NEWS OF THE HOWARD CENTER FOR JULY 2005
An Update From Allan Carlson, President
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Dear Friends of the Howard Center:
Developments at The Howard Center For Family, Religion and Society have been positive over the last six months. Allow me to begin by reporting on signs of the influence and success of our work here.
THE NATURAL FAMILY: A MANIFESTO. On March 15, 2005, The Howard Center and the Sutherland Institute held a news conference at The National Press Club in Washington, DC, formally releasing The Natural Family: A Manifesto. It was coauthored by Paul Mero (a former Executive Vice President here) and me. Board Chairman George Marlin chaired the session. About 20 press outlets (radio, television, and print media) covered the event, including CBN television. Our vice president, Larry Jacobs, and I were both interviewed on a number of talk radio programs, including two notable national outlets, “The Michael Reagan Show” (syndicated to 5 million listeners on more than 200 stations)” and “Point of View” (the most popular, live Christian call-in show in America according to Christianity Today). The document has been very well received, gaining solid and meaningful endorsements from our friends, winning praise in unexpected places, and angering “the usual suspects.” On April 19, The Washington Times published a long excerpt from The Manifesto on its page 2. We have distributed about 10,000 copies of the first printing of The Manifesto. We anticipate printing at least 5,000 more copies (please let us know if you can help financially with this second printing). More than 4,000 copies have also been down-loaded from our website. Paul Mero and I are now engaged in crafting a book-length commentary on The Manifesto. We hope to have the manuscript completed this summer.
FRACTURED GENERATIONS: CRAFTING A FAMILY POLICY FOR 21ST CENTURY AMERICA. This new book, by yours truly, appeared in March from Transaction-Rutgers University, the “international publisher of record in the social sciences.” It has been picked up by The Conservative Book Club, The Human Events Book Club, and The National Review Book Service. Board member Dr. Milton Rosenberg hosted me for a two-hour discussion of the book’s themes on his radio show, “Extension 720,” WGN-AM, Chicago. I also gave a lecture on the book in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, May 11. In addition, I have prepared another manuscript entitled The Meaning of Marriage which I hope to see published in 2006.
DIVIDED WE FALL: FAMILY DISCORD AND THE FRACTURING OF AMERICA. I am pleased to report that Transaction will also publish this autumn Bryce Christensen’s new book, Divided We Fall: Family Discord and the Fracturing of America. The book is adapted from ten essays originally written for Family in America, of which Bryce is Contributing Editor.
RELIGION & SOCIETY REPORT REVAMPED. Starting in January, the Report was reconfigured into a monograph series issued eight times a year. Harold O.J. Brown remains as editor. The first three issues have featured:
LECTURE IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC. On April 27, I presented a lecture in the Senate building of The Czech Republic on “The Swedish Model and the Failure of European Family Policy.” My host was Martin Mejstrik, a newly-elected young Senator who is giving priority to family issues. Sixteen years ago, he served as a key student leader of The Velvet Revolution which brought down the Communist regime in then Czechoslovakia. The Civic Institute of The Czech Republic served as co-sponsor of the event. Other Senators, Parliamentarians from the Lower House, policy staff, and NGO leaders attended. Several persons (including Sen. Mejstrik) also reiterated that the Czech Republic’s new 2004 law legalizing home schooling was directly inspired by commentaries provided by The Howard Center.
CENTER INFLUENCE IN EASTERN EUROPE. Our World Congress of Families Project has also inspired two new documents in Eastern Europe. The “Family First Declaration” of 2004 was crafted by a dozen Parliamentarians representing six “new member states of the European Union”: Slovakia, The Czech Republic, Latvia, Poland, Lithuania, and Estonia. Referring explicitly to our Mexico City Declaration, the “Family First” statement declares: “We will coordinate our efforts on behalf of the traditional family, marriage and the intrinsic value of each human life so that the future Europe is not associated…with the culture of death, institutionalized egoism and population decline, but with the preservation of religious, ethical and cultural values that enhance virtuous life in all relevant aspects.” The Vranov Declaration of November 2004 also draws directly on “the final declaration from the World Congress of Families 2004 in Mexico City.” Drafted by delegates from eleven former Communist nations, the Declaration embraces the “natural family” ideal as the only hope for Europe’s future. These documents are especially gratifying, given that we initiated the World Congress of Families project in 1997 partly to encourage pro-family voices in Eastern Europe.
AMBASSADOR ELLEN SAUERBREY VISITS THE HOWARD CENTER. The Howard Center hosted two related local events featuring Ellen Sauerbrey, US Ambassador to the UN and US Representative to the UN Commission on the Status of Women. On January 21, we co-sponsored the annual Life Breakfast in Rockford, with 350 taking part. Ambassador Sauerbrey served as the keynote speaker. At lunch that same day, Ambassador Sauerbrey spoke to local friends of The Howard Center gathered at Rockford’s University Club.
