It is always tragic to observe the corrupting influences of church pressuring state, hastening the demise of the pure gospel of Jesus Christ. Hungary has been no exception.
A Brief Christian History of Hungary
n Hungary, both the Waldensian and the Hussite Movement had a great number of followers, several of whom were martyred for their faith. The teachings of the Reformation aroused similar enthusiasm. As evidence of this, legal acts commonly referred to as “Lutherani omnes comburantur” (“Burn all the Lutherans”) were passed by the Diet (a feudal legislative assembly) as early as 1523 and 1525. It ordered that Lutheran heretics should be beheaded or burnt at the stake as well as made notorious criminals, confiscating their properties. Fortunately, through Divine Providence, the enforcement of this law was prevented somewhat by a national disaster that occurred the following year, namely a Turkish invasion of one-third of Hungary including the capital Buda, where the royal residence was located. By the end of the 16th century almost 90% of the population had become adherents of the Protestant Reformation. But the Hapsburg rulers, being Catholic, pressured the Hungarian nobility to return to their former church. The re-catholicised landlords in turn forced their serfs to do the same on the principle of “cuius regio eius religio” (“whose region – his religion”). This is how Catholicism became dominant in Hungary. At present, about 59% of the population are christened Catholics, but only 15.5% of them profess themselves observers of the teachings of their church.
Could Hungary’s Christians Learn From the School Of Christ?
Some time after Jesus called His disciples together and outlined their work, Jesus “sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick” (Luke 9:2). Luke also records their reaction: “And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where” (Luke 9:6). As they preached and healed, they never appealed to the secular power to compel men to repent. They preached that men should repent, but the only compulsion they used was the compulsion of love. They never lobbied government for changes of Sabbatical laws, nor did they solicited the local treasury department for “faith-based” funding for future Christian schools in Palestine. After that memorable beginning, Christ and His twelve followers had many encounters with state craft, and Christ rebuffed the Christian-nation concept prevalent in His day. (See His response, even when the people wanted to make Him king on the spot, in John 6:14, 15.)
Because of a limited view of Christ’s ministry on earth and His kingdom, (which is not of this world), the last few moments in his life were cruelly spent, being questioned, mocked and beaten before Pilate and Herod. Charged with subversion, tax evasion, treason, disturbing the peace, exciting to revolt, and blasphemy (Luke 23:2,5; John 19:7), He humbly stated His mission. Many faithful followers since then have traveled down this same path, while encountering the state, pressured by religious zealots. And not a few have likewise died, as Jesus did on Calvary, in His last encounter with the state. Could there be a lesson on human nature here for us?
Has the “Church” in Europe Cast Aside Her Gospel Mission, While Seeking the Sword of Civil Power?
In Europe, the politically shrewd Roman Church has created a strong hold within the civil government and labor unions. Sunday legislative enactments are becoming a common occurrence. Germany, Croatia, Austria all have Sunday closure laws of some type. And some “Christian” promoters of closure laws are boldly lifting the “civil” veil to expose the true religious nature of their enactments.
During a Christian Democratic Peoples Party (KDNP) board meeting late in September, 2014, mention was made that the European Union will remain an “unfinished project” as long as the continent fails to reach back to its Christian roots. Leaders expressed that Christianity today is the most persecuted religion. Describing the KDNP’s religio/political doctrine, the prime minister said at the meeting, “We stand on the foundations of Christian democracy and we are a people’s government. We govern in the spirit of Christian democracy in the interests of every Hungarian,”
At the same board meeting, Christian Democrat leader and deputy prime minister Zsolt Semjen marked the 70th anniversary of the founding of his party’s predecessor and the 25th of its re-establishment.
“KDNP has not changed, and the truth it represents rests on eternal values,” Semjen said. About one month later, on November 7, 2014, the Economy Ministry of Hungary, Mihály Varga was discussing a proposal by the co-ruling KDNP, the minor partner in the governing alliance. Just what were they hammering out?
A Hungarian Sunday Closing Law
After collaborations with the trade unions and companies operating the shops, an agreement was made, and the adoption was final. Peter Harrach told a press conference that the Christian Democrats would submit a bill on the introduction of free Sundays later that day.
Concerning Economy Minister Mihály Varga’s opposition to the idea, KDNP’s Péter Harrach said, “his opinion is just one opinion” but the government had backed their motion. Mihály Varga warned earlier that week that it would be unwise to restrict Sunday shopping when a fifth of Hungarians do their weekly shopping precisely on that day.
Péter Harrach joined the Christian Democratic People’s Party (KDNP) in 1989, where he was active as Church policy expert. Péter (born 2 November 1947) is a Hungarian politician and theologist, who served as one of the Deputy Speakers of the National Assembly of Hungary from May 27, 2002 to May 13, 2010. He graduated as a theologian from the Roman Catholic Academy of Theology in 1972. He worked in numerous parishes as an assistant to the priest. He was the rapporteur of secular matters in the Episcopal Secretariat of the Hungarian Catholic Episcopal Conference, and he was a member of the family ministering commission from 1990 to 1998.
There were others who were not so happy of this proposal. The DailyNewsHungary.com reported:
“The Hungarian Association of Shopping Centres (MBSZ) warned on Monday that a proposal to restrict retailers’ opening times on Sundays would have serious consequences.”
