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Church comes down on bigoted clergyman

The Reformed Church in Hungary has reached a condemning verdict against Lorant Hegedus, saying the priest has violated the clergy’s laws. The controversial preacher is known to have strong nationalistic and often racist views, making him a figurehead for the radical political right. This is the first time that the church has formally distanced itself from his actions.

An area court of the Reformed Church in Hungary reached a binding verdict saying one of its priests, Lorant Hegedus, violated the laws of the church at a 2013 public appearance. As Atlatszo.hu reported in detail before Hegedus is a controversial figure, often voicing bigoted views from both racial and nationalistic stances, but so far the church has refused to take any disciplinary action even though his hostile comments reflected poorly on the clergy.

The latest ruling of the church’s own court states that during the speaking occasion in question Hegedus was unprepared and in general his messages did not promote the messages of the church and the worship of Jesus Christ. Instead he touched upon political issues which are in breach of church principles.

Hegedus already filed an appeal against the first instance ruling, disputing the charges. He also alleged that the court procedure was biased because it involved people in the church who were already positioned against him. The appeals procedure rejected his objections.

The clergyman is something of a celebrity among supporters of the radical right, who showed up in large numbers at his disciplinary hearing and were very vocal in expressing their disdain for the court and what they felt was unfair action against their priest. His closest followers support him for events such as when he hosted a Holocaust-denying historian or claimed that the ethnic Roma population in Hungary are “biological weapons”.

Despite the disciplinary rulings, Hegedus showed no remorse for his words.

Original article in Hungarian.

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