Leaders of the Christian Right Gather to Plot the Next Stage of Their Assault on Civil Society

The World Congress of Families, an international network of anti-LGBTQ and anti-abortion activists, will gather in Budapest later this week for this year’s global summit. American Religious Right activists, who increasingly see the culture war as a global struggle, will strategize with colleagues from around the world to advance their shared goals: restricting legal recognition for LGBTQ people and families, denying women legal access to abortion, and opposing sex education. Joining them, according to the schedule, will be U.S. Representative Jeff Fortenberry. U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson was reportedly listed before his name was removed from the public schedule.


World Congress of Families organizers picked Hungary as a way to show support for the government of strongman leader Viktor Orbán, who WCF calls “the hero of pro-family and pro-life leaders.” Orbán has been widely criticized for consolidating power by restricting independent media, the courts and civil society organizations, and re-writing the Constitution. But given Religious Right leaders’ embrace of Vladimir Putin in spite of his own autocratic moves, not to mention their fervent support for Donald Trump, it is not surprising that they are also fans of Orbán.

WCF groups play a major role in making life more difficult and dangerous for LGBTQ people around the globe. Here’s a quick look at some of the Americans scheduled to speak at this year’s event, which has been called the Budapest Family Summit; we’ll follow up with a similar look at participants from Europe and around the world.

Here are just some of the American Religious Right figures participating, in addition to WCF officials like Larry Jacobs and Don Feder:

Many of the speakers have attended previous World Congress of Families events, including last year’s WCF summit in Tbilisi, Georgia, at which a major theme was railing against the secular, decadent West, and the 2015 summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, the first to be held in the U.S.

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