Holy Brotherhood: Romani Music in a Hungarian Pentecostal Church

By Barbara Rose Lange | Go to book overview

Conclusion

As the IG congregations were meeting in the 1990s, an atmosphere of conflict permeated society. The violence in the Balkans to the south caused Hungarians to worry about ethnic tensions in their own country. Introducing a free market had drastic effects; when Roma became unemployed, some Magyars, impoverished themselves, objected to the fact that they got welfare payments from the government. The sociologist Zsuzsa Ferge warned that Hungary could become like the United States, where “society eventually divides in two. Hate and opposition within the majority against the ‘lower class,’ mostly consisting of Blacks, is much greater than ever before.” She warned against the possibility that an ideology like fascism would pit poor people against those who were yet poorer (Kertész 1992:17). In fact, some hate crimes were committed against Roma in Hungary, and police harassed them consistently (Human Rights Watch 1996). But even major critics of intolerance pointed out that the Hungarians were difficult to provoke. Aladár Horváth, one of three Romani MPs, observed, “this country is not mean to the core.” He asserted that the media and the government could successfully put a stop to anti-Rom actions and sentiments “if they implemented laws and policies that equalized the treatment of Roma” (Lázár 1992). Zsuzsa Ferge qualified her own warnings with the comment that “the Hungarian people to their credit are calm and do not allow themselves to jump into every kind of hysteria” (Kertész 1992:17). IG members were unusual by contrast with other Hungarians because rather than staying passive, they willed themselves to change. Brother Horváth not only objected to past injustices like Roma's mistreatment in the educational system, he made small steps to remedy them in the church context. By praising the congregation generally, and through physical gestures, Magyar believers demonstrated a willingness to be close with Roma. Romani converts tolerated misconceptions of themselves and changed some of the behavior that they thought would disturb the elderly believers.

From an outsider's point of view, aspects of secular life like intermarrying, living together, or sharing work might directly demonstrate that church members were close. Not much of this activity occurred in the IG. Hardly any Magyars and Roma shared

-165-

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Holy Brotherhood: Romani Music in a Hungarian Pentecostal Church
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Note on Textual and Musical Transcriptions ix
  • Pronunciation Guide and Orthography for the Hungarian and Romani Languages xi
  • List of Abbreviations xiii
  • Holy Brotherhood 1
  • Introduction 3
  • 1 - The Isten Gyülekezet in Hungarian Society 21
  • 2 - Instrumental Music, Charisma, and Church Leadership 47
  • 3 - Mediating Moralities: an Ethnographer's Interpretation 69
  • 4 - The Holy Spirit and Song Composition 84
  • 5 - Roma and the Hívő éNekek 107
  • 6 - The Politics of Nineteenth- Century Gospel Hymns 131
  • 7 - Stigma and Stereotype 149
  • Conclusion 165
  • Appendix - Recordings, Interviews, and Personal Communications 173
  • Glossary 175
  • Notes 179
  • Bibliography 187
  • Index 199
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