Christianity and Christmas “are under attack worldwide” but the Hungarian government is committed to protecting Christian culture, the state secretary responsible for aid to persecuted Christians said on Monday.
Counting the Orthodox community, there are about one billion Christians in the world, Tristan Azbej told journalists in Budapest. Christians face persecution in many countries to the east and south of Hungary, “and in the West we’re seeing displays of anti-Christianity”, he added.
Azbej insisted that even Christmas was coming under attack in the West through “anti-Christian processes”. He noted that Brussels’ City Hall had decided a few years ago not to put up a Christmas tree, while the city of Santa Monica, California banned nativity displays as a way of ensuring neutrality. In Germany, he said, anti-Christian sentiment manifested in the burning of Christian songbooks, while in France it is expressed in regular attacks on churches and the vandalisation of Christian symbols.
The state secretary said Christianity was the most persecuted religion in the world with more than 250 million Christians facing regular discrimination or persecution. Last year, several thousand people were killed for their faith, Azbej said, adding that these statistics were not getting enough attention.
The Hungarian government, by contrast, is committed to protecting and strengthening Christian culture throughout the world, he said, adding that hopefully Europe would also realise the importance of this in due time.
Azbej noted that in 2016 Hungary became the first country to launch a scheme aimed at helping persecuted Christians. Over the past two and a half years, the Hungarian government has helped some 70,000 persecuted Christians in a dozen countries, he added.
However, because Hungary cannot resolve major humanitarian crises on its own, it also does its best to raise global awareness of the persecution of Christians, he said, noting that Hungary has so far organised two international conferences on the issue.