, which are based on an exceptionally tolerant and patient approach. But there is a red line not to cross [castigating an] act of provocation. To sum up my opinion: leave our children alone.” 

The latest amendment, submitted to parliament on June 10, by Fidesz lawmakers, would also extend laws against pedophilia, outlining that youngsters under the age of eighteen cannot be shown pornographic content, or any content that encourages gender change or homosexuality. This, too, applies to advertisements, simultaneously proposing a list of organizations allowed to hold sex education sessions in schools. The new law also bars both gay and lesbian couples from adopting children.

In his effort to address the demographic decline in his country before a rising Muslim population in Europe, Orbán has provided tax wavers—for life—for women who have four or more children. This is part of his Family Protection Plan, in which

  • every woman under 40 years of age will be eligible to a preferential loan when they first get married;
  • preferential loans for the family home purchase scheme will be extended; families raising two or more children will now also be able to use it for purchasing resale homes;
  • families with two or more children will be repaid one million forints (roughly over 3,000 USD) of the mortgage loan;
  • women who have had and raised at least four children will be exempt from personal income tax payment for the rest of their lives;
  • grandparents will also be eligible to receive child-care fees and look after young children instead of the parents, the prime minister added.

Such policies, however, have been reaping fruit. Unlike the rate of U.S. marriages, which has reached a 153-year low according to a report from the National Center for Health Statistics, according to Katalin Novák, Hungarian Secretary for Family, Youth, and International Affairs, “The number or marriages is at its 40-year high, the fertility rate at its 20-year high.”

The birth rates in 2020, compared to 2019, rose to almost 10 percent, representing an approximate ratio increase of 1.4 to 1.6. In the first month of the year, 8,067 children were born—694 more than in the same period last year.

Orbán, who is a Presbyterian—his wife and children are Catholic—in one way, shape, or form, has been a defender of Christianity in Central Europe.

In August 2020, Orbán, at an event to inaugurate a monument commemorating the Treaty of Trianon—the accord that led to the realignment of the European borders after World War I— appealed to Central European nations to preserve their Christian roots:

“Western Europe had given up on…a Christian Europe, and instead experiments with a godless cosmos, rainbow families, migration and open societies.”

These words were not just a recognition of how Western Europe is annihilating itself because of its rejection of its Judeo-Christian traditions, but they are an appeal to the Central European countries not to follow the same path as the West.

This is perhaps a reason why the Preamble of the new Hungarian Constitution, which is explicitly Christian, reads

“We are proud, that our King St. Stephen established the Hungarian state on firm foundations a thousand years ago and made our country a part of Christian Europe…. We recognize the role of Christianity in preserving our nationhood.” 

Orbán has linked the persecution of Christians in other parts of the world to the increasing hostility toward mainstream Christianity in Europe. As explained by Fr. Benedict Kiely, a priest of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in England and Wales, the Hungarian Prime Minister’s contention is in part due to the European Constitution’s commission of the foundational place of Christianity in the formation of all that is meant by the term “Europe.” 

It is true that Christianity did not start in Europe and therefore cannot be classified as a European religion. The Christian religion, nevertheless, as Pope Benedict XVI once said, received “in Europe its most effective cultural and intellectual imprint and remains, therefore, identified in a special way with Europe.” 

Pope St. John Paul II, and then his successors, pointed out the perilous consequences the EU’s “forgetfulness” would bring. Both Popes Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, as Kiely points out, have spoken of the “spiritual vacuum” at the heart of secular Europe that would eventually be filled and, as the demographics of Europe shift via massive immigration, by Islam especially since true-believing Muslims do not practice abortion or artificial contraception.

Orbán is correct in that both secular Europe and Islamists, specifically those who uphold and seek to impose sharia law, despise Christianity and the civilization it shaped in Europe. Yet in doing so he has aligned himself with the nemesis of the institution of the family and religious freedom: the Chinese Communist Party.

As with all leaders, Viktor Orbán is not without fault. With all he has done to both promote and safeguard the institution of the family and the rights of Hungarian Christians, he may single-handedly destroy this overnight.

The Hungarian Prime Minister, in his ongoing political war with the Western nations, has become one of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s closest collaborators in Europe. In his so-called “Eastern Opening” policy, Orbán

  • became the first European leader to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative in 2015;
  • was among the first leaders to embrace the widespread distribution of China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine;
  • has called for a referendum to have Communist China build a branch of its Fudan University in Budapest;
  • like the Vatican, has emerged as the only EU leader to block attempts to take action—or to even merely issue a statement—over China’s crackdown against the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, to say nothing of the escalating persecution of Chinese Christians, especially those of the “underground Church.”

Orbán, may not be aware of it, but his pro-China measures undoubtedly not only question his credibility as a Christian who seeks to defend democratic principles based on the natural law, but they may pave the way for leftwing politicians to implement their unnatural law agendas.

Orbán will be facing elections next year. The man who is seeking to unseat him is Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony. 

Karácsony recently gained international popularity when he renamed certain streets in Budapest to “Free Hong Kong Street,” “Uyghur Martyrs Street,” and “Bishop Xie Shiguang Street” in protest of the Hungarian government’s choice to construct a campus of the aforementioned Chinese University. Most Hungarians have yet to jump on board his liberal Green Party policies. Yet because of his rightful protest against Communist China embedding itself in Hungarian life his campaign has gained momentum. 

[Photo Credit: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP via Getty Images)]

By

Fr. Mario Alexis Portella is a priest of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Florence, Italy. He was born in New York and holds a doctorate in canon law and civil law from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome. He is the author of Islam: Religion of Peace?—The Violation of Natural Rights and Western Cover-Up (Westbow Press, 2018).

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