Christian Concern, the World Congress of Families, and Nadine Dorries vs Gay Marriage

A press release from Don Feder:

Christian Concern is a founding member of Coalition for Marriage. The Coalition’s “Don’t Play Politics With Marriage” Petition has reached over 407,000 signatures.

In response to Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron’s plans to legalize so-called same-sex marriage in the United Kingdom, the petition states: “I support the legal definition of marriage which is the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. I oppose any attempt to redefine it.”

….Conservative M.P. Nadine Dorries noted that a recent poll showed 57% of Christians are ready to abandon the Conservative Party over the move, which 70% of the nation opposes.

“The fact is that many people now look at the Conservative party and are reeling with the realization that this modern party is the one they don’t know, didn’t vote for and no longer represents their views,” Dorries declared. She added, “They don’t recognize the values, are confused by the policies and repelled by the elitism.”

A World Congress of Families Partner, Christian Concern is planning a May 23rd conference, “One Man, One Woman: Presenting A Compelling Case for Protecting Marriage” at The Law Society in London.

Feder’s Dorries quote is taken from an article at Conservative Home:

A recent ComRes poll reported that 57% of Christians are ready to abandon the Conservative Party over the issue of gay marriage alone. Actually, 70% of the total population don’t want it either and yet, the Conservative Party felt this was a good policy to push in order to keep us in power. A policy completely out of step with the belief of the majority of the British public and many members of the gay community, but certainly one relentlessly pursued by the left-wing political gay lobby. 

According to details of the poll, which was undertaken on behalf of Premier Media:

ComRes surveyed 544 UK Christians on Cpanel between 25th and 31st October 2011 by online questionnaire. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules,

Full details can be seen here. As ever, Dorries’ interpretation is slightly sloppy – the poll found that 57% of Christians would be “less likely to vote Conservative”, which is not quite as dramatic as the image of a Christian exodus from the party.

Feder adds further details about the conference:

The discussion will include: “Remembering the Nature of Marriage” (with historical and legal perspectives), “Observing The State of Marriage” (judicial, sociological and global perspectives) and “Making the Case for Marriage” (from a policy, media and political standpoint). The conference will conclude with a panel discussion on “Constructing a Compelling Case for Marriage” and will be followed by a reception in the House of Lords.

Christian Concern also held a World Congress of Families event last year; a WCF newsletter reports that

The World Congress of Families hosted a key conference in London on June 29. “The Future of the Family in Coalition Britain” was held to help identify the causes of family breakdown in the United Kingdom and to present possible solutions. The event was sponsored by Christian Concern (a World Congress of Families Partner) and was addressed by such prominent leaders and thinkers as Stewart Jackson MP, Bishop Michael Nazir Ali (Church of England), Nadine Dorries MP, Professor Julian Rivers, Peter Hitchens, who writes for The Sunday Mail, Benjamin Bull of Alliance Defense Fund (a WCF Partner) and Ignacio Arsuaga of, who invited participants to WCF VI, Madrid 2012.

I recently noted a WCF event in Moscow; the organisation is perhaps the most successful example of a globalising Christian Right movement. Kathryn Joyce wrote about the WCF for the Nation in 2008, and described it as

a locus for heavyweight US conservative actors such as the Heritage Foundation, the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America and James Dobson’s Focus on the Family–a Who’s Who of the American Christian right–to network with representatives from the Vatican, conservative Christians from developing nations and a smattering of Muslim groups seeking allies to fight gay and women’s rights at the United Nations. The result is the spread of US culture-war tactics across the globe, from the Czech Republic to Qatar–where right-wing Mormon activist and WCF co-founder Richard Wilkins has found enough common cause with Muslim fundamentalists to build the Doha International Institute for Family Studies and Development.

…The architects of the WCF have persuaded traditionally isolationist American conservatives to care about the fate of secular, impious Europe with two main arguments: one, that Europe is a bulwark against a Muslim “invasion” of America–“If Europe is lost to demographic winter and radical secularism, much of the world will go with it,” [WCF’s Allan] Carlson warns–and two, that global trends, such as the normalization of gay and women’s rights, can impact life at home.

I noted one troubling alliance in Europe in 2007. Joyce’s article drew a hostile response from Feder, as I discussed here.

Feder also embodies the link between the WCF’s demographic concerns and worries about Islam – he is also project coordinator for the “Shariah Awareness Action Network”, which was the original organiser of a conference held in Tennessee in November; Christian Concern’s Paul Diamond was involved in this event.

Dorries has long-standing links with Christian Concern, and a national media profile based on her campaigns to reform sex education, abortion counselling, and the date up until which abortion should be allowed. In recent months, she has increasingly positioned herself as a defender of Christianity in general. On Twitter, she has suggested that government might be “secretly implementing an anti-Christian agenda”, and she has promoted an article discussing whether the current government is the “most anti Christian government in history”. Last year, Dorries was at the receiving end of a flippant comment from David Cameron for which he later apologised; it seems likely that the incident inflated her sense of self-importance, and her willingness to launch unguarded attacks.

Although Dorries is often dubbed “the British Sarah Palin”, there are also similarities with Newt Gingrich, as noted by Gen J.C. Christian. In late 2010, Dorries entered into a relationship with a married man, vilifying her lover’s estranged wife (a former friend) in the process. Dorries’ behaviour was criticised by the conservative moralist Anne Atkins; Dorries, who never forgets a slight, recently responded with some prudish clucking on Twitter after Atkins wrote an article about her sex life:

Pious wife of Vicar, DMcolumnist, Anne Atkins writes abt her sex life+ waking hubby up at 4am and making it worth his while! (1)

Fnd it amusing how a columnist can be so pious in one paper and write in such personal ‘interlaced limbs’ detail in another! (2)

My point is hipocricy! (3)

However, Dorries’ prudery is selectively employed; she recently applauded James Delingpole’s description of David Allen Green as being a “tosser”.