"Home educators, in my estimation, are on the front line of family reconstruction." —Allan Carlson, General Secretary
The World Congress of Families convened in Prague, Czech Republic, March 19—22, 1997. Michael Farris was invited to speak, and he joined representatives from over 21 nations to explore common sources of family decay and define the social and economic settings which most encourage families to flourish.
The World Congress of Families was called in response to the 1994 United Nations "Year of the Family" and was sponsored by The Rockford Institute (USA).
After four days of thought-provoking presentations and discussions, the World Congress on Families issued a strong declaration from the families of the nations to the governments of the globe. The declaration lays out the proper relationship between the family and the state and urges governments to uphold this relationship as the best way to promote healthy families—the foundation of every nation's government and society.
Currently, the World Congress of Families is distributing the statement to national governments. In the United States, the statement is being sent to every state governor, President Clinton, the Chief Justice, the Speaker of the House, and key congressional leaders.
When asked how interested citizens could support these efforts, Allan Carlson, president of The Rockford Institute and General Secretary of the World Congress of Families, suggested taking the statement to state and local government officials—both those who are friendly to the family and those who are unfriendly.
"Ask the city council to affirm the declaration, or the state legislature to pass a resolution endorsing it," Carlson said. "There are political and cultural things that individuals can do to restore the family, but the most important is each family growing: in both biological and functional forms. This means through new members and in the activities that the family circle encompasses. Home educators, in my estimation, are on the front line of family reconstruction.
"In a world that says population growth is evil, the World Congress on Families is attempting to raise the flag and say, 'No in fact the opposite is true: there is a greater danger in having too few children, not too many.' The world says the family is an antiquated system. This is not true and we are raising a banner to say that the family is a fundamental institution and it must do more than it's doing now if society has any hope for the future."
World Congress of Families
WHEREAS we the delegates at this World Congress of Families place our trust in God and His Guidance in our deliberations; and
WHEREAS the delegates at this Congress have come together from all parts of the globe recognizing the present profound world crisis as is demonstrated by the decline of families in many countries both as the prime social unit and as the greatest contributor to the well-being, stability and moral values in those countries; and
WHEREAS Marxist and totalitarian regimes have intruded into and diminished family life preventing its normal operation and functions; and
WHEREAS in many democratic countries, cultural revolutions, materialism and sexual permissiveness have resulted in a destruction and denigration of moral values, thereby producing hedonistic societies in which extramarital relationships, adultery and divorce proliferate, leading to widespread abortion, illegitimacy and single-parent children; and
WHEREAS the United Nations, its N.G.O.s and agents, have pursued dangerous philosophies and policies that require population control, limitation of family size, abortion on demand, sterilization of men and women and have sought to persuade Third World countries to adopt such policies; and
WHEREAS this world crisis now involves well-recognized demographic implosions which, if unchecked, will ultimately lead to the extinction of entire nations and their cultures; and
WHEREAS those policies of Marxism, neo-Marxism, totalitarian welfare states and economic consumer capitalism which have forced mothers into the work force, have thereby deprived children of the proper benefits of full and continuous maternal care; and
WHEREAS the structures and family policies of modern societies (including their taxation systems) tend to weaken family life and discriminate against large families; and
WHEREAS we recognize and pay tribute to those developing nations which, despite poverty and economic hardship, have retained strong family-centered systems; and
WHEREAS we, the delegates at this Congress, realize the that the need to confront these problems has become a matter of extreme urgency; therefore
WE DECLARE the family to be a man and a woman bound in a lifelong covenant of marriage, as ordained by God, for the purpose of (1) providing support, protection, love and companionship for both husband and wife; (2) satisfying of male/female sexuality; (3) welcoming and nurturing of children; and (4) the continuation of the human race; and
WE DECLARE the natural family holds fixed characteristics rooted in human nature. The complementary nature of men and women is rooted in the psychological and physical differences between the sexes. The love of parents for their children, also rooted in human nature, uniquely qualifies parents to rear their own young. Children, for their part, innately long for a direct bond with their parents in whom they place their trust. Parents and their children constitute a unique natural community that is necessary to human spiritual, moral and intellectual development; and
