Too many smiling, dancing, white Christians

Hungary has been in the news regularly in recent times because of defending Christian values, with Hungary’s Prime Minister as one of the vocal defenders of Hungary as a Christian country. He recently stated that Islam is advancing and Christianity is Europe’s last hope.

This is not appreciated by the bureaucracy in the European Union. Hungary is, often together with Poland, being seen as a rebellious boy in the class room of political correct European countries.

Recently, RT.COM (a Russian news site in the English language) reported that a Hungarian city’s bid to become the European Union’s next “Capital of Culture” was allegedly rejected by EU officials because its video entry showed too many smiling, dancing, white Christians, according to the city’s mayor.

The Hungarian website 888.hu came out with this report and it has been picked up by very few Western media. Generally only by sometimes obscure, unknown sites like ‘The Voice of Europe’, ‘Breitbart’ and the site ‘American Renaissance’, which are seen to be driving a certain agenda and therefore usually don’t receive a lot of credibility. It is therefore remarkable that now a more mainstream (although not Western) Media outlet runs this story as well.

A few quotes from the translation which American Renaissance gives of the original article:

An EU jury decided to recommend the entries by Győr, Debrecen and Veszprém for the finals of the European Capital of Culture (EKF 2023) project. Among the seven submissions to date, the EU’s “unrelated international experts” rejected the submission of Székesfehérvár’s debut film.

Speaking about Wednesday’s hearing, Sr. András Cser-Palkovics said that when they presented the promotional film “Székesfehérvár Full of Life” — which can be accessed on YouTube, with over 3,000 visitors — one of the European Union’s experts said with astonishment:
“This is the propaganda film for white Christian Europe; everyone is white, happy and dancing in the streets.”

Implicitly, it seems like the jury admits with this that Christianity makes people happy. That is not what they want to see. They want to see the poor, the migrants, and not the symbols of Christianity, like crosses, churches, or the joyous attitude of this Christian city. But what if this is representative for Székesfehérvár? What if an important part of Szekesfehervar’s culture is Christian? What if there is no poverty or misery to show? What if  Székesfehérvár is really a happy city? No questions asked about that. The population of Szekesfehervar is for 96 % Hungarian, the second largest ethnic group is from German descent. The culture which this video shows may not be the culture the Europeans in Brussels want to see, but this is how it is in Szekesfehervar. That is no reason to reject it because it would only be propaganda.

The video, which can be found here, is not that special. It just shows the happiness of a nice summer day in the town, with people having fun together.  Yes, once in a while it does show a church or a cross, but I wouldn’t say it is a special promotion video for Christianity. If you watch several of the tourist promotion videos about Szekesfehervar which are available online, you will notice that historic church buildings and other Christian symbols form an important part of what Szekesfehervar is. It is a beautiful city. Compared to those videos, I believe this submission did a pretty decent job in focusing on the culture and on the people living in Szekesfehervar and not so much on buildings and symbols.

Szekesfehervar is also the birthplace of the present Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, who is openly Christian and doesn’t hesitate to mention the importance of Christianity for Hungary and for Europe. He has had quite a few run-ins with the European Union in the recent past.

It is not that  Szekesfehervar is closed to cultural interaction either. It has twin-city relationships with 18 other cities, all over the world, but most in Europe. The idea of twin-city is the promotion of friendship and understanding between different cultures.

Szekesfehervar also certainly had experience with the Ottoman culture and oppression for 145 years until 1688, under which the city suffered greatly. Most of the city was destroyed and a large part of the people fled the city in those days. After that the city was able to rebuild and the city began to prosper in the 18th century. Again, under communist oppression in the20th century, the economy of the city did very poorly and at the end of the Soviet oppression the unemployment was high. It was able, again, to overcome the problems and develop into a prosperous and happy city as we find it today. It truly has a history of ‘luctor et emergo’ (I struggle and emerge). Apparently, in that process of rebuilding the city, Christianity played an important role, seeing the many church buildings and Christian symbols which we still find in the city.

That the jury rejects this video as a promotion for happy Christianity is indicative: implicitly they admit with that, that this relaxed, joyful life is connected with Christian values. Doesn’t that make them think? Don’t they see the contrast between these happy Christians, and all the terror, hatred and unrest spreading all over the world?  Granted, not all Muslims are terrorists and not all terrorists are Muslims. There are many Muslims who reject the violence by their fanatic brothers in faith. But it is not without reason that whenever we hear about a terrorist attack, often the first question is: were they (the terrorists) muslims? Not: were they Christians? In a world where there is so much violence and hatred, people long to see examples of peaceful and joyful cities and places, except when it is connected with Christianity. The jury sees a happy city, peaceful and relaxed, combined with some symbols of Christianity, like church buildings and crosses, and they say: this is a promotion for Christianity, and therefore unacceptable. Hungary has a long history if it comes to Christian culture. Christian culture doesn’t count anymore?

If these are the words that are associated with Christianity: happy, joyous, peaceful, relaxed, then we should be glad. If this causes troubles with the bureaucrats in Europe, then that shows that it is time for countries which consider themselves still Christian countries, to leave this union of more and more anti-Christian states.

For the good order: Győr, Debrecen and Veszprém are now the three cities which are nominated for Hungary as candidates for European Cultural Capital for 2023.  Szekesfehervar might not have been selected even if it’s promotion video was accepted. The issue is the reason the video was rejected, not that Szekesfehervar did not make the nomination.

It may be helpful to know a bit more about the rich Reformed history of Hungary. In the time of the Reformation Hungary became Reformed. Later, when Hungary was attacked and occupied by Ottoman forces, Michiel de Ruijter, the famous Dutch and Reformed admiral, liberated a group of Reformed Hungarian ministers from the galleys, to which the Ottoman slave traders had sold them. In the Hungarian city Debrecen (the second largest city in Hungary, which is now nominated as one of the Hungarian candidates for Cultural Capital of Europe) there is still a statue of Michiel de Ruijter, erected in memory of this admiral to which the Hungarians were grateful. In the centre of Debrecen there is still a huge Reformed church building where every Sunday worship services are held. Christianity in Hungary is certainly influenced by this Reformed background. According to the 2011 census, 11.1 % of the population of Hungary is ‘Reformed Calvinist’. For the population of Szekesfehervar this number is 12.1 %, while for Debrecen it is 24.8 %.