Quotes from Monday’s talks at World Congress of Families II


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    Quotes from addresses at the World Congress of Families

    II, November 15, 1999, Geneva Switzerland.

    “Our call in this Congress is (to) promote the stability,

    autonomy and fecundity of the natural family is wholly consistent with ?- indeed it is in the full spirit of -? the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Many of us, I believe, would say that we ask nothing more than that the nations of the world, and The United Nations itself and its allied bodies, fulfill the family-centered promised of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

    — Dr. Allan Carlson, general secretariat WCFII.

    “This document (the Universal Declaration on Human Rights) also deserves praise for its careful description of ?the family as the natural and fundamental group unit of society.? In using this term, ?natural,? the authors of the Declaration chose not to use the ocmmon phrase, ?traditional,? to describe the family, and in this they were very wise. For largely by 1948, and almost completely by 1999, the whole of the truly ?traditional? world had already

    passed away … But the architects of the Universal

    Declaration understood that the family stood outside both the regime of ?tradition? and the regime of ?choice.? They used the word, ?natural,? to convey their understanding that the human family system had its basis in human nature: that is, in the very biological and psychological makeup of men and women. This means that our very identity as human beings

    impels us toward family life; toward marriage and children. A religious person would probably explain this as the consequence of Divine intent, in the creation. The person of science could explain this as a consequence of ten thousand generations of human evolution. The conclusion, though, would be the same: to be human is to be familial.”

    — Dr. Allan Carlson, general secretariat, WCFII

    “How do we fit this ?natural? famiy into our ?modern? world, with its own ideological corruptions, in a way that promotes another goal of the Universal Declaration: ?the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world?? My answer is this: We must all become good social engineers.” [Here he refers to old order Amish of North America.] “How can these apparent slaves to agrarian tradition be called exemplary ?social engineers?? The answer lies in what sociologist Donald Kraybill calls ?the Riddle of Amish Culture.? For it is simply not true that the Amish reject all technological

    innovations or changes in their way of life…. The truth is that the Amish have learned how to build and use ?moving cultural fences? to protect their communities from the arbitrary intrusion of both alien values and new technologies. Instead of ?surrending? to modernity, they have learned to bargain with it. The bishops of this religious community understand their role as ?watchmen on the walls,? responsible for guarding their flock from the ?little foxes? of worldliness ?- of modernity ?- who would dig under the walls and undermine the vital bonds of community. They engage in?selective modernization,? where they judge potential changes and innovations against a set of fixed standards … the Amish have learned to be masters

    of change rather than its slaves, and to keep ?modernity? subservient to their community?s values and goals…. Their central achievement, I believe, has been their refusal to let industrialization in all its forms oust the major functions of life from their homes. With fierce obstinance, they have defended ?family integrity? and the functional nature of the family…. This is the social engineering most needed in our time: the kind that will protect the natural

    family and allow it to thrive. We are gathered here, toward that end. And we are gathered here in the spirit of those delegates form the nations of the world who, 51 years ago, sought to protect those very same principles in their Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

    — Dr. Allan Carlson, general secretariat WCFII.

    From BYU law professor and WCFII general secretariat

    Richard G. Wilkins’ talk, Recognizing Our Shared

    Commitment To The Natural Family:

    ?As this Congress begins, I would like to focus attention on three interrelated themes. First, regardless of theological and cultural distinctions, the world?s great religions do share a common conception of the natural fmaily. This common

    conception must not be forgotten or neglected by modern society, for it provides the basis for a stable, productive and peaceful world. Second, social policies which focus on protecting and fortifying our shared conception of the natural family will strengthen society. By contrast, policies that disregard, or even worse, undermine, the central role of the family will have disastrous consequences. Third, and finally, there is reason to be of good cheer. We have an opportunity, at this Congress, to

    set an agenda for family-affirming future action.?

    ?Many modern observes, upon hearing the description

    of the value and characteristics of the well-functioning natural family, will object that the unit ?- as described ?- is idealistic, religious in its overtones, and therefore inapplicable to the complexities of today?s modern world. To these observers I simply respond that the best research

    available on the family ?- much of it conducted by the U.N itself ?- ratifies and confirms the iportance of family principles…. Solid, social scientific evidence, therefore, demonstrates that the strong, stable, natural family is more than a religiously motivated ideal. It is an observable, describable and reproducible unit of surpassing importance to modern society.”

    “We can develop policies to strengthen the family.

    Despite the srupassing importance of the natural family, not enough private, academic or governmental energy has gone into the imagination and creation of a family-friendly world.”

    “We did not convene in Geneva to despair. Rather, we gather on the eve of the New Millennium to call governments at all levels to return to basic truths regarding the family: truths that have been recognized for centuries and reaffirmed in modern times. Existing language in international treaties, agreements and conference declarations already supports the natural family. That language must not be ignored. It can be used to set the entire international community on a life-affirming, pro-family path.”

    “The best way to improve society is to improve its families. By contrast, the quickest way to destroy society is to weaken its families. My own religious tradition warns that ?disintegration of the fmaily will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamites foretold by ancient and modern prophets.? The way to avoid those calamities is clear: srengthen the family. Despite the clarity of the path, local, national and international leaders have not

    been quick to see it. Perhaps the reason why is explained by a quotation from Goethe:

    What is the most difficult of all?

    That which seems to you the easiest,

    To see with one?s eyes

    What is lying before them.

    We must all see what is lying before our eyes. We

    have a shared commitment to the natural family. The time has come to recognize and act upon it.”



    “According to UN estimates, total fertility rate is now below 2.1 children per woman of reproductive age in at least 61 countries or in roughtly 2.6 billion or 44 percent of total world population. Everywhere else, all trends are down. There is not a single country today where total fertility rate or crude birth rate is rising or at a standstill. Nonetheless, because of improved nutrition and health care, except probably in conflict- or AIDS-stricken African countries, life expectancy has increased by 20 years over the past 50 years. Thus, no matter how few are added, the total number still keeps on growing. In most developed countries, too, the proportion of older persons now exceeds that of children. Worldwide, one person out of

    ten is over 60, in another 50 years, there will be one such person out of five.”

    “Everything has been said. The theology is settled, the philosophy certain, the science correct; life, love and goodness will triumph, as they always do, in the end. As a blessed man of our times says, ‘God never loses any battles.’ Yet we must fight those battles. The attack on the family is an attack on everything on which the family stands; it is an attack on man, on the church, on God above all. Within the political realm, it has used and continues to use political bodies and institutions to achieve its ends. This needs an adequate political response.”

    “We could now form a chain of families, spanning all continents and cutting across all cultural barriers and terriotiral boundaries. We could form what I would for now call — for want of a better word — a transterritorial republic of families, made up of men and women of all nations and faiths, determined to maintain the original dignity and role of the family and make it a living source, channel and object of authentic human goodness. It is not one more power structure we seek, but simply enough space for the best universal values of the family to be lived and

    transmitted, according to their original purpose and design.”

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