There are so many people you can mindlessly bash while “just protecting the family“. Governments that are dead set on chasing public opinion down the slippery slope of unenlightenment never fail to exploit the just-protecting-family rhetoric.
So when the Hungarian Ministry of Human Resources (yes, really) sponsors a conference of the lead homophobic organisations of the world and PM Viktor Orbán opens it, we are not even surprised.
In May 2017 Budapest hosts the Budapest Family Summit (organised by the American World Congress of Families, or WCF, an umbrella organization for the US religious right) along with the Budapest Demographic Forum where ultra-orthodox Russians will rub shoulders with American fundamentalists – bringing some intriguing people together.
- Ben Carson, from Trump’s cabinet for Housing and Urban Development sharing a panel with
- Allan Carlson, WCF founder and eminent LGBT-basher
- Natalia Yakunina of the Russian Sanctity of Motherhood Program, the most important figure of the Russian orthodox family movement, wife of Vladimir Yakunin, one of Putin’s top oligarchs. (Banned from the US as part of the Crimea sanctions.)
- Dmitry Smirnov from the Russian Orthodox Church’s Patriarchal Commission on the family, who wants women who had abortion jailed and supported the decriminalization of domestic violence in Russia, because despite latency 50 thousand of such cases still go into statistics in Russia every year and make life for abusers marginally harder. (And you can’t argue with them, they have every reason to be frustrated nowadays. Better take it out at home.)
- Igor Beloborodov, from the Institute of Russian Strategic Sciences, who is best known for blaming condoms and sex-ed for AIDS and sex and the “gay lobby” for the reluctance of families to push themselves (deeper) into poverty by having more children.
- Alexei Komov, chief fundraiser of WFC and link between Russian, American and European fundamentalist groups, popularizing anti-gay and anti-abortion laws worldwide
- An earlier version of the program listed US Vice President Mike Pence among the speakers – he is no longer on the program.
- The conference will be opened by PM Viktor Orbán and headed by the Hungarian minister of human resources.
- Also expected: an assorted group and long catalog of anti-gay and anti-abortion activists, opinionators and church-types, who never fail to link natural disasters to abortions or gay sex. Such as:
- Jim Garlow, homophobic US priest.
- Lawrence Khong, Pastor of the Faith Community Baptist Church of Singapore, who worked hard to keep the city state’s anti-gay laws in place.
(We are still looking some participants from Chechnya – their local community in Budapest has been heavily discussed in the media for spontaneously taking it upon themselves to intimidate anti-Fidesz activists in their home and post the video on social media.)
“The series of events and programmes of the Budapest Family Summit is implemented with the support of the Hungarian Government.”
The WFC’s main activities are anti-gay and anti-abortion activism and lobbying – which nicely coincides with ethnic-demographic fearmongering and blaming “the homosexualists”.* And the Russian force is strong with these people.
“Just protecting the family”
“The values of accepting life, undertaking to give birth to and raise children, and families based on the marriage of a man and a woman…”
…sound innocent enough – but authoritarian minds are rarely brought together by positive goals, as much as by a common enemy. And everyone knows that the innocent wish of getting other men and women married is a code for homophobia.
“Russians have increasingly adopted the kind of language the American religious right has long deployed to fight acceptance of homosexuality—terms like “natural family,” “traditional values,” and “protecting children,” with rarely a mention of the word “gay.””
Fighting tolerance and coercing people into a one-size-fit-all lifestyle is a core authoritarian tool – regardless of who the subject of intolerance happens to be. By suppressing individual ambitions and desires, and using state power to crack down on private behavior, they claim entitled to intrude into and police private lives.
This self-entitlement then spills over into society, and people start harassing each other with accusations of social misconduct – while fiercely signalling compliance of their own. Even if they personally disagree. In the meantime, their accused and harassed victims have no capacity left to question the bigots’ own adherence to their own, grim prescriptions.
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* Demographic concerns are ethnically motivated by definition, because there are enough people born, just not the right kind. Hence the fear.