Opening a new secondary school run by the Reformed Church in Budapest at the weekend, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said schools were central to the values around which children organised their lives, how they related to their family, to their sense of Hungarianness, and to their gender. “We cannot avoid the question … what values should guide our children and their approach to their family, their nationality, even their own gender,” Orbán said at the event held at the Rózsakerti Demjén István Reformed Primary School and Gymnasium in the 22nd district. Citing renowned Reformed Church priest Endre Gyökössy, Orbán said Christian freedom was “bestowed on us to … raise children as Homo Christianus”, committed to their faith, family, nation and their fellow human beings. Speaking at celebratory mass, the prime minister said state funding for church-run schools reaped dividends in terms of “the education and culture of all Hungarians as well as care for families, the vulnerable, the elderly, the poor and the ailing.” Also, cooperation between church and state helped to “build the nation and Hungarian communities across the borders,” he added.
He said the current generation had three tasks: saving and renewing all that Hungarians have created in the past millennium in the Carpathian Basin; reconstructing centuries-old churches, schools and community spaces; and building new churches and schools in Hungary and across the borders. Church and state, he added, were allies in “building a strong line of defence to preserve the next generation as Christians and Hungarians,” he said. The current generation must carefully choose “what we pass on to the next generation … to sustain the traditions linking us to the Hungarians of the past millennium,” Orbán said. Schools are one of the most important venues for instilling a Hungarian identity in their pupils, he said. Orbán noted that Budapest’s 22nd district was the first in the country where the Reformed Church set up a kindergarten. Then the Church took over the elementary school, and now, “we can give thanks for a secondary school,” he said. The last time a Protestant secondary school had been inaugurated in Budapest was 77 years ago, he noted.