Authentically-Christian leadership is still possible in Europe

5 January 2018

Christian Legal Centre’s Roger Kiska shows how it is still possible to have strong Christian leadership at the heart of European country by looking at the example in Hungary of Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

A few months ago, Christian Concern wrestled with the question of whether an authentic Christian could still hold a meaningful position in politics in today’s Britain. In that article, we quoted Tim Farron from his resignation statement as leader of the Liberal Democrats, where he lamented that to be leader of his party and “to live as a committed Christian…felt impossible” to him. He added “we are kidding ourselves if we think we yet live in a tolerant society”.

And in a Europe that has seemingly become equally intolerant of Christians who dare enter the public square, a fact well symbolised by the European Union’s outright refusal to recognise the role Christianity has played in Europe’s history and heritage, one country has shown us that not only is it possible, but it should be the default position.

Christian Leadership for a Christian Nation

While no earthly government is perfect, and using the disclaimer that this piece is not a political endorsement, nonetheless much credit must be given to Viktor Orban, Prime Minister of Hungary, for his unashamed affirmation of Christianity as a living force within Hungary. Just two days after Christmas, Orban published an essay on the government of Hungary’s official website about why we must defend Christian culture.

In a statement which would certainly make headlines all over England if made by Theresa May, and for all of the wrong reasons, Orban confidently asserted that: “Whether or not we admit it or realise it, we Europeans live in a culture ordered in line with the teachings of Christ.” In that same statement, calling Christianity the sustaining source of Hungary’s strength and pride, he also calls the protection of all human life the alpha and omega of our philosophy of life. And Hungary’s Constitution bares this out as well, when it pronounces that: “embryonic and foetal life shall be subject to protection from the moment of conception.”

Poignantly, Orban speaks a simple truth about the secularisation of Christmas in Western Europe, including sadly in our own United Kingdom: “Regardless of whether or not we attend church – or if so, which one we attend – we do not want to be forced to celebrate Christmas behind drawn curtains to avoid hurting the feelings of others. We do not want our Christmas markets to be rebranded, and we definitely do not want to have to retreat behind concrete barriers. We do not want our children to be deprived of the joys of Saint Nicholas, Santa Claus and the Christmas angels. We do not want to be robbed of the Feast of the Resurrection.” Orban also recalls the words of Robert Schuman, one of the chief architects of the European Union, that Europe will be Christian, or it will be nothing.

More Than Words

Mr. Orban’s article recognises that Christian history has not been perfect in Europe. He says that our awareness of this imperfection has been the very impetus for why Europeans have tried to improve the world for centuries. The Hungarian government, for its part, continues to try and do just that. Hungary is currently giving more direct aid to rebuilding Iraqi infrastructure, particularly in devastated Christian communities, than any other country in the world through its Hungary Helps programme. It is also providing unique scholarship opportunities for Christians from war-torn countries to study in Hungary.

What Hungary teaches us is that no matter how bleak things may look now in the culture war, the death of Christianity has been far over-exaggerated. We should look to Hungary’s confidence in their Christian heritage and faith as an example of what we should expect of our leaders here in the United Kingdom. We should never forget the example of King Josiah in 2 Kings 22, who led the repentance of an entire nation upon rediscovering itself as God’s chosen people. The darkest hour is before dawn, and national revival is possible. For this to happen, our Christian leaders need to put as much faith in Christ, as He has put in them.


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