More than once when I have been with a group of concerned Christians and conservatives we have talked – only half in jest – about where we might go, given how bad things are getting. As Australia and so much of the West continues in its moral, cultural and spiritual decline, are there any viable alternatives left?
By that I mean, are there any places left that still more or less cling to pro-faith, pro-family and pro-life values? Well, many are starting to take note of one eastern European country which seems to be championing much of this. I refer to the nation of Hungary and its Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
He was previously the Prime Minister from 1998-2002, but then much more as a liberal. Now he has been in office again since 2010 but as a conservative, and on April 9 he handily won his third consecutive term with a landslide victory, with the conservative Fidesz party taking 133 seats in the 199-seat parliament.
Under his recent leadership he has steered the country in a nationalist, pro-family direction, cracking down on easy immigration, Islam, and the globalist crusade. In all this he stands strongly against the agenda of another famous Hungarian: George Soros. We can see his strong emphasis on faith and nation clearly laid out in a speech he gave a week ago.
Let me share a few parts of it here. Unlike most Western leaders today, he deeply recognises the role Christianity has played in the formation of Europe, and how dangerous it is to reject this: “If now we look at our Europe, in terms of the spirit of religion we see that it has rejected its Christian foundations.”
He contrasts Christian Europe with the secular, liberal Europe exemplified by the EU. Europe, he says,
has rejected its roots, and instead of a Europe resting on Christian foundations, it is building a Europe of “the open society”. In Christian Europe there was honour in work, man had dignity, men and women were equal, the family was the basis of the nation, the nation was the basis of Europe, and states guaranteed security. In today’s open-society Europe there are no borders; European people can be readily replaced with immigrants; the family has been transformed into an optional, fluid form of cohabitation; the nation, national identity and national pride are seen as negative and obsolete notions; and the state no longer guarantees security in Europe. In fact, in liberal Europe being European means nothing at all: it has no direction, and it is simply form devoid of content.
He looks further at these two competing worldviews:
Our opponents are very close to succeeding – we don’t even sense how close they are. And neither do we appreciate the significance of this fact. Without lengthy explanation, I’d merely like to provide you with a brief overview. If you think back over the past one hundred years or so of European democracy, you can detect a pattern in which matters in Europe have effectively been decided by competition between two camps: on one side, communities based on the continuing foundations of Christian tradition – let us call them Christian democratic parties; and, on the other side, the organisations of communities which question and reject tradition – let us call them left-wing liberal parties.
The secular left looks to immigration, multiculturalism, Islam, and borderless societies as the way forward, while Orban and Hungary look in the other direction:
Dear Friends, a situation can arise in one country or another whereby ten per cent or more of the total population is Muslim. We can be sure that they will never vote for a Christian party. And when we add to this Muslim population those of European origin who are abandoning their Christian traditions, then it will no longer be possible to win elections on the basis of Christian foundations. Those groups preserving Christian traditions will be forced out of politics, and decisions about the future of Europe will be made without them. This, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the situation, this is the goal, and this is how close we are to seeing it happen.
And he makes it clear that he is NOT calling for some sort of theocracy where even matters of doctrine are decided by the state:
The upcoming elections are therefore of the utmost importance. In these elections we must demonstrate that there is an alternative to liberal democracy: it is called Christian democracy. And we must show that the liberal elite can be replaced with a Christian democratic elite. Of course in Central Europe there are many misconceptions related to Christianity and politics, and so here I must make an incidental observation. Christian democracy is not about defending religious articles of faith – in this case Christian religious articles of faith. Neither states nor governments have competence on questions of damnation or salvation. Christian democratic politics means that the ways of life springing from Christian culture must be protected. Our duty is not to defend the articles of faith, but the forms of being that have grown from them. These include human dignity, the family and the nation – because Christianity does not seek to attain universality through the abolition of nations, but through the preservation of nations. Other forms which must be protected and strengthened include our faith communities. This – and not the protection of religious articles of faith – is the duty of Christian democracy.
There are few leaders today who are talking like this. Of course to single out and salute Orban is not to say he is now the messiah, or that Hungary is now the promised land. Both of course have their faults. But the leftists have made them the new enemies, accusing them of every sin under the sun.
He is claimed to be anti-Semitic for example. But given that he is good friends with Benjamin Netanyahu, that is rather bogus charge. But forget the critics – he is attracting a lot of interest and praise from others. Rod Dreher for example recently wrote about him and the speech he gave and said this:
What’s most interesting to me about it is that he rejects the empty claim of liberal neutrality. Liberalism, he says, has become a system and a way of looking at the world that destroys nations and traditions, especially the Christian tradition. He’s right about that: it’s not a bug of liberalism, but a feature. It’s something that’s very hard for Americans to see, because we were founded as a liberal nation, and unlike contemporary Europe, we have not yet faced mass migration from non-Christian civilizations. For traditional Europeans, this is not an abstract discussion. They are fighting to save their civilization. If that requires illiberal democracy, fine.
One can’t expect liberals to be happy with this. But one hopes at least that they recognize that the kryptonite they’ve been able to use so effectively for so long to paralyze opposition no longer works on people like Orbán.
And one of America’s leading pro-family activists and intellectuals, Allan Carlson, who has met Orban, also writes about all the positives he finds. He examines a new book about the leader and says this:
Simply put, Orbàn and his fellow Fidesz leaders had grown disillusioned with the realities of 1990’s Western liberalism: hedonism, secularism, radical feminism, and the Sexual Revolution instead of ordered liberty. Most of them, not coincidentally, also became Christians….
Regarding faith, Orbàn underwent a genuine conversion in the mid-1990’s. Though Aniko Levai, his wife since 1987, was a practicing Catholic, Orbàn had grown up surrounded by nonbelievers. Then he developed a friendship with Zoltán Balog, a Calvinist pastor who has recently served as State Minister of Human Capabilities, the equivalent of the American Department of Health and Human Services, plus Education and Sports. Orbàn’s baptism was followed by a church wedding with Aniko, ten years after their civil ceremony.
As mentioned, neither he nor his nation offer us a panacea. In a fallen world no country or leader can. But we can all rejoice when strong leaders decide to go against the flow – especially when the flow is the destructive secular left hegemony which is coming so very close to destroying the West.