Posted by Kendall Harmon

Uncertainty remained Sunday, February 16, over the future of one of Hungary's main evangelical denominations after it lost its church status and the government rejected an expert opinion about its "religious legitimacy."

The Hungarian Evangelical Fellowship (HEF), known for outreach to Gypsies, or Roma, and aid programs among homeless and elderly, was among hundreds of groups losing recognition under controversial religious legislation imposed by the center-right government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

In January, the Ministry of Human Resources warned students attending HEF's John Wesley Theological College that they would no longer receive state scholarships, despite reports that Minister Zoltan Balog was a former faculty member.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeHungary* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted February 16, 2014 at 2:12 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If I asked you to describe the state of Christianity in Europe, you’d probably answer “not good.” And there’d be ample reason to do so. Most of us are familiar with the depressing statistics regarding church attendance in Western Europe and Scandinavia.

But there is more to Europe than Britain, France, and Sweden. And in Central and Eastern Europe, a different story is being written.

This story was the subject of a recent First Things article by Filip Mazurczak. In it, Mazurczak reveals to readers what is going on in former communist societies such as Hungary and Croatia. For instance, while the European Union notoriously omitted any mention of Europe’s Christian heritage in the preamble to its constitution, Hungary’s new constitution “ties Christianity to Hungarian nationhood.”

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeCroatiaHungary

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Posted January 31, 2014 at 4:39 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, by whose grace thy servant Elizabeth of Hungary recognized and honored Jesus in the poor of this world: Grant that we, following her example, may with love and gladness serve those in any need or trouble, in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryYouth Ministry* International News & CommentaryEuropeHungary

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Posted November 19, 2013 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Hungarian radical right-wingers rallied against a Jewish conference in Budapest in early May, a well-known Protestant pastor hid behind the stage while his wife stepped up to the podium to denounce Jews and Israel.

Lorant Hegedus could have preached the same anti-Semitism as his wife, a deputy for the populist Jobbik party in parliament. But his part in launching the rally may cost him his role as the far-right's favorite clergyman.

With anti-Semitism on the rise here, Christian churches are working with the Jewish community to counter the provocations against Jews and the Roma minority that have won Jobbik support among voters fed up with the country's economic crisis.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeHungary* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesOther FaithsJudaism

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Posted May 17, 2013 at 9:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Saint Margaret’s Anglican Episcopal Church, Budapest, has begun offering Anglican worship in English at Svábhegy in the beautiful Buda Hills on the first Sunday of each month....

Read it all and enjoy the picture.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeHungary

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Posted January 18, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, by whose grace thy servant Elizabeth of Hungary recognized and honored Jesus in the poor of this world: Grant that we, following her example, may with love and gladness serve those in any need or trouble, in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* International News & CommentaryEuropeHungary

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Posted November 19, 2012 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It has never been easier to become a cybercriminal, Foreign Secretary William Hague is to warn an international conference in Budapest.

He will tell delegates that cybercrime is "one of the greatest global and strategic challenges of our time."

Mr Hague is highlighting the UK's determination to be a world leader in cyber security - it is spending £2m setting up a cybercrime centre.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKEuropeHungary

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Posted October 4, 2012 at 3:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Hungary’s Ambassador to the Holy See is rather perplexed by the negative reaction of some European figures and institutions to his country’s new Constitution -- a document he sees as offering a possible impetus to a "Christian renaissance" in Europe.

"We think it’s a little bit strange to hear such voices," Ambassador Gábor Győriványi told ZENIT March 27th. "The real founding fathers of the European Union planned to base the Union on Christian values, and expressed the notion that European democracy can only be viable if constructed on the Christian basis."

The preamble of the new Constitution, or "Fundamental Law," which came into force Jan. 1, contains references to God, Christianity, and traditional family values. It further stipulates that the life of a fetus be protected from the moment of conception (abortion remains legal, however, in cases where the mother’s health is threatened).

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeHungary

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Posted April 15, 2012 at 11:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Beginning Sept. 1, Hungarians will have to pay a 10 forint (€ 0.37) tax on foods with high fat, sugar and salt content, as well as increased tariffs on soda and alcohol. The expected annual proceeds of €70 million will go toward state health care costs, including those associated with addressing the country's 18.8 percent obesity rate, which is more than 3 percent higher than the European Union average of 15.5 percent according to a 2010 report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In Germany, by comparison, 13.6 percent of adults are obese, with Romania at the bottom of the list with 7.9 percent.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said, "Those who live unhealthily have to contribute more." In other words, the new law is based on the idea that those whose diets land them in the hospital should help foot the bill, particularly in a country with a health care deficit of €370 million.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchDieting/Food/NutritionHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsEconomyTaxes* International News & CommentaryEuropeHungary

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Posted September 1, 2011 at 10:58 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The 40 gypsies from Gyöngyöspata, who don't even use the more acceptable term Roma to describe themselves, have been assigned the job of clearing hibiscus bushes and undergrowth for four months. They are among 300,000 Hungarians who will soon be performing "community" work under a new law, which dictates that anyone who is out of work for more than 90 days in a row forfeits the right to social welfare and membership in the social insurance system.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeHungary

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Posted August 23, 2011 at 4:55 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The new “Law on the Right to Freedom of Conscience and Religion, and on Churches, Religions and Religious Communities” was enacted July 12 with backing from Hungary’s governing center-right Fidesz party.

Under the law, only 14 of 358 registered churches and religious associations will be granted legal recognition, while others will have to reapply for legal registration after two-thirds approval in parliament.

Read it all.



Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeHungary

9 Comments
Posted July 19, 2011 at 3:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"I just can't believe it," Mr. [Dezso] Kocs said, looking around at his current quarters, with empty cardboard boxes used as night stands. "I used to be a business owner. Now I'm a slave."

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsPersonal FinanceThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEurope--Eastern EuropeHungarySwitzerland

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Posted July 28, 2010 at 7:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The big news is France. With sentiment worsening across Europe, France has lost its relative safe haven status – credit default swap spreads on French government debt were up sharply today.

The trigger – oddly enough – was Hungary’s announcement that its budget is worse than expected (blaming the previous government; this is starting to become the European pattern) and in the current fragile environment discussed yesterday, this relatively small piece of news spooked investors. But these developments only reinforced a trend that was already in place.

It did not help that the Irish Minister of Finance announced Ireland has 74.2bn euros of guaranteed bank loans, bonds, and systemic support falling due between now and Oct 1. This is around 55% of GNP. It sounds like everyone backed by the Irish government had the “clever” idea to roll over their debts to just before the guarantees expire.

The big losers are Portugal-Ireland-Italy-Greece-and-Spain as always, but Belgium is now in the line of fire, and France is clearly under pressure. The spread between French and German credit default swaps (measuring the relative probability of default) is up – yesterday this was 40 basis points, today it stands at 44 (up from just 5 basis points at the end of 2009; most of the increase is since mid-March, with a sharp acceleration recently). French bonds have become illiquid, with wide bid-ask spreads; not what is supposed to happen in a safe haven. This is going to make the French angry – watch for more market slanders from top French politicians over the weekend; you know they would just love to ban trading in something.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in General* International News & CommentaryEurope--Eastern Europe--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010FranceHungary

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Posted June 5, 2010 at 9:27 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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