Pastor Responds to Hungarian Religious Law

Hungary’s High Court recently struck down a law calling for religious organizations to obtain approval from Parliament. The Christian Post spoke with one Pastor in New York to get his thoughts on the law.

Rev. Csongor Kovacs serves at the First Hungarian Reformed Church in New York City, which serves the Hungarian community in the area. Rev. Kovacs stated that Hungary’s new law “is not a good law.”

He went on to explain, “The main problem in Hungary is that they have had a very liberal church law” that led to financial abuses. Some so-called churches were actually businesses looking for a way to avoid paying taxes. “Hundreds of churches have appeared in Hungary since 1989. Most of them had nothing to do with any kind of religion but about money-making.”

Hungary’s religious majority is Roman Catholic, which many perceive as conservative on a lot of issues. Kovacs said he knows “many MP’s in Hungary are in the Christian-Democrat Party” but they also criticized the new law. They also, he said, made sure to include voices usually ignored.

While Hungarian officials say that they will not place constraints on the religious practices of Hungarians, other world leaders are not fully convinced. Thirteen U.S. congressmen sent a letter to the Prime Minister’s office stating that they “hope that Hungary will remain committed to the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms, including freedom of conscience and religion.”

Religious groups in Hungary currently include Christian, Roma, Jewish, and Buddhist traditions. Earlier this month the Hare Krishna gathered in Budapest in protest of the new law.

Russian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s regime took office in April and has been busy making sweeping changes across the country. The new religious law was one of its proposals but was struck down by the Constitutional Court. It was scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2012, along with the other proposals but is currently being reviewed by the Court.

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