The ultimate foundation of every civilization — IOF News — September 12, 2019
IOF News — The ultimate foundation of every civilization
The International Organization for the Family (IOF) is hard at work preparing for the opening of the 74th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations next week. A week later, the UN’s High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development will commence. Doug Clark, IOF’s Director of UN and International Policy, is leading our work, along with an incredible team. We’ve prepared a statement on the upcoming UN events and distributed it to 193 ambassadors to help set a tone for the upcoming deliberations. Doug writes about this in an article below in which he echoes the words of historian Will Durant that the family is, “the ultimate foundation of every civilization known to history.”
Meanwhile, we are also working hard along with partners on the critical upcoming WCF Africa Regional Conference in Accra, Ghana, which is set for October 31st and November 1st. Please read the article below about the upcoming conference. I urge all our supporters to attend this important conference, which promises to be the largest pro—family conference ever held in Africa.
This edition of our newsletter also reports on a number of other developments around the world of interest to the pro-family community. Many of them involve strong IOF allies and sponsors. I hope you will check out all the articles. In particular, I direct your attention to the critically-important effort to urge the US Supreme Court to reject claims by LGBT activists that federal law barring discrimination based on sex also covers claims of discrimination based on “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” Many pro-family groups and IOF partners have filed legal briefs in the cases before the court. The cases will be argued in a few weeks.
The International Organization for the Family (IOF) is proud of our work around the world to promote and protect the family and to advocate for timeless family values. We depend on individual supporters for the resources needed to conduct our critical programs. We 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 – the winds of change are indeed blowing in our direction – 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 is 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 IOF and the worldwide pro-family movement!
By E. Douglas Clark, Director of UN and International Policy
As part of IOF’s worldwide program to unite and empower leaders to promote the natural family, and in preparation for our upcoming work at the United Nations, we have provided the following statement to over 193 ambassadors and their missions in New York:
As the 74th session of the General Assembly opens on September 17 and the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development is held September 24-25, we at the International Organization for the Family (IOF) applaud last year’s UNGA resolution 73/144 entitled “Follow-up to the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family and beyond,” which, inter alia, “Encourages Member States to continue to enact inclusive and responsive family-oriented policies for poverty reduction…” It is an affirmation of the truth declared to the General Assembly at the 10th anniversary of the International Year of the Family: “The attainment of every Millennium Development Goal must begin with the family. The family is the main instrument of societal transformation” (Bangladesh Ambassador Iftekhar Chowdhury). To help facilitate that process, IOF offers its acclaimed book Family Capital and the SDGs: Implementing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, available in the UN Library and also online.
But the influence of the family goes far beyond its role in sustainable development. “The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society,” proclaims the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in a provision echoed in over a hundred national constitutions (see our World Family Declaration). Perhaps most notable is the 2011 constitution of Hungary acknowledging that the nation’s decades-long deprivation of self-determination beginning in 1944 “led to a state of moral decay” and “an abiding need for spiritual and intellectual renewal,” which could be brought about only by strengthening the family: “We hold that the family and the nation constitute the principal framework of our coexistence, and that our fundamental cohesive values are fidelity, faith, and love…. Hungary shall protect the institution of marriage as the union of a man and a woman established by voluntary decision, and the family as the basis of the nation’s survival.” (Preamble; Article L(1).)
As part of its family-based national renewal, in 2017 Hungary partnered with IOF in its World Congress of Families XI in Budapest, and declared, “The family is the basic, natural, living unit of the nation, upon which every community and the nation itself is founded. The wellbeing of the family is the key to the nation’s future quality of life. The family is the national, European, and global common ground which we have to protect with utmost care.”
It is the kind of care envisaged by the United Nations in its Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 16(3)—“the family… is entitled to protection by society and the State”—and in its International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, article 10.1: “The widest possible protection and assistance should be accorded to the family.” Failure to do so can be catastrophic, observed former UN ambassador Michael Novak: “Throughout history, nations have been able to survive a multiplicity of disasters—invasions, famines, earthquakes, epidemics, depressions—but they have never been able to survive the disintegration of the family.”
As this year’s General Assembly grapples with increasingly daunting challenges from around the world, we urge delegates to look first to what historian Will Durant called “the ultimate foundation of every civilization known to history,” namely, the family. As we stated in our World Family Declaration, “We affirm the ancient wisdom that the world cannot be put in order without first putting in order the family,” and “urge citizens, leaders, and people of influence everywhere to place as their highest priority the protection and strengthening of the family as the irreplaceable foundation of civilization and our only hope for prosperity, peace, and progress.”
African Regional Congress This Fall
IOF’s World Congress of Families (WCF) is 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 the 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.
