Viktor Orbán pushes back against criticism: A Christian politician 'cannot be racist'

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held at the Hilton Anatole on August 04, 2022, in Dallas, Texas. CPAC began in 1974, and is a conference that brings together and hosts conservative organizations, activists and world leaders in discussing current events. | Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Warning of what he called a “clash of civilizations” throughout the world, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán pushed back against criticism of his policies and accusations of racism by asserting that “a Christian politician cannot be racist.”

In an address Thursday at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas Texas, the prime minister took on a range of both political and cultural issues from globalism and illegal immigration to marriage and gender ideology.

Orbán, who was reelected in April on a platform of what he called a “brand of Christian democratic, conservative, patriotic politics,” told CPAC attendees he sees some parallels between Hungary and Texas’ reputation for valuing independence and freedom.

“If this is true — and it must be true, as I look around — then we have something in common, even if Hungary is over 5,000 miles from Dallas,” he said. “My country, Hungary, is the Lone Star State of Europe.”

Following criticism over a recent speech in which he attacked what he called an “ideological move” by the “internationalist Left” to claim that Europe is inherently “populated by peoples of mixed race,” Orbán pushed back against allegations of racism over his statement about not wanting to become "mixed race," saying, “a Christian politician cannot be racist.”

“I can already see tomorrow’s headlines: ‘Far-right European racist and anti-Semite strongman, the Trojan horse of Putin, holds speech at conservative conference,’” he said. "But I don’t want to give them any ideas. They know best how to write fake news.”

Orbán called on American conservatives to fight against regimes that are opposed to what he described as the West’s Judeo-Christian heritage.

“The horrors of Nazism and communism happened because some Western States in continental Europe abandoned their Christian values. And today’s progressives are planning to do the same. They want to give up on Western values, and create a New World, a Post-Western World,” he said.

The 59-year-old prime minister pointed to the Obama administration as an example, saying that under former President Barack Obama, the U.S. pressured Hungary to “delete Christian and national values from it.”

Both Obama and former President George W. Bush refused to take meetings with Orbán. The Obama administration also denied visas for Hungarian officials who had allegedly been suspected of corruption in 2014. 

By comparison, Orbán enjoyed close ties with the U.S. under former President Donald Trump and received praise from social conservatives worldwide and like-minded governments as conservative parties rose to power in the U.S. (2017) and Brazil (2018).

In his CPAC speech, Orbán took shots at a range of political figures, including Obama, billionaire George Soros, and the Democratic Party.

“They hate me and slander me and my country as they hate you and slander you and the America you stand for. We all know how this works,” he said.

He also warned of the consequences of a world increasingly being transformed by modernization across “the Chinese, the Indian, let’s say the orthodox world, and even Islam,” adding that “rival civilizations have adopted Western technology and have mastered the Western financial system, but they have not adopted Western values — and they have absolutely no intention of adopting them.”

Orbán alluded to those values — including at one point a verbatim citation of Hungary’s constitutional definition of marriage between a man and a woman — and touted Hungary's strong policies against illegal migration and "gender ideology".

"Less drag queens and more Chuck Norris," he said.

Orbán once called Christianity "Europe's last hope" in a 2018 speech, while accusing leaders in Brussels, Berlin and Paris of paving the way for the "advance of Islam."

Warning EU leaders that he was not prepared to fall in line with the UN and EU approach to migration, Orbán said Europe's leaders had "opened the way to the decline of Christian culture and the advance of Islam."

In a separate media appearance this week, Hungarian Political Director to the Prime Minister Balázs Orbán (no relation to the prime minister) said Soros plays an outsized role in his country’s political theater.

“George Soros is a very talented Hungarian man, but the role he is playing in Western politics is not a very good role,” Orbán told Glenn Beck on Thursday.

“He just wants to influence things behind the curtain,” he added. “Unfortunately we don't have independent opposition, George Soros owns them.”

When asked about parallels between America and Hungary, Orbán said the fact that Hungary has had a “clear cut conservative Christian government” proves that such types of governments don’t always necessarily lead to what Beck described as “gulags and secret police.” 

“I think it’s proof that if you stand up for your values, and you can formulate a stable government … then you can bring prosperity for your country,” said Orbán.

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