In a fundraising email today for his International Organization for the Family (IOF), anti-LGBTQ activist Brian Brown writes that his group is working hand-in-hand with Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán to stop the evil machinations of liberal philanthropist George Soros around the world:
The values of beauty, goodness and truth are being assaulted today like no other time in history. The leading protagonist of this assault is George Soros, a shadowy leftist billionaire who is using his fortune to push for laws, regulations and judicial decisions to remake society according to his skewed values. The International Organization for the Family (IOF) is Soros’ chief nemesis around the globe. We’ve successfully pushed back against him, working with governments like the Hungarian government of Viktor Orban to oppose Soros’ work, and educating and equipping the pro-family movement to similarly push back.
This isn’t the first time IOF has boasted about its alliance with Orbán against Soros. In a fundraising email last month that labeled IOS “Soros’ worst nightmare,” the group’s managing director Larry Jacobs wrote :
George Soros is not used to having such an effective, connected and influential counterpart, and he’s not happy with our success. Just recently, we worked closely with the Hungarian government to sponsor the World Congress of Families XI Budapest Family Summit. As you may know, the pro-family Hungarian government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban is pushing back hard against Soros (who is a Hungarian by nationality), including seeking to deny accreditation to his Soros-funded university.
(Jacobs was praising the efforts of Orbán’s government to shut down Central European University in Budapest.)
The World Congress of Families (WCF), which is now a project of Brown’s IOF, held its annual gathering in Budapest this year, where Brown, Jacobs and WCF founder Allan Carlson posed for a photo with Orbán and the group praised him as a “pro-family” “hero.”
As Peter has written, Religious Right leaders who were previously enamored of Russian president Vladimir Putin thanks to his vicious crackdown on LGBTQ people and public embrace of the Russian Orthodox Church are now learning to love the far-right strongman Orbán. Peter wrote:
Orbán makes no effort to hide his “illiberal” authoritarian nationalist vision. A year ago, in a Politico article titled “Europe’s New Dictator,” Colin Woodard wrote that Orbán’s “dictatorial tendencies” were laying “the course of a deepening tragedy at the heart of Europe with lasting implications for the west.” Woodard notes that Orbán and his party have purged the civil service, packed the courts with political loyalists, restricted freedom of the press, and rewritten the Constitution to give a sheen of legitimacy to all of his efforts. He’s also gone after government watchdog groups and other nonprofits.
Last fall, Foreign Policy’s James Traub published a series of articles on Hungary’s rightward shift, in which he labeled Orbán a “right-wing demagogue” and quoted an analyst saying that while Orbán is not religious, he “constantly invoked Hungary’s ‘Christian’ culture.”
Like the American Right, Orbán has taken to attacking Soros, a Hungarian native, as a stand-in for a shadowy global conspiracy intent on undermining national sovereignty. Soros has said he is now the target of an “unrelenting propaganda campaign” from Orbán. One spokeswoman for a European arm of Soros’ Open Society Foundations noted “clear antisemitic overtones” in the attacks on Soros as “both the insider and the outsider, the meddling foreigner and the Hungarian Jew.”
Just a few weeks after Brown got back from Budapest, he put on his hat as the leader of the National Organization for Marriage and led an embarrassingly poorly attended “March for Marriage” in Washington, D.C. But in his international work, Brown has found new hope for pushing his anti-LGBTQ agenda, even if that means teaming up with anti-democratic leaders like Putin and Orbán.