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US Congressman “disturbed” by Hungarian government’s investigation of church

History

US Senator/Foreign Relations Committee member Ben Cardin (D-Md.) warned of the danger in the Hungarian government’s recently-launched investigation into the Methodist Evangelical Church, an organization which claims to have 18,000 members and, as Cardin reminds, was “persecuted during communist times.”

Cardin told the US Senate that “The denomination … is known for its outreach to Roma, work with the homeless and is one of the largest charitable organizations in Hungary,” but was one of “hundreds of religious groups stripped of official recognition” after passage of amendments to the country’s extant religion laws in 2011.

“The church has now complied with submitting the necessary number of supporters required by the law and, as a reply, the government has announced an unidentified ‘expert’ will conduct an investigation into the church’s beliefs and tenets,” explained Cardin.

An official statement from the Ministry for Human Resources stated in part that the investigation of the church’s legality is to focus on “evaluating whether the church’s activities are primarily of a religious nature” and “whether the church complies with its own beliefs and rituals, and whether the church has maintained an active congregation over the past 20 years in Hungary.”

In response to the opening of the investigation in the first week of December, Fellowship director Gábor Iványi posted an open letter to MP/Calvinist pastor Zoltán Balog on the church's official website which demonstrated the church's legal standing in Hungary since the 1980s.

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