168 Óra reports that five professors from the Budapest-based John Wesley Theological College have nominated Hungarian-American financier and philanthropist George Soros for the Nobel Peace Prize.
The five – Rev. Gábor Iványi, education researcher Péter Lukács, theologian Tamás Majsai, sociologist Péter Tibor Nagy, and Mihály Szilágyi-Gál – sent their nomination to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee in early November.
The professors nominated Soros for
- The “relentless and systematic support [he] offered to the Hungarian, Czech, and Polish opposition in the 1980s,”
- His “major contribution to the creation of democracy and to the break-up of the Warsaw Pact,”
- Founding the Open Society Foundations, “which have supported the cause of democratic transition around the world,” and
- Founding and endowing the Central European University.
The John Wesley Theological College is affiliated with the Hungarian Evangelical Fellowship, a Hungarian Methodist church stripped of its state-recognized church status in violation of EU law with the adoption by the Fidesz-controlled parliament of the controversial Church Law of 2011. The church is led by Rev. Gábor Iványi.
In April 2014, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the Hungarian government had unduly denied privileges, subsidies and donations to legitimate churches after the Church Law changed the status of religious organizations which had previously enjoyed state recognition. The government lost an appeal a few months later, but has been reluctant to pay restitution and implement corrective legal measures as ordered by the court.
Rev. Gábor Iványi is one of a very few members of the Hungarian clergy openly critical of the government’s actions
Speaking at a press briefing in January, Rev. Iványi responded to the Hungarian government’s crackdown on NGOs, its campaign against Soros, and the general democratic backsliding in Hungary. The following remarks were made at the event:
- “Giving false testimony clashes with one of the Ten Commandments. I see very serious problems in our country and in the behavior of our leaders, and we should not stay quiet about this. If civil organizations are talking about these issues and even helping alleviate the damage, then that is a very welcoming thing and may God continue to bless that work.”
- “And the government should repent. Once the government repents and starts doing a better job, then it will be difficult to oust them in a fair election. If after repenting the government can win in a fair election, then they deserve it, and they should continue to serve us.”
- “These civil organizations are doing outstanding work. Let me say, right here and right now, in front of all of you, God bless the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, the other organizations, and God bless George Soros.”
- “The work these NGOs do speaks for itself. These organizations were not founded in 2010 to undermine this government. It is important to remember one does not have to silence the media and civil society if they are right. When they start silencing the press, civil society, the opposition and even craft the election law to favor themselves, there is a huge problem. Sooner or later this will end very badly.”