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Church, State, and Democracy in Expanding Europe$
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Lavinia Stan and Lucian Turcescu

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195337105

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195337105.001.0001

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(p.67) 5 Hungary
Church, State, and Democracy in Expanding Europe

Lavinia Stan

Lucian Turcescu

Oxford University Press

The vast majority of the population in Hungary belongs to four “historical” denominations—Roman Catholic, Reform, Lutheran, and Jewish—but other groups are free to worship. The courts can register religious groups, a status that allows them to provide religion classes in public schools and qualify for state funding. All registered religious denominations are equal before the law, regardless of their membership or the time period during which they have been present in the country. The country's religious life is no longer monitored by the state, as it was until 1989. Instead, a governmental “liaison office” for churches facilitates church-state relations and disburses budget subsidies to denominations. Several political parties have used religious symbols to gain additional electoral support, and some of the most important religious groups have openly endorsed mostly right-wing political parties and organizations.

Keywords:   Hungary, religious groups, state control, religious denominations

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