Political Corruption and the Pulpit

How Orbán’s Government Courts Religious Conservatives and Nationalists in the Region and Beyond

9 September 2021

Zsuzsanna Szabó

Visegrad Insight Fellow

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán tends to present himself as a saviour of Central Europe’s Christian character, offering an alternative path for conservative thinkers against Western Europe. He claims that the West has given up on ‘a Christian Europe’ and has chosen instead to experiment with ‘a Godless cosmos, rainbow families, migration and open societies’.

Viktor Orbán’s vision was presented on the Tucker Carlson Tonight show, which aired in the first week of August. The question is whether value-based policymaking is taking place in Central Eastern Europe (CEE) especially in Hungary and Poland. Does the ‘Christian saviour’ character that the Hungarian PM puts on serve also wider foreign policy goals?

The New Christian Hub of Europe

In the first week of August, the US-based Fox News host Tucker Carlson interviewed the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in the capital Budapest where preparations are currently underway for the International Eucharistic Congress. Pope Francis is about to preside at the closing mass on 12 September, reported Vatican News adding that the head of Hungary`s Catholic Church Péter Erdő promoted the upcoming congress in Budapest attended by Pope Francis as ‘a symbol of life after the coronavirus pandemic.’

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Zsuzsanna Szabó

Visegrad Insight Fellow

Visegrad Insight Fellow. Zsuzsanna Szabó is covering investor relations, shareholder activism and ESG (Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance) at a London-based finance magazine. Before joining the IR Magazine news team in January 2020, she worked as an energy market reporter for ICIS, an industry publication for one and a half years. During that time, she covered the CEE power markets. In 2017, she completed a Master’s degree in Media studies at the University of Westminster in London, with a dissertation on the rise of populism in Hungarian politics. She previously covered German and Austrian political news and the refugee crisis for Origo.hu, Hungary’s formal leading news portal.

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