Another Hungarian news agency, The Daily.HU, reported that the :
“…new law passed earlier this week will see mostly large retail stores no longer being able to trade on Sundays. The new law, which takes effect from 15 March 2015, will apply to retail activity in spaces exceeding 200 square meters. Further restrictions apply where the Sunday workforce does not include a business owner with a 20% stake in the business or a family member. This means that small, mainly family owned businesses will still be able to trade as will other small retailers.
“The reform was originally proposed by the Christian Democrats. Prime Minister Viktor Orban has supported the new ‘Sabbath law’ which recognizes Sunday as a Christian day of rest, noting that Germany and Austria have similar restrictions in place. Exceptions include, but are not limited to, retail units at airports, train stations, and hospitals along with tobacconists, pharmacies, farmers’ markets, bakeries and petrol stations. There are also restrictions on business hours.
“There are special exceptions for trading at Christmas
The new law is expected to cause disruption for larger owned foreign supermarkets such as Tesco and Auchan. Critics point to the economic impact involved and also the potential loss of jobs.”
Who’s Behind the Sunday Closure Laws in Hungary?
Our hunch proved correct. Basic research indicated that the:
“Christian Democratic People’s Party (Hungarian: Kereszténydemokrata Néppárt, KDNP) is a political party in Hungary. It is officially a coalition partner of ruling party Fidesz, but in reality it is a satellite party of Fidesz, and has been unable to get into the Parliament on its own since 1994 when it barely passed the election threshold of 5% of votes. Without Fidesz, its support cannot be measured, and even a leading Fidesz politician, János Lázár let it slip that Fidesz doesn’t consider the government to be a coalition government. The party was founded under the name of KDNP on 13 October 1944 by Hungarian Catholic statesmen, intellectuals and clergy, and was a successor to the pre-war United Christian Party. Among the founders were Bishop Vilmos Apor, Béla Kovrig (president of the University of Kolozsvár), László Varga, General József Pálffy, ethnographer Sándor Bálint and political journalist István Barankovics. It was an offshoot of the Catholic Social Folk Movement (KSzN), a civil organization.
From 1998 on, it has been closely associated with the Hungarian conservative party Fidesz. In 2005 Fidesz and the KDNP signed an agreement for election cooperation, as a result of which the KDNP obtained seats in the Hungarian National Assembly. In the 2006 elections this alliance gained strength, winning 42.0% of the list votes and 164 representatives out of 386 in the National Assembly. The party decided to form a self-contained parliamentary faction with 23 representatives. It is the third largest faction in the National Assembly, and cooperates closely with the Fidesz faction. As of 2012, the party leader is Zsolt Semjén, deputy prime minister.” – See Wikipedia, on the Christian Democratic People’s Party
If any one wants to see what happens when religion and politics combine, read onward.
After winning 53% of the popular vote in 2011’s parliamentary elections, which translated into a super-majority of 68% of parliamentary seats, giving Fidesz/KDNP sufficient power to revise or replace the constitution, the party embarked on an extraordinary project of passing over 200 laws and drafting and adopting a new constitution—since followed by nearly 2000 amendments.
Also notice that Hungary’s labor unions and shops have been deceived into believing that Sunday laws are merely secular regulatory measures. These powerful labor unions are being used as pawns in a much bigger endgame.
It’s Time To Wake Up!
When news like this pops up, there are important underlying reasons. It provides publicity and power for it’s advocates. Most American’s could care less of the events coming out of Hungary these days, but the ever growing publicity of Sunday “civil and religious sacredness” around the globe, and the powers that are behind it should awaken all liberty loving citizens. It has been argued in the past that Sunday closing laws are no longer religious laws, but are now civil enactments for the welfare and health of workers and their families. Religious Liberty News believes that no amount of camouflage can conceal the true nature and religious significance of Sunday legislation of any kind.
The sheepskins on Jacobs arms may have fooled his aged, dim-eyed father, Isaac, but it did not change Jacobs voice. Deceptively donning Esau’s clothing could never have changed Jacobs date of birth. Sunday closure laws are are the same today as they were a 1,694 years ago, when Emperor Constantine decreed on March 7, A.D. 321 his infamous Sunday edict – a nuisance to productive citizenry, and a menace to religious liberty.
Here in America, Sunday law undercurrents are more subtle and covert, but an ominous religio-political rip-current is developing. The movement today was predicted well over a hundred years ago.
“The Sunday movement is now making its way in darkness. The leaders are concealing the true issue, and many who unite in the movement do not themselves see whither the undercurrent is tending.” Ellen G. White, Testimonies to the Churches, Vol. V, p. 452.
The Bible also warns, in the books of Daniel and Revelation, about these undercurrents. They are moving contrary to the true gospel of Christ and the separation of church and state. They lead to persecution, and will cause the eventual ruin of Hungary and all other nations who go down this diabolical path.
Religious Liberty Wisdom
“Men do not seem to understand that they are taken in Satan’s snare when they attempt to tamper with the laws of God. Satan has them in just the position he wants them they manufacture laws to control the world and place those laws where God’s laws should be. The enemy knows that, if the church can be controlled by political enactments, she will lose her garments of light as did Adam and Eve. If he can lead the church to unite with the world and accept worldly enactments, they virtually acknowledge him as their head. The authority of man-made commandments will work to oppose the rule of the government of heaven. Under the leadership of Satan, the knowledge of good and evil will work to dispense with the righteous, holy enactments of God concerning the Sabbath, the observance of which is to be a sign between God and His people forever,” Ellen G. White, Manuscript 77, 1899, 12-15 (“God’s Law Immutable,” May 14, 1899)