Pastor Andrew Brunson becomes a Hungarian citizen

Andrew Brunson, a 50-year old American pastor who lived in Turkey since the mid-1990s was jailed by local authorities for his alleged participation in a coup against Turkish strongman Tayyip Erdogan.

Brunson and his wife, Norine were arrested in October 2016 along with other Americans. Norine was released after two weeks but her husband was held for two years, facing a sentence of up to 35 years in prison if convicted.

Brunson’s release became a major political cause in the U.S. President Trump tweeted “Working very hard on Pastor Brunson!” Vice President Pence has frequently invoked Brunson in speeches and Trump called him a “great American Christian.” The US administration even announced economic sanctions against Turkey after negotiations for his release fell through.

Pastor Bunson prays with President Trump in the White House.

The pastor was finally released in October 2018. Four months later Brunson became a Hungarian citizen.

“I am very glad to also be a Hungarian citizen as my wife is Hungarian and my children also define themselves as Hungarians and we have many relatives in the country,” Brunson said.

Norine and Andrew Brunson (left) with Hungarian Ambassador László Szabó and his wife Ivonn Szeverényi after receiving Hungarian citizenship in Washington DC.

Norine Brunson (nee Steiner) is an American with Hungarian ancestry. Her father Joseph (József) Steiner left Hungary as a young man during the 1956 revolution to become a noted Hungarian-language Christian radio broadcaster operating in Monaco. Joseph’s mother, Ida Csopják, was one of the daughters of Attila Csopják, a legendary leader of the Hungarian Baptist movement.

The Hungarian government is friendly with Turkey and Prime Minister Orbán admires President Erdogan. Now Hungary is using Brunson to promote Hungary’s pro-Christian aid programs.

Orbán (left) and Erdogan – mutual admiration.

Brunson worked with Christian Syrian refugees in Turkey and is appreciative of Hungary’s Christian aid policy, especially the “Hungary Helps” initiative. It seems that the pastor is not bothered by the fact that Hungary has never criticized Erdogan’s anti-Christian policies and never raised its voice to support Pastor Brunson’s release either.

Obviously Brunson has the legal right to assume Hungarian citizenship but his support of the Orbán-regime is troubling.

György Lázár

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