By Carlos Polo | On June 15, after weeks of deliberation, the Hungarian National Assembly passed a Law against Pedophilia. In its original form, the goal was to increase penalties for sex crimes involving minors, create a national database of sex offenders, and ban offenders from certain professions. The length of the penal sanctions varied depending on the severity of the case.
A week before the bill was voted, Prime Minister Viktor Orban revised the legislation to include additional protections for children, especially aimed at safe guarding them against LGBTQ + ideology. This new bill prohibited the promotion of homosexuality or sexual reassignment to minors in television and radio advertisements. It prohibited the same to sex educators in schools, and ordered that sex education classes be taught only by registered organizations. To say that the vote in the National Assembly was overwhelmingly positive is an understatement. This new legislation was approved by the Hungarian representatives 157 to 1.
However, outside Hungary, the new legislation had a different reception. The ban on LGTBIQ + advertising for children has sparked a storm of diplomatic attacks and threats from other EU leaders. To date, the leaders of more than half of the countries in Europe have criticized Hungary’s decision and signed a joint statement condemning the legislation. Some of them have spoken the harshest words ever heard against a country in the history of the EU.
The Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, was particularly critical of the new legislation, claiming that Hungary no longer had a place in the European Union. The Dutch leader remarked while attending an EU summit: “As far as I am concerned, they have nothing to do in the EU”. “The aim is to bring Hungary to its knees on this issue. They have to understand that they are part of the European Union and the community of values that we share ” Rutte’s verbatim words as reported by EuroNews. Rutte had spoken to journalists before the summit and made similar comments saying that Hungary “has nothing else to do in the European Union” and that the new law banning LGBT propaganda in schools meant that the country should be removed from the EU.
Of course Rutte knows very well that there is no mechanism by which EU bureaucrats, or even all EU countries together, can expel Hungary. There is simply no provision in the EU treaty to expel member countries. The countries themselves can withdraw, as the UK did, but that’s it. The aim of all the aggressive rhetoric against Hungary, and in favor of the LGBTI ideology, is to send a message to Hungary, Poland and other countries not aligned with their ideological dictatorship. This message could well be expressed like this:
“We own the EU, the rules have changed, and if they try to enforce the rights of families and protect children from radical gender indoctrination, we will attack them without compassion.”
The virulence of the Dutch Prime Minister’s attack adds to that of several other European leaders, including the openly gay Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel, who said that he “will remain intolerant of intolerance and this will be my fight today.” Saying that you are “intolerant of intolerance” is like saying that you should be “racist to fight racism.” Where has similar logic been heard before? (I’ll give you a hint. Write in your internet search engine “Critical race theory”).
The Commission, against Hungary
Led by its president, Ursula Von der Leyen, the European Commission has started a procedure against the new Hungarian law. The Commission is empowered to formally order Hungary to stop applying the law. If Orban does not comply, which seems likely, the matter would then be move to the European Court of Justice, which may try to overturn or modify the law. Von der Leyen said that the Hungarian law is “illegal”, which is a blatant nonsense. The laws of the European Union make it clear that, in matters such as education, the sovereignty of each country must be respected. In other words, a democratically approved education bill cannot, by definition, be “illegal.”
Rather, what Von der Leyen really meant is that the rules have changed, and unelected bureaucrats can interpret the EU Treaty to suit their agenda. The issue is no longer just about Hungary or one particular laws. Rather, it is about the future of the EU and whether its bureaucrats will be able to impose their ideology – including gender ideology – on all the countries and citizens that inhabit them.
Despite these attacks, Prime Minister Orban is standing firm. He strongly maintains that the purpose of the bill is to protect children from harmful ideas, and also to protect the right of parents to educate their children as they see fit. He strongly denies that the bill is discriminatory, noting that it does not infringe on the sexual orientation rights of people over 18 years of age. The bill, Orban says, only protects children from the excesses of a hypersexualized society that continually presents sexuality as “an end in itself.”
To date Hungary is almost alone. Only Poland and Slovakia have come to their defense. Anyone would expect the Vatican state to speak out in support of Hungary’s new legislation, not to mention the defense of democracy itself. Pope Francis has defined as “ideological colonialism” to teach transgender ideology to school children. He sees it as part of a “global war against the family.” Regarding gender theory, he points out that “it wants to undermine humanity in all areas and in all possible educational forms and it is becoming a cultural imposition that, instead of coming from below, is imposed from above by some nations as the only possible cultural path to follow”. Reiterating Catholic doctrine, Pope Francis teaches that “young people need to be helped to accept their own body as it was created” and that sexuality education should avoid the “pretense” of trying to “cancel sexual difference just because one no longer knows how to deal with it. ”
Today is a good time for Pope Francis to reiterate his opposition to this kind of “ideological colonialism” and to support the Hungarians. He could also add that, in a democracy, it is the people who rule, and not a little hypersexualized and atheistic oligarchy.
Carlos Polo is director for Latin America of the Population Research Institute and a member of the Committee of Experts of the Political Network for Values.