NEWS OF THE HOWARD CENTER FOR DECEMBER 2005
An Update From Allan Carlson, President
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Dear Friends of the Howard Center:
The last six months have seen solid progress by our Center. Financially, we met our budget goals for FY 2005. I am grateful to those persons who helped us in this way. Allow me to summarize key program developments.
THE WORLD CONGRESS OF FAMILIES (WCF) project is gaining new momentum. In late October, a 26-person Planning Committee gathered in Rockford to flesh out plans for a Fourth international Congress. The committee chose Warsaw, Poland as the location and May 2007 as the tentative date. In recent weeks, a solidly “pro-family” political party helped to drive the Socialists/Communists out of power in Poland; there is considerable excitement there about prospects for a WCF session, and plenty of local organizations with willing volunteers. Almost alone in Europe, Poland has maintained strong faith and strong families, although often facing strong pressures from “post-family” secularists in Sweden and other European Union states. The committee resolved that the WCF IV “should meet among the brave people of Poland.”
Also, we have two “Regional” WCF events pending. On March 29 in Salt Lake City, we anticipate filling the Delta Center (20,000 seats) for a half-day conference on “The Natural Family as the Fundamental Social Unit.” This WCF event is co-sponsored by Utah’s Sutherland Institute. Then, on April 25-26, we will hold a WCF Briefing in conjunction with the Azusa Street Celebration, an international gathering of over 50,000 Pentecostal Christians in Los Angeles, CA. The Family Ministry office of The Church of God is our co-sponsor here.
NEW BOOKS from The Howard Center are also in the pipeline. Divided We Fall: Family Discord and the Fracturing of America should appear this December from Transaction Books. Authored by Bryce Christensen, our long time Contributing Editor for The Family in America, the book’s ten chapters are adapted from lead essays for that publication. They explore “the bewildering cross-cutting tensions surrounding the national turmoil in family life and new divides in American political life.” Bryce explores the erosion of the home economy, of restraints on sexual conduct, and of the traditional family wage.
In addition, The Howard Center received this summer a new grant from The Earhart Foundation to support the research and writing of a new volume by yours truly with the working title, The Troubled Quest for an Alternative Economy in the 20th Century West. The book will examine seven distinct episodes where economists and policy advocates sought to build social-economic systems, neither capitalist nor communist, that would protect families, rural life, and widely distributed property. I will examine why they all failed, and draw lessons for contemporary defenders of home and hearth.
Another manuscript of mine, with the working title of The Meaning of Marriage, has gone out to potential publishers. The chapters of this work are the lectures on marriage that I gave for the Family Research Council during 2004. Meanwhile, Senior Fellow John Howard reports substantial progress on his manuscript dealing with the role of religious faith in the founding and building of the American Republic.
THE NATURAL FAMILY: A MANIFESTO, co-authored by Paul Mero and me, continues to draw attention. We have now sold or otherwise distributed 14,000 copies of the 35-page document. A second printing will soon occur. We have arranged for translations into French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, and Polish, and have plans for Chinese, Arabic, German, and Japanese. Please visit our new website: www.familymanifesto.com. We also have received a challenge grant to produce and distribute copies to all U.S. Senators and Congressmen and state legislators (about 9000 in all). In addition, a book length commentary on the Manifesto, co-authored by Paul and me, should be completed soon.
THE PARENTS’ TAX RELIEF ACT OF 2005, introduced in the U.S. Congress this June, was partly inspired by ideas found in my recent book, Fractured Generations. I took part in the June 23rd press conference held in Washington, DC, where the bill was announced. Chief sponsors are Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas and Representative Lee Terry of Nebraska. The House bill now has 35 co-sponsors. I will be assisting in briefings for Congressional staff over the next few months. Provisions of the Bill (H.R. 3080, S. 1305) would extend the existing day-care tax credit to include stay-at-home parents with children; eliminate the marriage tax penalty once and for all; double the value of the personal income tax exemption for children; support home-based businesses; and protect the social security benefits of stay-at-home parents. This is a clear example of Howard Center ideas translated into action…and potential real help for families.
THE RELIGION & SOCIETY REPORT is nearing the end of its first year run under a new format and frequency: featuring a longer, single-subject essay and appearing eight times a year (instead of twelve). I have received many good comments on these changes. Dr. Harold O.J. Brown continues as editor of the series.
SEVERAL FOUNDATIONS are funding a large new project on the nature (and unanticipated problems) of the federal student loan programs, called The Project on Student Debt (see: www.projectonstudentdebt.org). I have been recruited to be part of the research team, authoring a paper on the effect of student loan debt on marriage and child bearing (quite negative, in both cases). I took part in an initial consultation on November 16 at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC. According to one news report: “Easily the most unusual argument against the rising debt burden came from Allan Carlson.…members of the audience seemed unsure whether to laugh or gasp when Carlson declared the federal student loan program as a ‘highly effective from of contraception for the college educated.’”
IN ADDITION TO WHICH:
• John Howard’s article, “How Quickly We Forget!” was published in the Veteran’s Day 2005 issue of Officer Review (November).
• Larry Jacobs participated in two recent conferences, the World Family Policy Forum held in July at Brigham Young University and the Vision America meeting in November on “The Values Voters” in Washington, DC
• contributed articles on “Centralization,” “Homeschooling,” and “Localism,” for American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia, released this December from ISI Books.
• I also wrote “Sweden and the Failure of European Family Policy,” for Society (Sept./Oct. 2005).
• “Standing for Liberty: Marriage, Virtue, and the Political State,” an essay by yours truly, appears in The Chesterton Review (Spring/Summer 2005); while
• Love Story,” my review of Stephanie Coontz’s Marriage: A History appears in the July 18 issue of National Review. A review of Elizabeth Marquardts, Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of the Children of Divorce appears In The November 7 issue of the same magazine.
RECENT LECTURES INCLUDE:
• “The Effect of Worldview on Culture,” for The Culture Campaign, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL (October 16).
• “The Social Conservative Case for the New Deal,” for The Regional Meeting of The Philadelphia Society, Milwaukee, WI (October 8).
• “Defining Family-Friendly,” for a Symposium on Taxation sponsored by The Sutherland Institute and The Hinckley Institute of Politics, The University of Utah, Salt Lake City (September 23).
• “Europe and the Christian Democracy Movement: A Once and Future Hope?” a lecture to the Witherspoon Fellowship of The Family Research Council (July 20).
• “The Necessity of Family Policy,” for a special session on government grants convened by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice, Miami Beach, FL (June 27).
• And “The De-Institutionalization of Marriage: The Case of Sweden,” for The Illuminating Marriage Conference, organized by McGill University, held at Kananaskis Lodge, Alberta, Canada (May 19).
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 do need your support. Lean and frugal, operating out of a small Midwestern city, refusing to accept government funds, we rely on the generosity of people such as you. Please consider an end of year gift for 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. Godspeed,
Allan C. Carlson
P.S. In anticipation, thank you for your help and encouragement in making a positive difference for the natural family. For every gift to The Howard Center of $150 or more, I will be pleased to send you a specially signed copy of my book, The Family In America: Searching for Social Harmony In The Industrial Age.
• “[Carlson] is our most persuasive advocate for the natural family, one
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unapologetically normative view...”
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scholarship and at the same time written so they can be understood and
appreciated by all.”
• “...this little known organization [The Howard Center] is at the
center of an emerging conservative religious and political world
strategy on families.”
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His essays are always a ‘must read’ for anyone concerned about the
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conservative (to be led deeper in always an enjoyable way...”