Dr James Orr is an associate professor at the Faculty of DivinityWikimedia Commons

Dr James Orr, an academic at the Faculty of Divinity, has been criticised for his leading role and views at this week’s National Conservatism Conference. The Conference has been condemned for anti-semitic remarks made by several speakers, including comments about “cultural marxism”, anti-LGBTQ+ views and claims about birth rate populism’.

Opening the second day of the Conference, in a speech titled “faith, family, flag, freedom”, Orr asserted that sexual education in the UK had been outsourced to “rainbow activists”, who show children material “too graphic to even publish in newspapers.”

Orr also stated that the words faith, family, and flag, “are guaranteed to induce fainting fits from Hampstead to Hackney.”

On Twitter, protest group The Divine Dissenters, who have previously called for an investigation into right wing radicalisation in the Divinity Faculty, tweeted: “How do James Orr’s colleagues at @CamDivinity feel about him organising a conference peddling anti-Semitic conspiracy theories? Presumably any colleagues disturbed by this, in a religious studies dept no less, will be free to say so?”

They also tweeted: “Except James didn’t say “elite”, did he? He mentioned people living in Hampstead and Hackney. What does that North London dog whistle refer to, then? Clue: ‘Cultural Marxism’ and ‘globalists’ do the same work.”

The conference has been widely condemned for references to “cultural marxism” throughout many speeches. “Cultural Marxism” refers to a conspiracy theory that argues western nations and their key institutions are being taken over by socialists and Jewish people. Journalist Douglas K Murray also described Nazism as being a German ‘muck up’ during his conference.

Other comments included those by Conservative MP Danny Kruger, who said “the normative family, the mother and father sticking together for the sake of the children is the only possible basis for a safe and successful society” and that women do not have an “absolute right to bodily autonomy.”

The three day conference was organised by The Edmund Burke Foundation, a right wing US think tank. James Orr is the UK chairman of the organisation and one of two UK organisers of the conference.


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Orr is currently an associate professor of Philosophy of Religion at the Faculty of Divinity. Previously, Orr has been a controversial figure. In 2021, Orr was claimed to be linked to a group of right wing academics reportedly backed by billionaire Trump donor, Peter Theil. The Divine Dissenters accused the network of radicalisation, as well as attempting to oust senior members of the University.

The National Conservatism Conference describes it’s aims as “a protracted effort to recover and reconsolidate the rich tradition of national conservative thought as an intellectually serious alternative to the excesses of purist libertarianism, and in stark opposition to political theories grounded in race.”

James Orr and the Divinity faculty were contacted for comment.