Fighting for Religious Liberty and Against Abortion — IOF News
IOF News — Fighting for Religious Liberty and Against Abortion
The administration of America’s President Donald J. Trump continues to provide much-needed leadership on pro-family issues. This week featured two major developments at the United Nations.
First, President Trump delivered a key speech calling on the nations of the world to do more to promote religious freedom. Trump urged action to end religious persecution and enact laws to protect the religiously oppressed: “America stands with believers in every country who ask only for the freedom to live according to the faith that is within their own hearts.”
Second, the US Secretary of Health & Human Services, Alex Azar, spoke on behalf of a coalition of 19 nations to call on the United Nations to cease using language such as “sexual and reproductive health and rights.” This language has become synonymous with promoting abortion. Secretary Azar said, “There is no international right to an abortion and these terms should not be used to promote pro-abortion policies and measures.”
Doug Clark, IOF’s Director of UN and International Policy, reports on the remarks of President Trump and Secretary Azar in an article below for this issue of our newsletter.
Even as President Trump called for more religious freedom, the UN’s top official charged with promoting the LGBT agenda issued a report calling for a crack-down on religions that fail to fail to embrace so-called LGBT rights. You can read more about this in the story below.
Meanwhile, there are a couple of upcoming conference opportunities that we bring to your attention. First, IOF is hard at work, along with partners, on the upcoming WCF Africa Regional Conference in Accra, Ghana, which is set for October 31st and November 1st. Second, IOF’s Allan C. Carlson is among several distinguished speakers at a conference in Illinois scheduled for October 10-12 titled “Fight or Flight?” sponsored by Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity. You can get more information on both of these conferences, and register to attend, in the articles below.
Finally, this edition of our newsletter also reports on several cases now being considered by the European Court of Human Rights that are very concerning and hold the potential to further destabilize our understanding of parenthood and weaken the natural family.
I hope you will check out all the articles in this newsletter. I also ask you to demonstrate your support for IOF and the work we are doing around the world to promote and protect the family and to advocate for timeless family values by making a much-needed financial contribution. We largely depend on individual supporters for the resources needed to conduct our critical programs and are currently in the midst of an important fundraising drive where a group of supporters has come together to match every donation to IOF up to a total of $200,000. I ask that you make a generous donation to support us.
We have a lot of momentum on our side but there are many, many challenges facing our movement around the world. For IOF to capitalize on our momentum and face the challenges before us, it’s critically important that our financial footing be strengthened. Please give generously to support our work realizing that your gift will be matched, doubling its size and effectiveness.
Thank you for all you do to support the family and I hope you enjoy this edition of our newsletter!
United States Calls upon United Nations to Protect Faith and Family
By E. Douglas Clark, Director of UN and International Policy
It was a historic day at United Nations Headquarters on September 23, 2019, when the United States boldly urged the nations of the world to protect faith and family. As the first US president to host a meeting on religious freedom at the UN, President Donald J. Trump declared, “The United States is founded on the principle that our rights do not come from government; they come from God. This immortal truth is proclaimed in our Declaration of Independence and enshrined in the First Amendment to our Constitution’s Bill of Rights. Our Founders understood that no right is more fundamental to a peaceful, prosperous, and virtuous society than the right to follow one’s religious convictions.”
Dubbed the Global Call to Protect Religious Freedom, the event coincided with a UN meeting on climate change, as if to underscore the urgency of protecting the world’s religious climate. “Today, with one clear voice,” the President proclaimed, “the United States of America calls upon the nations of the world to end religious persecution. To stop the crimes against people of faith, release prisoners of conscience, repeal laws restricting freedom of religion and belief, protect the vulnerable, the defenseless, and the oppressed, America stands with believers in every country who ask only for the freedom to live according to the faith that is within their own hearts.”
Addressing attacks on freedom deceptively couched in the name of “tolerance” or “diversity,” President Trump added, “Too often, people in positions of power preach diversity while silencing, shunning, or censoring the faithful. True tolerance means respecting the right of all people to express their deeply held religious beliefs.” The President was speaking partially from the tragic experience of America itself, where Congress is considering the dangerous Equality Act (better called the “Inequality Act” for its failure to protect religious freedom), and where the Supreme Court has handed down the infamous Obergefell decision to the detriment of children and the imperilment of religious freedom (the decision “will be exploited by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent,” warned Justice Samuel Alito). President Trump’s speech is available here to be read or watched.
