PRESS RELEASE: For Immediate Release: 29 December 2004, Rockford, Illinois

CONTACT: Larry Jacobs, Vice President, 1-800-461-3113 or (815) 964-5819,



Allan Carlson, president of the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society, said that – for better or worse -- 2004 was a momentous year for faith and family.

Among other developments, Carlson noted the following:

1. Massachusetts Legalized Homosexual “Marriage” – By judicial fiat, in May, Massachusetts became the first state to legally recognize gay marriage. This was accomplished not by legislative enactment or referendum, but by order of the state’s Supreme Judicial Court. In so doing, the court undermined a millennia-old institution that serves as the bedrock of society.

2. Congress Takes Up Marriage Amendment – In response to the Massachusetts move, Congress took up the Federal Marriage Amendment (defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman). The FMA failed to secure the requisite two-thirds vote in either house. Senate liberals used a filibuster to prevent a vote on the FMA. The House voted for the FMA by 277 to 186 – short of the two-thirds majority needed. While Congress showed a lack of leadership on this crucial issue, with increased pro-family representation in the next Congress, there is hope for the Federal Marriage Amendment in the future.

3. States Pass Marriage Amendments – The most positive development on the marriage front was the passage of 14 state constitutional amendments protecting marriage. The amendments, enacted as ballot measures, passed by votes ranging from 56% to 85%. Now, more than three-quarters of the states have defined marriage as the joining of a man and a woman, either by statute or amendment.

4. Values Vote – To the amazement of pundits, in the November election, 22% of voters told exit pollsters that they based their vote on values (including such matters as abortion, marriage, faith and the family). With a war ranging in Iraq, and the economy in the doldrums, a plurality of voters still said their chief concern was the health of America’s families. Will the political establishment get this unambiguous message?

5. The Ten Commandments Controversy – The culture war continued to rage over public display of The Ten Commandments. A judicial disciplinary committee removed Roy Moore as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court for failing to obey what he considered the unconstitutional order of a federal district court judge to remove his Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama Judiciary Building. Elsewhere, the Supreme Court agreed to take up two cases dealing with The Ten Commandments’ controversy early next year. It is hoped the Court will return to the traditional definition of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause and allow public display of a document so important to the founding of this nation.

6. Pledge of Allegiance – In 2002, the ultra-liberal 9th Circuit Appeals Court ruled that the phrase “one nation under God” made it unconstitutional to say the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools. Rather than ruling on the merits of the case, this year the Supreme Court held the atheist father who brought the suit lacked standing, thus overturning the ruling on technical grounds. The issue will continue to haunt us, with activist judges determined to stamp out even this modest manifestation of monotheism.

7. Partial Birth Abortion Ban – A ban on the hideous practice of partial-birth abortion, passed by Congress and signed into law by president George W. Bush in 2003, was overturned by Federal District Court Judge Richard C. Casey – in a classic case of judicial activism. Unless Congress reins in a runaway judiciary, the best enactments will have a slim chance of survival.

8. Unborn Victims of Violence Act – In April, the president signed into law the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, also known as Laci and Conner’s law (after Laci Peterson and her child), which allows the killing of an unborn child in the commission of a crime to be prosecuted under federal law. Despite the fact that upwards of 80 percent of the American people believe that not one but two people die in such incidents, the measure passed the Senate by a single vote – demonstrating that there are powerful forces determined that unborn children shall have no recognition in law.

9. On-Going War on Christmas – The secularist campaign against Christmas continued unabated this year – with various public schools forbidding the singing of carols, distribution of Christmas cards, salutations of “Merry Christmas” and Christmas decorations – either in the name of “church state separation” or “inclusiveness.” There was also an on-going political struggle over public displays of creches. The foregoing notwithstanding that roughly 96% of the American people celebrate Christmas (Gallup Poll, 2000).

10. Cultural Decline Continues – The culture continued to promote unrestrained hedonism and sexuality divorced from morality. Among other telling incidents, there was Janet Jackson’s display of a nipple during the Super Bowl halftime show, the Britney Spears/Madonna open mouth kiss (during MTV’s Music Video Awards) and the ABC series “Desperate Housewives.” It seems that we are still in a cultural free-fall.

11. Christian Persecution in Philadelphia – The city of Philadelphia is charging 4 Christians with a variety of felonies and misdemeanors, including criminal conspiracy, reckless endangerment, ethnic intimidation and riot. The charges arose from an October 10th incident, when Christian protestors quietly prayed and read Bible verses on the perimeter of a gay celebration. Notwithstanding that the Christians obeyed all police orders, four of them were arrested. If convicted, they could be punished with up to 47 years in prison. This is perhaps the most chilling example yet of anti-Christian repression.

12. World Congress of Families Meets in Mexico City – In a hopeful sign for the future of the family, the World Congress of Families III convened in Mexico City from March 29-31. More than 3,300 delegates from over 60 counties attended this international summit of the pro-family movement. (Allan Carlson and the Howard Center were principal conveners.). The Congress adopted the Mexico City Declaration, which stresses the crucial importance of the natural family to a healthy and vibrant society.

In conclusion, Allan Carlson commented: “This year – 2004 – was filled with victories and defeats, advances and retreats, for the pro-family movement. In the year to come, the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society and the World Congress of Families will continue to bring reason, clarity and morality to the family-values debate.”

For more information, visit the following websites:, or Or contact Larry Jacobs at the World Congress of Families (800) 461-3113.


About The Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society

The Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society is an independent, non-profit research and education center that strives to be the leading source of fresh ideas and new strategies for affirmation and defense of the natural family, both nationally and globally.  The Howard Center is also the founder and organizer of the World Congress of Families project which unites people of goodwill who recognize that the family is the fundamental unit of society and coordinates the efforts of pro-family groups from more the 60 countries worldwide.

In terms of function, The Howard Center:

  • Shapes new ideas about the nature and status of the family and faith

  • Makes fresh scientific research on the family accessible and useful to family scholars

  • Creates effective national and international networks of family advocates

  • Magnifies ideas and influence through all forms of media

  • Provides expert opinions to public policy makers

Specific programs include:

  • Publishing three monthly periodicals (Family in America, New Research, and The Religion and Society Report)

  • Publishing weekly The Family Update, Online! a free email newsletter

  • Serving as administrator and co-convener of the World Congress of Families (WCF# 1 in Prague, 1997, WCF# 2 in Geneva, 1999, WCF# 3, March 29-31, 2004 in Mexico City, and WCF# 4 scheduled for 11-13 May 2007 in Warsaw, Poland)

  • Building the Swan Library of Family and Culture

  • Maintaining three active websites The Howard Center (, The World Congress of Families (, and The Family Manifesto (

  • Convening periodic lectures and special conferences

  • Sponsoring “The Kohler Fellows Program”, in support of young scholars

Please visit,, or for the latest news and info.


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