At the opening of the 2nd International Conference on Christian Persecution, the Prime Minister highlighted that those can give us the most help with saving Europe whom we are helping now. We are giving persecuted Christians what they need: homes, hospitals, schools, and in return we are being given that which Europe is most in need of: Christian faith, love and perseverance, he said.
Mr Orbán stressed that the Hungarian people and government believe that Christian virtues can lead those who exercise them to peace and happiness, and therefore the Constitution itself lays down that protecting Hungary’s constitutional self-identity and Christian culture is a duty of every agency of the State. This heritage imposes on us the obligation of protecting, as well as our strength affords, persecuted Christian communities around the world, he said.
He recalled that the majority of Hungarian tribes, hundreds of thousands of people arrived in this region 1,100 years ago, and settled down to start their lives here. Before them many other peoples came and disappeared. The Hungarians are curious to this day to find out why we have survived here. According to the most established answer, our military virtues and indisputable vitality would not have been enough; “adopting the Christian faith was the key to our survival,” he said.
There are some who regard this primarily as a diplomatic feat, as an achievement in the organisation of a state, he continued, and so it was, but before all that, it was also a spiritual revival and true conversion.
Mr Orbán also said a specific genre, a specific Hungarian Christian state order in the Christian spirit was conceived here a thousand years ago, and throughout history we have always found our way back to that path. This is why the Hungarian Constitution lays down that we recognise the role of Christianity in preserving nationhood. The Hungarian people and government believe that Christianity can help peoples and nations to survive, as it has helped us, he said.
He recalled that our first Christian king was more than just an outstanding ruler who provided guidance, “a moral and political compass”. Though he intended that guidance for his son, today we read it like a personal message intended for us, he said, and if we heed what he wrote in his admonitions, we can build a strong country, a flourishing culture, a loving home and a happy family for ourselves. This is the Hungarian people’s political manual, “to this day we are working from it,” he added.
He said this guidance holds that “all men are born in an equal state,” and “nothing shall raise you but humility, and nothing shall strike you down but pride and ill feeling”.
According to Mr Orbán, Hungary’s efforts to stand up for Christians are meaningful because good inspires good; the Hungarian people’s support inspires courage, “the example we set can spread afar, the action we take can set the paralysed free, and it can give back our faith in the meaning of personal deeds”.
He said the question could arise whether there is perhaps more to be done about anti-Christian sentiments in Europe; so why should we help other continents? However, the ailments of Christianity in Europe and the persecution of Christians elsewhere cannot be separated, he pointed out.
The Prime Minister said “Europe is quiet,” “a mysterious force seals the lips of European politicians, and paralyses their arms”. In Europe the persecution of Christians can only be a human rights issue, Christians cannot be named on their own, only together with those persecuted due to other beliefs, and so the persecution of Christians merges into the diverse trap of those persecuted on religious grounds, he said.
He highlighted that while this cannot be underestimated, those who treat the persecution of Christians purely as a humanitarian problem fail to talk about what is the most important: Not only individual human beings, not only individual communities, but an entire culture is under an organised and comprehensive attack. Our culture, our civilisation, the most successful civilisation to date, Christian civilisation is under attack also in Europe. The forms these attacks take are diverse: “population exchange, immigration, stigmatisation, mocking, the muzzle of political correctness,” he listed.
Mr Orbán said many good and true Christian politicians are working in Europe today, but in today’s European defining spirit, amidst today’s media conditions, under the weight of ongoing coalition consultations, they cannot, dare not, want not to speak up. By contrast, in Hungary the situation is different; here there is political stability, there is an anti-immigration atmosphere, and a majority that demands the protection of Christian culture, he added.
He stressed that the starting point of Hungarian politics is that we Christians have the right to defend our culture and the form of life that stems from it.
The Prime Minister highlighted that help must be taken directly to the communities in trouble, and therefore they are seeking to establish relations with the leaders of the churches concerned because they keep holding on even amidst appalling circumstances.
He said in contrast to the politicians of many European countries, we believe that people must be encouraged to live and to gain in strength in the land where their ancestors have lived for centuries. Therefore, as part of the Hungary Helps Programme, we are building schools, hospitals and residential buildings for them, and also provide the opportunity for young people from troubled regions to study at universities in Hungary, he listed.
Mr Orbán highlighted that the greatest mistake a European person can make hearing about the persecution of Christians is to say that this could never happen to him in his country. However, terror has struck Europe repeatedly, Europe’s Western countries have given the Islamic State many soldiers, and masses following radical Islam have come to Europe as part of illegal and uncontrolled migration flows, he said. He added that according to demographic forecasts, in the not very distant future there will be European countries where religious and cultural ratios will swiftly change.
Europe can only be saved from this if it can find its way back to its Christian identity, he stressed.