On that same day in the United Nations, Alex M. Azar II, Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services, addressed the High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage as he read a joint declaration of 19 nations representing more than 1.3 billion people. Decrying dangerous abortion language often promoted in the United Nations, Secretary Azar declared, “We respectfully call upon Member States to join us in concentrating on topics that unite rather than divide on the critical issues surrounding access to health care. We do not support references to ambiguous terms and expressions, such as sexual and reproductive health and rights in U.N. documents, because they can undermine the critical role of the family and promote practices, like abortion…. There is no international right to an abortion and these terms should not be used to promote pro-abortion policies and measures.” Secretary Azar added, “The family is the foundational institution of society and thus should be supported and strengthened.” His statement can be read here.
As IOF continues its work with unprecedented momentum, we applaud the Trump Administration’s leadership in rallying the nations of the world to protect faith and family, and we urge nations everywhere, beginning with America itself, to give heed and protect these twin pillars of civilization.
UN LGBT Czar Takes Aim Against Religions
Even as US President Donald Trump is calling for the world to embrace the right of people to live out their lives according to their religious faith, the UN’s top official charged with promoting LGBT issues has issued a new report urging governments to take action against religions that don’t embrace so-called LGBT rights.
According to C-FAM, the report by Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, equates any kind of religious or political narrative that does not endorse LGBT rights with incitement to violence. He calls on governments to respond forcefully. “There is abundant information about the dissemination of expressions that constitute hate speech by representatives of churches and faith-based groups, and incitement often leads to actions that infringe on other rights, including the right to personal integrity,” Madrigal-Borloz says in his report.
IOF’s World Congress of Families (WCF) is co-sponsoring a major pro-life, pro-family conference in Ghana, Africa on October 31st and November 1st, 2019. The WCF African Regional Conference promises to be one of the largest pro-life, pro-family conferences ever held on the continent. The Regional Conference will be held in Accra, the capital of Ghana and the largest city in the country.
This World Congress of Families African Regional Conference aims to bring together all pro-life and family advocates and believers. Our core purpose is to deepen the awareness of the importance of families to national and global development. With this conference, we want to establish an active collaboration with government officials, the media, academia, religious & traditional bodies, civil societies, NGOs and interest groups to deliberate intensely on the state of the family and its place in African states’ development. All IOF supporters are encouraged to attend.
Rival, Weakened Political Parties in Italy Seek Coalition Government To Avoid Elections
Allan C. Carlson, IOF’s John Howard Senior Fellow and Editor of IOF’s The Natural Family: An International Journal of Research and Policy is one of several distinguished speakers at an upcoming conference entitled, “Fight or Flight? The Benedict & Other Options for Facing the World, the Flesh & the Devil.” The conference in Illinois scheduled for October 10-12 is sponsored by Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity.
Joining Dr. Carlson as conference speakers are New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, Rod Dreher, Senior Editor at The American Conservative, John Stonestreet, President of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview and BreakPoint Radio Host and Russell D. Moore, President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the public-policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). A number of other distinguished individuals will also be speaking at the conference.
European Court of Human Rights Considering Cases to Redefine Parenthood
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has embarked upon a dangerous slippery slope by agreeing to decide a host of cases involving reproduction where various plaintiffs demand that new rights be granted them concerning children. According to Gregor Puppinck, Director General of the European Centre for Law and Justice, the cases collectively further separate sex, procreation and parenthood and lead to the erasure of the biological family as a reference of social norms.
In one case, a woman demands the right to be artificially inseminated with the sperm of her dead partner, in contravention with French law providing that assisted reproduction is only allowed for couples who are alive. In another case, a biological female who identifies as a transgender man, has given birth to a child and complains that she is listed as the child’s mother and not the father. Two German lesbians complain that the partner of the woman who gave birth does not benefit from a “presumption of motherhood,” unlike men in heterosexual couples who benefit from a presumption of paternity. Meanwhile, two Austrian lesbians complain of appearing as “Mother / Parent” and “Father / Parent” on the birth certificate of a child conceived and carried by one of them and adopted by the other. They each want to be “mother” or “parent” on the child’s birth certificate in order to erase any biological differentiation. Two other cases seek to force Poland to register same-sex persons as parents of the same child. Finally, in three other cases, couples complain of France’s refusal to recognize them as mothers, on the grounds that they have not given birth and have no biological relationship to the children. Instead the women entered into contracts paying surrogates to give birth for them abroad in violation of French law.