When he’s not busy making terrible paintings of dogs, former leader of the free world George W. Bush has to find some other ways to fill his days—like keeping up a correspondence with the World Congress of Families, which opposes gay marriage, abortion, and pornography, and which the Southern Poverty Law Center calls a hate group.
The WCF emphasizes what they call the “natural family,” by which they mean exactly what you think they mean. As BuzzFeed reported in an excellent, in-depth piece last year, WCF conferences act as an intercontinental gathering for social conservatives who oppose homosexuality and are prone to getting into philosophical debates about whether all gay people are pedophiles or not.
The Southern Poverty Law Center calls the WCF a hate group, one that exports intolerance overseas:
Using deceptive “pro-family” rhetoric, WCF’s campaign for the “natural family” is being used to promote new laws justifying the criminalization of LGBTQ people and abortion, effectively unleashing a torrent of destructive anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ legislation, persecution, and violence around the world that ultimately damages—and seeks to dismantle—any and all “nontraditional” families (e.g. single parents, same-sex couples, grandparents, non-biological guardians, etc.).
The WCF disputes that they’re a hate group, saying in a response to the SPLC that they “stridently condemn any violence against homosexuals and would never support any legislation that would advocate such,” and have “never…taken a position on the criminalization of homosexuality.”
The New York Times reports that Bush sent the World Congress of Families a nice note after he declined to attend their conference, which was held this year in Tbilisi, Georgia:
In a letter dated May 2016, the former president sends “greetings” and says: “I commend your efforts to recognize the importance of families in building nations. Your work improves many lives and makes the world better.”
Bush previously sent a warm letter to the group in 2004 in Mexico City, the paper notes, but a spokesperson said he has no idea what the WCF is: “Our knowledge of the group is limited to their work to encourage adoption.”
Right Wing Watch notes that the WCF event in Georgia is timed to coincide with the anniversary of an infamous anti-gay riot there in 2013, in which anti-homophobia marchers were violently attacked by a mob.
In fairness, though, it’s not difficult to believe that George W. Bush routinely has no idea who he’s writing to and would disavow any knowledge that Georgia, the country, exists.
Photo via AP