Citing blasphemy, the Christian Democrats (KDNP) will launch a lawsuit due to a caricature published last Tuesday by left-wing daily Népszava, that mocks the Operative Board’s press conference while depicting Jesus on the Cross.
The cartoon, titled “Chronic,” depicts Chief Medical Officer Cecília Müller commenting on Jesus on the cross, saying: “…His underlying condition caused addiction.” The Chief Medical Officer is often criticized by opposition politicians for giving out incomplete information, not revealing important details, and for allegedly playing according to the government’s interests, and most lately for the methods of clearing hospital beds. Cecília Müller and the operative board repeatedly mention that those who have died from coronavirus infection were in serious condition due to other chronic illnesses. She also found herself under fire when a 41-year old healthcare worker died, and the operative board forgot to mention his profession but emphasized that he was suffering from many chronic diseases. According to his widow, it was untrue- her late husband was healthy until he contracted the coronavirus.
The cartoon, however, soon drew controversy and the smaller ruling party released a statement on Thursday “…condemning the left-wing press’ provocative blasphemy” that, in their view “evokes the worst times of communism,” and also argued that “the graphics mocking the suffering of Christ are not only painful and outrageous for Christian believers, but offensive to all our sensible compatriots. (…) we find it particularly intolerable to make fun of those fighting in the front-lines in these difficult times, when cohesion and unity of the nation are extremely important.”
Tristan Azbej (KDNP), State Secretary in charge of aid to persecuted Christian communities, was also outraged and wrote that “In addition to extreme liberalism, communist party-state reflexes also live on.” In his view, there is an extremist ideology behind the cartoon that would “…eagerly express its hatred even in deeds, if it could. Therefore, remaining silent is irresponsible…” In addition, he also called up his followers to sign the online petition of KDNP-linked pro-government outlet vasarnap.hu.
And lately, KDNP’s deputy group leader Imre Vejkey announced that his party would launch a private lawsuit on the basis of the Fundamental Law and the Civil Code.
Cartoonist: Criticism targeted at Müller
After getting big time criticism and threats, author of the caricature, Gábor Pápai, also spoke up. In a Facebook post, the cartoonist explained that “…that since no worker in the governmental press (an oxymoron!) dared to stay away from lynching me, I owe you an explanation.” He then declares that “the drawing shows Cecília Müller, a public figure, and a crucifix (so it’s not the living Jesus, but a statue of him). The drawing has ONE speaker, the Chief Medical Officer, who, similarly to all [coronavirus-related] deaths to date, traces Jesus’ back to some underlying disease (…) So the drawing doesn’t say anything about Jesus (and he doesn’t say or do anything) that would be embarrassing, humiliating for Him or His followers, that could be blasphemous. The drawing only criticizes Cecília Müller.”
On another forum, he also said that he doesn’t feel that he should be afraid to be sought out and abused, adding that he looks forward to the lawsuit, which in his view he would win.
image by Gábor Pápai