Christian Concern and World Congress of Families to Hold London Conference Ahead of Madrid Event

Christian Concern has published details of its upcoming “One Man, One Woman” conference, to be held on 23 May. The event was announced earlier this month in a press release issued by Don Feder of the World Congress of Families; here’s the line-up:

Remembering the Nature of Marriage
Peter Duckworth (Barrister – Family Specialist)

Observing the State of Marriage
Sir Paul Coleridge (High Court Judge, Family Division)
Allan C. Carlson (Founder, World Congress of Families)

Making the Case for Marriage
Phillip Blond (Director, ResPublica)
Cristina Odone (Journalist and Media Commentator)
Ben Harris-Quinney (Chairman, The Bow Group)

Duckworth has spoken at a previous Christian Concern event, while Coleridge announced a new “Marriage Foundation” in January. Harris-Quinney recently issued a statement against gay marriage, and he is the author of piece warning the Conservative Party that it must “decide between the pulpit and the progressive agenda”. Blond, meanwhile, is famous as David Cameron’s “Red Tory Philosophy King”; ResPublica’s view of gay marriage has been articulated by John Milbank, who is a ResPublica Fellow (and, perhaps somewhat awkwardly, a 9/11 Truther who reportedly recently screamed at Oliver Kamm that he was “going to to be dealt with”). Odone’s argument against gay marriage appeared in a Telegraph column last month.

But what of the American guest star in the show, Allan Carlson? I’ll again quote journalist Kathryn Joyce:

Carlson, the Lutheran head of the Illinois-based Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society, is a compelling conservative historian who uses secular arguments to advance religious right ideas. A chief example of this is “The Natural Family Manifesto,” a guiding document of the WCF community, co-written by Carlson and Paul Mero, head of the Mormon think tank the Sutherland Institute. The ecumenical call to arms extols a conservative lifestyle where fathers lead and women honor their highest domestic calling by becoming “prolific mothers” of “full quivers of children.”

In service of that goal, Carlson, who has helped craft policy for ultra-right Senator Sam Brownback and Representative Lee Terry of Nebraska, hopes to involve the state in a pro-family welfare system, where tax laws encourage large families, and the government encourages a family-and-faith-centered legal system, which repeals “witch-hunting” child abuse laws that restrict parental discipline as well as no-fault divorce; imposes penalties for unmarried cohabitation; and reconfigures Social Security to provide support on a family, rather than individual basis, so that women are recognized not for their work as independent employees but for their roles as spouses and mothers. 

Doris Buss and Didi Herman, law professors and co-authors of Globalizing Family Values: The Christian Right in International Politics, write that the Manifesto’s secular, social science rationales are part of the “‘intellectualization’ of the Christian Right”.

The conference website also carries the notice that

Our London event will be followed by a full World Congress in Madrid from Friday 25th – Sunday 27th May 2012 – for more information please visit the website.

Attendees in Madrid will be able to enjoy talks on subjects such as “The Cultural Roots of Demographic Winter”; “The Threat from Transnational Progressivism”; “Authentic Women  and Rediscovering Homemaking”; and “Solutions to Homosexual Behavior”.

The Madrid line-up lists around 100 speakers: familiar faces include Alan Sears (of the Alliance Defense Fund); Ted Baehr (of “Movieguide“); Richard Cohen (who has addressed the Polish parliament on the need to keep homosexuality criminalised); Natalya Yakunina (wife of Vladimir Yakunin, an Orthodox activist who runs Russia’s railways and who is close to Vladimir Putin); Steve Mosher (of Paul Marx’s Population Research Institute) ; and Peter LaBarbera (of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality; LaBarbera is known for his particularly ugly and obsessive rhetoric on the subject, and for his links with Scott Lively).

Along with Ben Harris-Quinney, the British end in Madrid will be represented by: Gordon Macdonald (of CARE and Care Not Killing); Paul Coleman (a Christian Concern legal advisor); Robert Colquhoun (of “40 Days for Life”, which has brought US-style anti-abortion protests to the UK); Ade Omooba (a pastor, who organised a protest against the Sexual Orientations Regulations  in 2007); and Christian filmmaker Norman Stone (not to be confused with the historian).