WE DECLARE that the family is the first social unit, and it holds primacy over all man made communities, economic entities and governments; and
WE DECLARE that the family is the most important of all social units and holds primacy above all governments, institutions, the United Nations and other communities and that political theories and systems which place governments, their officials, institutions or other communities in a position of supremacy over the family are to be condemned and opposed. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 (and Amendments) recognize as inviolable the rights of families, parents and children to protection from state intrusion; and
WE DECLARE that all political theories and systems which elevate "the state" or a social class or "the collective will" to a position of supremacy are to be deplored and condemned; and
WE DECLARE that those philosophies which elevate the abstract "individual" thereby encouraging social fragmentation, are to be deplored. Radical individualism, often thought to expand liberty, has instead resulted in the consequent loss of liberty; and
WE DECLARE that many methods of reproductive bio-technology, such as gene manipulation, in vitro fertilization and cloning, can threaten marriage, the family, morality and religion; and
WE DECLARE that policies which undermine the family erode the bedrock of society, thereby undermining the very source of their own authority. Such policies include:
—subverting the legal and religious status of traditional marriage;
—using population control and abortion as vehicles of state policy for any social, economic, political or other reason;
—establishing policies that create gender or generational war, setting husband against wife, wife against husband or child(ren) against parent(s);
—maintaining state school systems that focus education on state ends and neglect or oppose parental rights and responsibilities;
—providing state welfare systems that undermine intact families and discourage the presence of fathers and imposing coercive tax policies that force both parents to work full time outside the home;
—funding and promoting contraception, abortifacients and sterilization programs that promote immoral behavior;
—funding or promoting those sex education/indoctrination programs that have been shown to increase promiscuity, sexually-transmitted disease, unwanted pregnancy, illegitimacy and teen-age pregnancy;
—creating state policies that give encouragement to non-marital cohabitation, homosexual unions and single-parenting as the norm in society.
WE DECLARE that communities in harmony with human nature exhibit common traits in custom and law that include:
—recognition of religion as a common, necessary foundation of family life;
—affirmation of marriage as a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman and the only legitimate province for sexual intimacy;
—recognition that there is no profession that has a higher status than motherhood;
—encouragement of the extended family as a source of added security and continuity for humanity;
—celebration of the conception and birth of children;
—welcome of large families;
—respect for the dignity of human life from conception to natural death;
—respect for the distinctive traits of manhood and womanhood as biologically determined and not as socially constructed;
—respect for the right of families to ownership of private property, productive land, shelter and capital;
—encouragement for family businesses and enterprises without interference or state intrusion;
—recognition that husband and wife have the sole responsibility for deciding the size of their family using non-abortifacient, morally acceptable natural family planning;
—recognition that a fundamental biological need of infants and small children is the full attention of their mothers with fathers also having shared parental responsibilities;
—encouragement of an economic climate and taxation policies in which the family wage may prevail, thereby allowing parents, especially mothers, to take full care of their own children;
—recognition of the social value of marriage and the value of the presence of dependent children and aged parents in the home; and
—proscriptions against the commercialization of sexuality and the promotion of promiscuity and pornography.
WE DECLARE that there is eternal hope arising from the knowledge that the destruction of human family relationships can never be complete; that love and mutual aid between family members are among the strongest of innate human motives and spring up in each generation; and that, while many persons in our age have been confused or misled, we can yet celebrate that so many yearn for the restoration of the family to its central place in natural and loving communities.
TOWARDS THESE ENDS
WE CALL on all governments and the United Nations to promote policies supportive of the traditional family. WE DEDICATE ourselves and our organizations to creating and sustaining communities that will protect and support family life. WE PLEDGE to establish ongoing structures of cooperation and communication that will defend the entity of the family and all its members in the millennium ahead.