Toward the end of last month, a major right-wing summit in Hungary had a conspicuous guest. Former vice president Mike Pence joined Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and a coterie of other illiberal, nationalist leaders from the continent in a two-day conference in Budapest on “family values” and demographics. The forum, which began in 2015, is one of the spaces where Orban champions his brand of Christian nationalism — raging against Western liberalism, non-European migration and LGBTQ culture.
“Hungary must defend itself because the Western left wing is attacking,” Orban said. “It is trying to relativize the notion of family. Its tools for doing so are gender ideology and the LGBTQ lobby, which are attacking our children.” He went on to sign a declaration along with the right-wing leaders of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia that insisted “increasing the number of European children is essential to preserving Europe’s Christian culture and other religious traditions for future generations” and warned European Union officials that “migration should not be seen as the main tool to tackle demographic challenges.”
Pence was happy to play his part. “We see a crisis that brings us here today, a crisis that strikes at the very heart of civilization itself,” he said, echoing fears over the “erosion of the nuclear family, marked by declining marriage rates, rising divorce, widespread abortion and plummeting birthrates.” He used his moment in Budapest to cheer on the U.S. Supreme Court, whose conservative majority may eventually overturn federal protections around abortion rights. [Continue reading…]