…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 bases 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.
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 manias. 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?
Political christianism is no different than political islamism. It is religion claiming the power of the state to interfere with every aspect of life, even of those who don’t follow said religion nor do they respect and 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 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.
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.