Christian churches in Hungary help fight against anti-semitism
BUDAPEST (Reuters) - 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.I'm that today, there's some who've come to their senses and are beginning to help. A pity the "Reformed" church isn't one of them if they're going to excommunicate the brave Hegedus.
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.
The Hungarian Reformed Church has begun proceedings that might end up defrocking Hegedus and depriving him of his high-profile base at the Homeland Church on the upscale Freedom Square, near the central bank and the United States embassy.
"This is a permanent provocation," Gusztav Bolcskei, the Church's presiding bishop, said of Hegedus's political activity. "It has nothing to do with the Gospel."
Hungary's small community of 80,000-100,000 Jews appreciates the Christian support. "We're satisfied with the actions of the churches," said Peter Feldmajer, who stepped down as head of the community on Sunday.
"I think, at the end of the day, he will be fired," he said. Hegedus declined to be interviewed for this article.
RELIGION IN POLITICS
Anti-Semitism has deep roots in Hungary, which began passing anti-Jewish laws in 1920, more than a decade before Nazi Germany. About half a million Hungarian Jews died in the Holocaust, which the Christian churches failed to oppose.
It's also a pity Reuters has once more invoked the "right-wing" propaganda label for what are otherwise left-wingers, and that the bishop named Bolsckei is in denial of the bible we all assume he's read.