political christianism

Orbán openly aims to end separation of church and state

…after he ended separation between state and business.

“We don’t want to diverge from the path we have been following for a thousand years. … It is possible only if we admit that state and church communities must collaborate. This collaboration is sanctioned by our Basic Law. In a democracy that is founded on Christian basis it is not only the task but a duty of the state to take responsibility for traditional communities, ranging from families through chruch communities to the nation. The Basic Law states that “The protection of Hungary’s constitutional self-identity and Christian culture is the duty of every state agency.””

-Orbán in a speech at the opening of a new church on 26 September, 2021.

He is not wrong. His Basic Law really says that and everything he said and did on the issue points in the same direction. The Basic Law is what Orbán replaced the constitution with in 2011. It has removed the separation of powers and every control on executive power along with checks and balances. It does not mention the market economy any more and allows public money to become private by simply giving it to one of Orbán’s newly established asset management “foundations”. A thing he did a lot this year, to the tune of tens of billions of dollars, effectively emptying the state budget to pump up his own loyalists who may now be more powerful than the state.

Innovation in kleptocracy – Corporations can now pay taxes to loyalist foundations and the state has to pay them back

Orbán also bragged that 150 new churches have been built in the last decade of his reign from taxpayer money – despite the dwindling religiousness in the country. And that does not include the uncounted mansions, hotels and real estate thrown at favored churches during the pandemic and before – alongside a generous sum to renovate and maintain them.

Nothing about this is new to anyone who lives here but many of Orbán’s European allies conveniently turn away when he is spouting his least civilized obsessions. I wonder what the French far right would think about the end of secularism – even though they enjoy Orbán’s hospitality and whatever support Orbán can bring them. Hating Muslims is one thing – especially if there is an actual Muslim minority in the country like in France – but are they willing to rub up to a political religionist?

Does his political chirstianism mean that Orbán is religious? No. And it does not matter whether he is. Political christianism is just a political tool, a means to bludgeon any part of the population (women, men, LGBT, minorities, etc.) based on unchecked assumptions that permeated society for centuries. It divides and conquers a society for a politician to reign over it. People distracted by being pitted against each other have no bandwidth left to scrutinize power and to call out its abuse. They are too divided to unseat an emerging autocrat.

Political religionism intrudes into citizen’s private lives – just as every other form of autocracy does. This one does it in the name of God. It meddles into what we eat, whom we love, what we do, wear, listen to and how we live. None of those things have anything to do with a politician’s job – but politicians are always tempted to utilize the air of unquestionability usually reserved for religions and to tap the irrationalism they cultivate.

Political christianism is no different than political islamism. It is religion claiming the power of the state to interfere with every aspect of life – joining forces with a politician who wants to do the same. And they don’t just aspire to interfere in the lives of believers. They want to control even those who don’t follow said religion and don’t accept the right of church men to dictate how they should live and what they should feel, want and believe. Not only does political religionism of any color happen to have the same views on women, families and who should wield power, it is absolutist and totalitarian, it wants to govern all aspects of life, putting an unacceptable amount of power in the hands of enforcers.

Cults: How to make people want what you want them to want

Many of these things separate Orbán from western European conservatives, where political religionism is kept at bay and democratic norms and controls on the executive powers are still in vogue – not to mention the ideas of civil liberties, human rights and economic freedom – things that Orbán has nothing to do with. Why western European and American conservatives are so keen to associate themselves with an openly proud kleptocracy is a mystery – unless of course they also benefit financially.

Republicans are Russia’s new useful idiots

3 thoughts on “Orbán openly aims to end separation of church and state

  1. Umm the ‘duty to promote’ re Govt departments and Christianity is a feature of the 2018 amendment to the basic law not the original 2011/12 l text -referenced here.

    The ‘principle of co-operation with the state’ as criteria for gaining admission to the top teir of registered churches is a feature of the 2018 ‘Church Law’ -a cardinal law rather than part of the Basic Law itself. In fact it is odd not to mention either the first (2011) or second (2018) ‘church laws’ here in understanding the erosion of separation of church and state in Hungary under Fidesz.
    The title “Orbán openly aims to end separation of church and state” is misleading -he already has ended the separation.
    Overall (and not just in relation to this post) less anger and more accuracy would make this site a better resource for sympathetic outsiders committed to supporting efforts for change in Hungary…


  2. “The Basic Law is what Orbán replaced the constitution with in 2010. It has removed the separation of powers and every control on executive power along with checks and balances.”

    Factual inaccuracy. Orbán’s new Basic law was drafted and signed in 2011 and entered force in 2012.01.01.
    Not that it changes anything about the rest of the post, it just looks plain stupid.


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