Hungary’s Ambassador Says their New Constitution Can Promote a ‘Christian Renaissance’ in Europe

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).

Read it all.

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

Posted April 15, 2012 at 11:59 am

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1. MichaelA wrote:

Given my facility in Hungarian (none at all!) I found the link to the official English translation of the Constitution - FUNDAMENTAL LAW OF HUNGARY.pdf

The references to Christianity should be read in the context of the whole.  On my reading, they are not dominant (being actually very few in a large document), but they are significant:

From the preamble (“National Avowal”):
... We are proud that our king Saint Stephen built the Hungarian State on solid ground and made our country a part of Christian Europe one thousand years ago. ...
...We recognise the role of Christianity in preserving nationhood. We value the various religious traditions of our country….

Article II (entire)
Human dignity shall be inviolable. Every human being shall have the right to life and human dignity; embryonic and foetal life shall be subject to protection from the moment of conception.

Article VII (entire)
(1) Every person shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include the freedom to choose or change religion or any other persuasion, and the freedom for every person to proclaim, refrain from proclaiming, profess or teach his or her religion or any other persuasion by performing religious acts, ceremonies or in any other way, whether individually or jointly with others, in the public domain or in his or her private life.
(2) The State and Churches shall be separate. Churches shall be autonomous. The State shall cooperate with the Churches for community goals.
(3) The detailed rules for Churches shall be regulated by a cardinal Act.

Article XV (part)
(2) Hungary shall ensure fundamental rights to every person without any discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, gender, disability, language, religion, political or other views, national or social origin, financial, birth or other circumstances whatsoever. ...

Note in particular the freedom to profess or refrain from professing religious beliefs.  Liberals greatly fear this, as they wish to be able to use the resources of the state to control that which people profess (or refrain from professing).

Note also the challenge put out in the first quoted sentence.  Although it only states that the Hungary was made a part of “Christian Europe” 1,000 years ago, many will be displeased that this could be construed as a hint that the Hungarians believe Europe should be Christian today.

Anyway, the Vatican has supported this constitution.  In my view, Protestant christians should support it also.

April 15, 8:37 pm | [comment link]
2. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) wrote:

I am quite comfortable in Hungarian and have a number of in-laws living there. Whilst the standard Euro-Socialist left does not like this constitution, it seems to be supported by Hungary’s evangelicals, many of whom live in the rural northeast.

From what I have read, the new constitution actually offers more true rights and freedoms than Pierre Trudeau’s 1982 Canadian thing.

April 15, 9:58 pm | [comment link]
3. Br. Michael wrote:

What Article VII gives it takes away with subsection 3.  And article XV institutes tyranny through subsection 2.  How does the right to practice ones religion according to one’s conscience mesh with the inevitable clash with discrimination?  One need only look at Colleges use of discrimination to drive Christian organizations off Campus.

I would also question the source of these rights.  The Constitution seems to be the source of the rights and they can be removed.  In contrast our Constitution recognizes pre-existing rights and creates a government powerless to encroach on those pre-existing rights, which derive from God, a source higher than the Government created.  Now if our rights which rest on a much higher foundation are under sustained assault by statists of both parties, but primarily by liberal/progressives, what hope is there for these “rights” down the road?

April 16, 12:07 pm | [comment link]
4. MichaelA wrote:

Br Michael, don’t the following two sentences in your post contradict?

“One need only look at Colleges use of discrimination to drive Christian organizations off Campus. ...
... In contrast our Constitution recognizes pre-existing rights and creates a government powerless to encroach on those pre-existing rights, which derive from God, a source higher than the Government created.”

If the government created by your constitution is so powerless to encroach on rights, then why do you have a problem with misuse of discrimination laws in the USA?

I hope the point I am making is clear - personally I think one can only expect so much of any constitution and I think the US constitution is a very good one. But I do think its unreasonable to consider the Hungarian constitution inferior to the US constitution, when you admit that the very problem on which you have focussed also occurs in the US!

April 16, 6:28 pm | [comment link]

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