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Faith Church schools received $33 million in public funds between 2014 and 2016

Pastor Sándor Németh, leader of the Faith Church | Photo: hit.hu

The State Audit Office (ÁSZ) has just wrapped up an inspection of the schools run by the Faith Church (Hit Gyülekezete). The audit office reportedly only found minor problems, namely that the schools had failed to publish certain information that ought to be made public. According to ÁSZ, this discrepancy “does not meet the requirements which ensure transparency of the use of public funds.”

The church has been given 30 days to produce the requested material.

More interesting perhaps than news of the audit is the fact that the government contributed HUF 8.4 billion (USD 33 million) in public funds towards the operation of its schools between 2014 and 2016.

According to ÁSZ, the Faith Church operates 9 schools in 7 counties. The fact that the church is formally recognized by the government entitles it to generous state educational subsidies, asseen by the HUF 8.4 billion.

At odds with Fidesz while the Socialists were in power, the Faith Church, led by Rev. Sándor Németh, appears to have reconciled its differences with Fidesz and its political ally, the Christian Democratic People’s Party (KDNP), at least if the church’s ATV programming is any indication.

Once lauded as Hungary’s last “opposition” television station, ATV has taken to toeing the government line, at least with regard to the existential threat allegedly posed by refugees and liberals.  Moreover, the Faith Church’s publishing house actively promotes books on subjects that play to Fidesz’s political agenda.

Benjamin Novak :