Attendees will have an opportunity to learn about current trends and gain an in-depth knowledge about the forces opposed to the natural family, and the dire consequences of what opposition to traditional families will have on peace, progress and development. They will receive critical information on pro-life laws and policies that can be pursued. They will be able to network with and learn from some of the top pro-family experts in the world. And they will have the opportunity to forge lasting relationships with other pro-life, pro-family leaders which can pay dividends for years to come.
Report Details Declining Fertility Rate in New Zealand
Family First New Zealand, an IOF partner, has issued an important new report documenting New Zealand’s declining fertility rate, which has now reached an all-time low. New Zealand’s total fertility rate has dropped to an average of 1.71 children per woman in New Zealand, well below population replacement level.
Report author Lindsay Mitchell says, “In the past, government policy could positively affect the size of families. The Universal Family Benefit strongly influenced peak fertility in 1961 when women had an average of 4.3 children. But as females have become better educated and increased their work force participation, more have chosen to have fewer or no children. Economic pressures like student debt and insecure employment play a role. And now they face additional pressure from environmentalists. Meanwhile, policy interventions appear less and less effective.”
While calling the decision to have children a highly personal matter, the report raises key concerns that falling fertility means for the nation. “Without population replacement or growth, economies decline. A nation’s strength lies in its young: their energy, innovation, risk-taking and entrepreneurship. The new blood drives the exchange of ideas and experimentation. If these attributes aren’t home-grown, they have to be imported. At an individual level, single person households are the fastest growing household type in New Zealand. Increasingly people face old-age with few or no family supports. These are just some of the big picture considerations New Zealanders need to be thinking and talking about.”
US Supreme Court To Decide If Courts or Commissions Can Redefine Anti-discrimination Laws
Three critical cases are pending before the US Supreme Court in which LGBT activists are seeking to redefine the term “sex” under federal law to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” Title VII precludes discrimination on the basis of sex and several other categories. For decades, the LGBT community has sought to broaden federal law by urging Congress to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as a basis for pursuing legal claims alleging discrimination based on sex. Such claims can arise in many different contexts including employment. But Congress has consistently declined to include sexual orientation and gender identity in Title VII’s definition of sex discrimination.
Having failed to enact their agenda through the proper legislative process – by a vote of elected representatives in Congress – LGBT activists have turned to illegitimate avenues to impose their will, including the courts and administrative agencies and departments during the Obama era.
At the center of their effort to redefine anti-discrimination law is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission which ruled that Title VII already prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, despite Congress’ refusal to do so directly. Some courts have relied on this EEOC ruling to find that federal law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity while other courts have not found this. The Supreme Court will hear oral argument on the cases on October 8th.
A number of IOF allies have filed legal briefs in these cases, including our partner organization, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). NOM’s legal brief is straight-forward and compelling, cutting to the heart of the matter: “The basic policy determination to expand such laws to new contexts and new classifications is a power our Constitution assigns to the Congress, not to unelected and largely unaccountable bureaucrats and not even to the courts… Congress has declined to expand Title VII to include classifications based on sexual orientation or gender identity, despite numerous efforts over decades to amend the law in just the manner plaintiffs in these cases have sought to accomplish by judicial ruling. That should be the end of the matter.”
The Alliance Defending Freedom represents one of the defendants, a family funeral home, that is accused of discrimination for refusing the demand of a male employee to present himself to grieving families dressed as a woman. The man claims he has assumed a female “gender identity.”
South Africa Doctor Faces Charges For Saying A Fetus Is A Human Being
A pro-life doctor in South Africa is facing charges for telling a patient that a fetus is a human being. The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) are hearing a case against a doctor, Jacques de Vos, who is facing charges of unprofessional conduct and has been prohibited from practicing medicine due to his views on abortion, according to Sowetan Live.
In December 2016, the physician discussed the nature of pregnancy and abortion with a patient and during the consultation reportedly told her that a fetus was a human being. Catherine Robinson, a spokesperson for Right To Life UK said: “This case is nothing short of incredible. That a foetus is human is a well established scientific fact and to claim otherwise demonstrates a complete failure to grasp basic human biology.”
UK Experts Warn That Children Are Being Misled By Transgender Books; Transgender Children Risk ‘Serious And Irreversible Damage’
Two separate experts in the UK have issued warnings to the public that children are being misled and harmed by those seeking to normalize transgenderism.
Dr Susan Matthews, an honorary senior researcher at Roehampton University, analyzed a series of books that are circulated in British schools and found that much of the information given about medical transition is “inaccurate”, adding that “potential harms are ignored, glossed over or falsified”.
Separately, a leading psychiatrist has warned that transgender children who undergo medical or surgical treatments risk “serious and irreversible damage.” Dr David Bell, a consultant psychiatrist at The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, said that critical discussion about the phenomenon of transgenderism and gender dysphoria has been “shut down” by activists and accuses lobby groups of “silencing debate”.