Budapest (Feb. 18)
Bishop Dr. Desider Balthazar, the head of the Calvinist Church in Hungary, has published a protest against the conversionist work among the Jews which is being carried on in Hungary by the Budapest Mission of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland.
Organised conversionist activity ought to be carried on only among those peoples who have not yet attained to a high moral and spiritual conception of God, the Bishop says. No one can say that this is true of the Jews. When Judaism, therefore, points out, as it has every right to do, that it has given the world its noblest idea of God and its highest ethical ideals, that its holy scriptures are also the holy scriptures of Christianity, that there is no other religious community in the world which, in spite of being a small minority among the peoples, has given the world such an immense number of great men in science, art, economic life, and in every other field of activity, that the Dispersion and persecution and suffering have not destroyed its faith, then every thinking man must come
to the conclusion that the Jewish religion has the power to make men noble and happy. I have learnt from my Christian faith that no man should be robbed of the consolation of the religion in which he finds happiness, and that no man should be robbed of his religious tradition and his sense of the value of his religious faith. the great services which Judaism has rendered to the whole world go to teach us Hungarian Christians that we must have nothing to do with conversionist work among the Jews, which can only bring a feeling of resentment and estrangement.
Bishop Balthazar, who is the Primate of the Church to which Admiral Horthy, the Regent of Hungary, belongs, played a heroic part in saving many Jews from the pogromists during the White Terror in Hungary. he used to go about the streets of Debreszin with a big crucifix, which, at the risk of his own life, he would hold up over any Jew who was being attacked and under its protection he would lead him to safety.
The Bishop is one of the leaders of the Liberal Democratic movement in Hungary and a strenuous opponent of antisemitism and of the numerus clausus. When antisemitic disturbances occurred in 1928 at the Debreszin University, of which he is Chancellor, he issued a statement to the press of the world dissociating himself and the authorities of the University from the antisemitic activities: I am anxious to explain to the press of ###e world, he wrote, that the authorities of Debreszin University were in no way involved in the deplorable incidents which have taken place here. I regard it as my duty, for it was from me during my American visit, that the civilised world learned of the spirit of Debreszin University, to inform those who have assisted us, that the University authorities have nothing whatever in common with the reactionary student movement, and that they do not approve of these demonstrations, or of the hate-engendered Numerus Clausus.