The latest gathering of the premier international family convention has just finished in Sydney, Australia, and it was a raging success. The WCF has become the most important event on the pro-family calendar, and the latest meeting just finished again demonstrates why this is such an invaluable gathering.
Started by American social commentator and family expert Dr Allan Carlson, the Congress was first held in Prague in 1997. Five other major events were held between that initial congress and the one just completed. Geneva, Mexico City, Warsaw, Amsterdam and Madrid were the venues, and a number of regional conferences have also been held.
In Sydney some 600 eager delegates were able to spend three full days listening to numerous authorities on family, marriage and related issues. Along with Dr Carlson were other international keynote speakers such as Patrick Fagan, Bradford Wilcox, Janice Shaw Crouse, Steve Mosher, Miriam Grossman, Ian Grant, Ted Baehr, and Bob McCoskrie.
Australian keynote speakers included Ian Harper, George Pell, Peter Elliot, John Anderson and Patrick Parkinson. Over 100 other speakers were on hand, including Sharon Slater, William May, Warwick Marsh, Rabbi Shimon Cowen, Paige Patterson, David Phillips, Miranda Devine, David van Gend, John Ballantyne and Bob Day.
The theme of this WCF was “Happy Families, Healthy Economy: A New Vision for National Prosperity and Social Progress.” One speaker after another demonstrated how the well-being of families leads directly to the well-being of nations. Healthy, functioning families make for healthy, functioning societies, while broken families result in broken economies and broken countries.
A wealth of data, fact and evidence was marshalled, along with inspiring stories and testimonials. Numerous other marriage and family topics were covered, including:
– The Causes and Cost of Family Breakdown
– What Families Are Best for the Economy?
– Philosophical Roots of the Cultural Revolution
– Secular Humanism and Family Values
– Demographic Winter
– The Impact on Children of Legalising “Same-Sex Marriage”
– Economic and Social Costs of Abortion
– Healing Post-Abortion Trauma
– Work of the Home: A True Profession
– AIDS Prevention through Strengthening Families
– Marriage as an Instrument of Human Development
– The Pornography Industry
– and Reaching the Next Generation with a Pro-Family Message
A conference dinner featured the world-renowned photographer Ken Duncan and his work. After these very full three days, the 600 present left revived, reinvigorated and enthused about standing tall in the defence of marriage and family.
Yet incredibly there were some who did not even want this conference to go ahead. For example, Alex Greenwich, NSW member for Sydney and Chairperson of Australian Marriage Equality, actually wanted the conference to be monitored for “hate speech”.
WCF Managing Director Lawrence Jacobs said, “Perhaps, it is Mr. Greenwich who should be monitored for possible human rights violations for imposing a radical, secular worldview that privileges a few adults at the expense of the natural family and the rights of children to be raised by a married mother and a father in their own home.
“The definition of the natural family derives from the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) adopted in 1948 and binding on all United Nations member states of the world. The UDHR states (Article 16:3), ‘the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the state.’
“This is the human rights basis and inspiration for our use of the term ‘natural family’ and the WCF mission to provide sound scholarship and effective strategies to affirm and defend the natural family, thus renewing a stable and free society.”
Jacobs also said of the history of WCF, “In all of that time, no elected official has ever been successful in censoring a Congress for our expression of support for the natural family and the presentation of research, ideas, and solutions to our modern-day economic and social problems. In Amsterdam on the third day of WCF V, left-wing newspapers which disagreed with us, actually defended our right to be in the city and present our research and ideas to help children and families.”
Nonetheless protestors did come to the Sydney conference, seeking to disrupt things, but the police did a good job of keeping them at bay. But just imagine: actually protesting the family. One might as well target a conference extolling the advantages of breathing, or eating. Just think if those topics were attacked as being intolerant, bigoted and judgmental.
The very fact that we have to put on international conferences to defend and promote marriage and family shows just how far we have degenerated as a society. Up until recently, everyone simply enjoyed and did family, as we simply eat and breathe.
But today we actually have to justify why we think family is good, and marriage an honourable estate. Our topsy-turvy world now celebrates and encourages attacks on marriage and family, while regarding the upholding of these historic social institutions as somehow being a bigoted and hateful thing.
As long as this climate of moral inversion and mental mushiness persists, then conferences such as this will always be needed. As G K Chesterton once wrote, “This triangle of truisms, of father, mother and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilisations which disregard it.”
Until sanity returns to the West, and family is once again regarded as the supreme good, and a blessing unequalled, we will have need for such conferences. Long may the World Congress of Families prosper. Thanks again Dr Carlson and others for bringing it about.
And the Australian team, led by Mary-Louise Fowler, which was responsible for putting on this invaluable conference, must also be heartily congratulated. It was an outstanding event, and the conference team did a superlative job.
However, if you are now feeling a bit let down because you missed out on the conference, you can always join us again next year. See you in Moscow, September 10-12, 2014.