LEGALIZED MARIJUANA: A PENDING DISASTER. Dr. John Howard has authored a new monograph on “Legalized Marijuana: A Pending Disaster” (publication plans are pending). He is also continuing work on his manuscript exploring the religious nature of the American Republic.
TOUCHSTONE: A JOURNAL OF MERE CHRISTIANITY. This winter, I accepted an invitation to become a Contributing Editor to Touchstone, a solid journal on faith and culture combining the best work of Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Eastern Orthodox contributors. This is an active editorial board, involving the review of selected manuscripts and the submission of essays on a regular basis. My essay, “Five Rings and a Wedding: Marriage and the Concentric Ring that Surround It,” appeared in the January-February issue of Touchstone, along with Bryce Christensen’s essay on “Rush to Alter: How Homosexuals Benefit from the Devolution of Marriage.” To learn more about Touchstone, visit www.touchstonemag.com. Other essays by yours truly have recently appeared (or are pending soon) in Society, The Chesterton Review, Perspective: A Public Policy Journal of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, Intercollegiate Review, and National Review.
WEBSITE HITS UP 200%. The Center’s two websites, www.profam.org and www.worldcongress.org, have been improved over the last year with dramatic results. We are now averaging over 9,000 hits per day compared to 3,000 per day before the changes. A Christian missionary in Brazil describes our website this way: “...Although I cannot recall having heard of you, your website seems to be something for which I have searched for some time…As a coordinator of family ministry for several years, I always am in need of information about families: responsible, objective, non-partisan, and useful information, because there is plenty of the opposite kind of information on the web. Keep up the good work, as I will be visiting quite often, and already added you to my favorites list.” Our weekly email list, Family Update Online!, has also grown to over 9,400 subscribers. Sign up for our free email at www.profam.org or www.worldcongress.org and click on “FREE EMAIL: FAMILY UPDATE.”
KOHLER FELLOW VISITS ROCKFORD. Our 2005 Kohler Fellow in Family Studies, Russell Di Silvestro, visited Rockford in early January to present a lecture at Rockford’s University Club entitled “Capacities and Moral Status: When Does Life Begin?” Russell is a Ph.D. candidate and lecturer at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. This fellowship in family studies has been made possible by a generous grant from The Charlotte and Walter Kohler Charitable Trust.
DAVID HARTMAN RETIRES, WAYNE TEW COMES ON BOARD. At its Annual Meeting held May 13, the Center Board of Directors express its gratitude to David Hartman of Austin, Texas, for his eight years of distinguished service, including five years as Vice Chairman. Elected to fill his position was Wayne Tew of Las Vegas, Nevada. He serves as President and CEO of The Clark County Credit Union where he executed a successful financial turnaround. He and his wife Patrice have been valued supporters of The Howard Center for several years.
HOWARD CENTER MOURNS THE LOSS OF GAYLORD SWIM. We are saddened by the recent passing of our friend and associate, Gaylord Swim, the founder of the Sutherland Institute in Utah. He passed away on Saturday evening, February 5, surrounded by his family. His encouragement and support of The Howard Center was a great blessing to us.
HOWARD CENTER INTERNS MAKE A DIFFERENCE. The Howard Center has launched an intern program with five students from Rock Valley College and Rockford College: Lauren Vander Heyden, Rich Heitz, Erin Kenney, Gabe Zammit and Anna Griesbach. Two of the interns, Mr. Heitz and Miss Vander Heyden, also represented us admirably at the March meeting of the UN Commission on the Status of Women: Beijing +10, in New York City. Their dedication and professionalism earned the respect of Sharon Slater, President of United Families International, who wrote, “I would just like to commend Richard Heitz and Lauren Vander Heyden for the fantastic job they did lobbying at the CSW last week…I have never seen such quick learners. They did exactly what was asked of them and were fearless.”
ENDORSEMENTS OF THE MANIFESTO CROSS RELIGIOUS AND POLITICAL DIVIDES. More than 200 endorsements from American and world leaders testify to the impact and power of The Natural Family: A Manifesto. Even more gratifying is the diverse nature of these testimonies, involving women and men across the political, religious, and geographic spectra. A selection of these endorsements can be viewed at: www.profam.org and www.worldcongress.org On the homepage, click on “Here are some of the endorsements.”
WE NEED YOUR HELP! I hope that this letter gives you a feel for the vital work being advanced by the Howard Center. However, for this to continue and grow, we dearly need your support. Lean and frugal, operating out of a small Midwestern city, refusing to accept government funds, we rely on the generosity of good folk such as you. So please consider a gift for summer, 2005. As foes and friends testify alike, The Howard Center is specially positioned to protect those things—traditional marriage, children, grandchildren, the home, vital faith—that you hold dear. Your collaboration and your help at this time would be deeply appreciated.
P.S. In anticipation, thank you for your help and encouragement in making a positive difference for the natural family. For every new gift to The Howard Center of $150 or more, I will be pleased to send you a specially signed copy of my new book, Fractured Generations: Family Policy for the 21st Century