By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
The offices of an organizer of the upcoming World Congress of Families were defaced with obscenities and anti-Christian slogans on July 30, prompting conference leaders to pledge they will not be intimidated by “radical opposition.”
According to a report by the Catholic News Agency (CNA), the Amersterdam building of EuroCongress, the professional conference organizer for the event, was defaced by unknown vandals.
The Dutch Chairman of WCF V, Simon Polinder, said the vandalism was “really outrageous.”
“We are organizing an international family congress, with which we intend to bring attention to the positive value of the family,” Polinder said in a press release. “This group evidently disagrees with that goal. Apparently they are not able to enter into a civilized conversation with us.”
While the vandals used anti-Christian slogans, the Congress is ecumenical and includes scholars and leaders from Catholic, Jewish, Orthodox, Islamic, Protestant and secular backgrounds. While many of these participants disagree on specific religious practices, they all share the same values concerning family, marriage and children.
The Congress’ managing director Larry Jacobs said this was the first incident in 12 years of international congresses.
Acknowledging that the Congress’ opponents disagree with its stands on issues like marriage, abortion, euthanasia, parental rights, pornography, and prostitution, he said it was “amazing” that “anti-family activists” believe they have a right to engage in vandalism.
He characterized the vandalism as an attempt to intimidate Congress attendees.
“This isn’t the first indication we’ve had of radical opposition to WCF V,” Jacobs explained.
For example, the group Autonomous Feminist Action has held organizing meetings against the Congress, which it characterizes as a group of “fundamentalistic” Christians who will “plead for going back to the Christian traditions of traditional relationship between man and woman (sic.).” It describes WCF as anti-feminist, anti-abortion, homophobic and opposed to divorce.
To illustrate its anti-natural family message, Feminist Action has posted a menacing drawing of a man and a woman, with a child and a cross between them. There’s a dotted line going through the necks of the couple and a pair of scissors ready to cut off their heads.
“Clearly, the social left is terrified of the Congress bringing a pro-family message to what it considers its turf,” Jacobs said.
“We will not be intimidated by these uncivilized, criminal tactics,” Jacobs insisted. “This latest outrage makes it more important than ever to broadcast a positive, hopeful message of the centrality of the natural family to the heart of the European Union.”
The Congress will be held from Aug. 10-12 in Amsterdam.
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