Hungary Stands for Life

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by Martina Moyski  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  February 9, 2021   

'Family-first' policies light a lamp for the world

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BUDAPEST, Hungary (ChurchMilitant.com) - Pro-family policies of the Hungarian government are foiling the Left's plan to destroy the family.

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Katalin Novák

Minister for Families Katalin Novák tweeted positive news about Hungary's fertility rate last week. It confirmed the results of pro-family policies put into place by Viktor Orbán's Fidesz Party. The birth rate increased by 24% and the number of marriages nearly doubled in the past decade, according to Novák. These percentages represent the highest in the European Union.

"Families are the fabric of our society, if we undo this fabric, our societies as a whole will come apart," Novák said a few days before her tweets in an interview with the Portuguese portal Dies Irae

"[The family] is where children experience and learn love, solidarity, but also responsibility and the value of community," she added during the interview. "Not all children are lucky enough to grow up in a happy family, but it is the interest of society and therefore the duty of the State to help and defend families."

"A society where people do not want to have children, do not believe it is worthwhile to reproduce, is condemned to death," she warned. 

Europe in Trouble

Novák connected the dots between the shrinking populations of other European countries and their anti-family values and green socioeconomic models:

The fact that the fertility rate in all European countries does not meet the replacement fertility says a lot about our values and our socioeconomic model. For some reason, European leaders do not want to acknowledge this situation. We care about climate change and the future of our planet, but do not care about the fact that there needs to be new generations to give our planet to. This is why we want to give opportunity to Hungarians to have as many children as they want.

Explaining the alarming trend of radical gender ideology sweeping the world — and undercutting traditional family life — the minister recalls an old Hungarian saying.

A society where people do not want to have children, do not believe it is worthwhile to reproduce, is condemned to death.

"For somebody who is completely lost," she said, "it's said the person does not know if he is a boy or she is a girl."

She expanded:

There is an alarming trend where basic truths that humankind held obvious and unquestionable are now being disputed. Political ideology seems to trump science and reason. This trend is not yet present in Hungary; people still believe that men are men and women are women, and one may not change their DNA or pretend that it is possible.

Novák also referred to constitutional amendments Hungary adopted in December confirming that a father is a man and a mother is a woman. "Even if this is obvious for us, it is nowadays disputed," she said. "We want to defend our children and let them be children without using them for any ideological base."

Pro-Family Benefits

"The central part of the Hungarian government's thinking is that the best interests of the child and well-being are paramount," she said.

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The minister itemized the current benefits for Hungarian families: 

  • A family friendly tax system that means the more children, the less personal income tax
  • Mothers with at least four children are exempt from paying personal income tax for the rest of their lives
  • New crèches being built to facilitate work-life balance, help families through housing subsidies, and ensure the freedom of choice for women
  • Mothers or fathers who choose to stay at home receive a benefit until the child reaches three years of age

Families' needs also extend to other areas of policy consideration.

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Gladden J. Pappin

Procreation, Not Immigration

Novák did not shy away from speaking about Hungary's controversial anti-immigration stand, explaining it as part of a pro-family approach.

"The Left does not believe in the role of nation and nation-states or identity. They wish to replace traditional values and identity with a new identity, stripped of heritage," she observes.

From the Left's standpoint, she said:

If family, childbearing and common heritage have no value, then illegal immigrants do not pose any risk, and mass immigration is just a matter of numbers required on the labor market. Healthy families are no longer necessary because reproduction is of no importance and immigration can solve demographics. It is a very materialistic view, and we do not share this view.

Explaining the repercussions, she noted: "If families and reproduction are no longer connected, then family, marriage and sexuality can be whatever you want it to be and are merely a matter of fashion and ideology."

Hungary at the Crossroads

The family minister sees Hungary's current struggles in light of its Christian heritage:

Hungarian statehood is deeply intertwined with Christianity. Hungarian tribes arrived to Europe in the eighth century and Hungarian leaders were accepted by the leaders in Europe when we converted to Christianity and the pope sent a crown to our first king. Over the centuries, King St. Stephen I of Hungary as well as other Hungarian kings were canonized. Hungary has fought many wars to defend Hungarian and European Christianity.

We are at the border of Eastern Christianity and Western Christianity. We had been at the border between the Christian and the Muslim worlds for centuries, and we were at the border of the Cold War, unfortunately at the eastern side where the Soviet empire tried to eradicate Christianity. Our history is a history of survival for Hungarians but also a history of survival of Christianity.

She explained that even Hungarians who do not believe in God "understand and recognize the deep connection between Christian identity, Hungarian identity and Hungarian statehood."

An Example for America

Hungary's pro-family policies have been criticized by some observers who see them as a new form of welfare.

A conservative American professor of political science at the University of Dallas, Gladden J. Pappin, disagrees. 

Pro-family policies cost a lot, but there is no better investment than investing in #families.

In an interview published Jan. 30 in Mandiner, a Hungarian weekly, Gladden explained how America could adopt a version of Hungary's family formation policies by using the administrative State in a conservative way:

American-minded conservatives tend to focus more on issues like opposition to abortion. This is also important, but in the meantime they oppose the welfare state. Of course, the solution to some of the problems could be the abolition of the welfare state, but I think it is a better idea to target welfare policies, for example, to families. The welfare state was more supportive of single parents, but could also support family formation."

The professor speculated that traditionally minded Americans are already looking outside of their country's borders for solutions to fight the influence of the Left.

"Honestly, American conservatives have traditionally unfortunately only been interested in America," he put forth. "2016 was the year of the Brexit vote and Trump's victory, and it made them look around Europe. So perhaps they have been more interested in Orbán's policy ever since."

Novák appreciated Pappin's endorsement. "Thank you for the kind words, Professor. Pro-family policies cost a lot, but there is no better investment than investing in #families," she tweeted.

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