BASEES Annual Conference 2022

Strange bedfellows: Illiberalism and popular religion in Hungary

Fri8  Apr02:20pm(20 mins)
Auditorium Lounge


László Kürti


 In my presentation, I will discuss how the role of religion/faith has strengthened under the Orbán regime. The constitution recognizes the contribution of Christianity to nation-building, besides freedom of religion as a fundamental right. According to statistics, about 70-75 percent of the country’s population professes Christianity, yet the weight of that religion’s dogma and symbolism is ubiquitous and salient in media and politics. What is striking is that both those who claim to be Christians and those who have no religious affiliation at all exhibit the recent phenomena that have become prevalent among a great deal of citizens in the last three decades, syncretism and alternative religious beliefs. For instance, nationalist neo-pagans see no conflict with the fundamentalist embrace of Christian tenets and illiberalism, along with wicca, neo-shamanism, and faith-healing practices. Linking high and low politics with religious beliefs is one reason Orbánism maintains a solid social foundation.