Demolishing the wall of silence

“The government’s goal is to demolish the wall of silence surrounding persecuted Christians”, State Secretary Tristan Azbej declared in Washington after the annual National Prayer Breakfast. The State Secretary for the Aid of Persecuted Christians and the Implementation of the Hungary Helps Program highlighted the commitment of the Hungarian government for religious freedom.

The Prayer Breakfast in Washington is a major political event, and also this year’s breakfast was attended by guests from over 140 countries. Tristan Azbej, State Secretary for the Aid of Persecuted Christians and the Implementation of the Hungary Helps Program attended the event with a larger delegation from Hungary. He highlighted the importance that the ecumenical program that stretches over several days is attended by politicians and religious representatives who profess different or opposing views and who are at odds with each other, but who put aside their differences to concentrate on the teachings of faith that develop human relations.

“We discussed how Hungary can become involved in the international efforts led by the United States to protect religious freedom. What we can add to this is our unique Hungarian approach, the fact that we are handling the provision of aid to the world’s most persecuted religious group, Christianity, as a priority”, he said, stressing that many are prepared to turn a blind eye to the persecution of Christians.

The State Secretary underlined that Hungary can also contribute to the American initiative with its unique practices, that other governments are not using with relation to international aid. “The essence of our method is that we work directly with religious institutions, and with so-called good faith organisations”, he underlined.

Mr. Azbej also pointed out that the Americans have transposed several elements from the Hungary Helps Program. “The Hungarian government is not capable of saving all of the Christians who are being discriminated against and persecuted in over 80 countries around the world, and nobody can expect this of us”, the State Secretary said. “The goal of our mission it to also mobilize other governments in the interests of the cause, and this requires that we demolish the wall of silence surrounding persecuted Christians”, he stated.

In reply to a question concerning to what extent Hungary’s possibilities with relation to aiding persecuted Christians will be helped by its joining the International Religious Freedom Alliance, Mr. Azbej said: “It was a very important message, that Hungary was the first member state of the European Union to join the initiative”.

Since 1953, hundreds of religious leaders, politicians, and dignitaries from around the world have gathered in Washington D.C. for the National Prayer Breakfast. Established during the President Dwight D. Eisenhower administration, this multi-faith event is an opportunity for politicians to unite around their shared values, build relationships and promote political and economic cooperation.

More than 3,500 guests from 150 countries and all 50 states came together in Washington D.C. on February 7. Hungary was represented by a larger delegation, including beside State Secretary Azbej among others Zoltán Balog, former Minister of Human Capacities, Commissioner of the Prime Minister and senior pastor of the German speaking reformed congregation of RCH in Budapest.

Via MTI (Hungarian News Agency)/Hungary Matters