The Hungarian government’s deputy state secretariat for aiding persecuted Christians has succeeded in drawing greater international attention to the issue of the persecution of Christians around the world, the human resources minister said in an interview to the Friday edition of the daily Magyar Idők.
The office has been contacted by a number of persecuted churches, asking for help in keeping their age-old communities together, Zoltán Balog told the paper.
It was in response to these calls that the government decided to fund six months’ worth of medicine supplies to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Erbil, in northern Iraq, and selected a village that it will help rebuild in its entirety, the minister noted.
The government has also set up a state fund that will support the education of young Middle Easterners and Africans in Hungary, Balog said.
“Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world. And in Europe, which to an extent is the birthplace of Christianity, it has been forced on the defensive,” the minister said. Christianity “is on the receiving end of increasingly fierce administrative and legal attacks by a growing number of people …” he added.
On another subject, the minister said the 16th annual Civic Picnic in Kötcse, in southwestern Hungary, which he will host over the weekend, will focus on family policy matters and the protection of Christian values.
Responding to the paper’s suggestion that the Hungarian government had clashed with even conservative intellectuals regarding the matter of the status of Budapest’s Central European University (CEU), Balog said it had become clear over the past months that the government’s goal is to ensure a level playing field among higher education institutions. “It is clear that there is no country in the European Union in which the CEU could operate with the privileges it has enjoyed in Hungary,” he said.
Balog also defended the NGO transparency law, saying that it was not in violation of the principles of the rule of law, but rather hurts “the interests of Soros organisations which seek to interfere in Hungary’s internal affairs … through manipulative campaigns and other methods”.
“The Kötcse community, made up of about 500 people from the worlds of business, culture, academia, education and the church, have supported us through thick and thin,” the minister said. “They get upset for us, not with us.”