World Congress of Families Proceeding as Scheduled, but Advance Registration Required
by Maurice McBride, General Secretary, World Congress of Families – Washington, D.C.

As many have already observed, the world changed on September 11, 2001. As the nation, and as the world, struggle to return to normal, it is becoming increasingly apparent that “normal” may not mean what it once did.

So it is that, while the World Congress of Families – Washington, D.C., is most definitely going ahead October 26 and 27 as scheduled (, certain accommodations must be made to satisfy security concerns. For example, no tickets will be sold at the door. Attendees at the Friday night, October 26, Opening Session in the U.S. House of Representatives will have to pass through a metal detector, and should arrive early. Parking on Capitol Hill these days is virtually non-existent; the Capitol South Metro Station is a short walk to the Capitol; and taxicabs in D.C. are not expensive. And should a certain senior executive from the Executive Branch of the Federal Government accept an invitation to attend the Saturday, October 27, General Session in Constitution Hall, additional security measures will be in place there as well.

But in many respects, indeed, in most respects, the world is exactly as it was before, and the worries and concerns, the blessings and the opportunities, are as real as ever. Less than a week after the attacks on New York and the Pentagon, President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke in the Tabernacle to a group of city and county managers from around the world about the great problems which afflict our global society. “The catastrophic events which occurred on Sept. 11 remind us that something is seriously wrong,” he said.

He emphasized that the good and evil in the world today are directly related to how children are raised. “We go to great lengths to preserve historical buildings and sites in our cities. We need to apply the same fervor to preserving and strengthening the most ancient and sacred of institutions — the human family.”

The World Congress of Families – Washington, D.C., is a conference for all persons interested in maintaining and defending the family as the fundamental unit of society. Attendees will hear concrete suggestions as to how we can apply the “fervor” to which President Hinckley refers. A distinguished faculty will offer answers to these and other questions: “The Family in the 21st Century – Can It Survive?” “Mors, Morality, and the Media – What’s A Parent To Do?” “The Family and The United Nations – What Went Wrong? And Now What?” “It Takes A Family To Raise A Child: Countering The Cultural Assault On Children,” and “Beautiful Children, Beautiful Families – The Beautiful Option of Adoption.”

The deadline for the 10% discount on the registration fee of $50 for the regional World Congress of Families has been extended to October 16, and one can save an additional 10% by registering online.

President Hinckley is by no means alone in emphasizing the need for maintaining and strengthening the traditional family. Speakers at the conference from a variety of professions, religions, and countries will address the concerns the Prophet expressed. Among them are Rabbi Daniel Lapin, President of Toward Tradition, a national educational movement of Jews and Christian Americans seeking to advance the nation toward traditional, faith based principles of government, the rule of law, and a moral public culture. His Excellency Mokhtar Lamani is the Permanent Observer to the United Nations for the Organization of Islamic Conference. Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis has introduced legislation in Congress making it easier for families to adopt. Elder Ralph W. Hardy, Jr., Area Authority Seventy, has been asked by the First Presidency to address the conference; his topic is “Male And Female Created He Them — And Blessed Them.”

Another speaker is Dr. Patrick Fagan of the Heritage Foundation, who has done extensive research on the family. He recently wrote, “The data clearly show that growing up in a traditional married family most often results in better health, longevity, happiness, higher levels of educational attainment, stronger work ethics, and more income and lifetime wealth.”

Does the family need strengthening? It does! In 1950, for every 100 children born in the United States, 4 were born out of wedlock, and 8 would see their parents divorce. In other words, 12 of every 100 children would become part of a broken family. By the mid-1990’s, 58 out of every 100 children would enter a broken family.

Sadly, in the United States one-third of every 100 children conceived each year will be aborted, and one-third will be born out of wedlock. Of those are born to married parents, one-half will see their parents divorce before they reach the age of 18.

It is little wonder that Dr. James Dobson, after looking at the statistics in the U.S. Census Report 2000 , was led to say, “This God-ordained institution [of the family], which has prevailed in almost every culture on earth since the Garden of Eden, is unraveling right in front of our eyes.”

Why? For one thing, the family, the traditional family as we know it and as God intended it to be, is under attack. Never in the history of the world have those who are opposed to — can we say it? — the “normal” family been better organized, more well financed, or more successful in their efforts.

You are invited, and you are needed to attend the regional “World Congress of Families – Washington, D.C.,” to learn more about these attacks on the family and what we as parents and as individuals can do about it. It is the year’s most important conference dedicated specifically to maintaining and strengthening the family as the fundamental unit of society.

Consider the following:

The United Nations has announced that the UN General Assembly will conduct a Special Session on Children next year, and will there finalize a UN document which reaffirms principles previously agreed to in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Convention [or Treaty] on the Rights of the Child (or the “CRC”) is described by the UN as “a new concept of separate rights for children with the Government accepting [the] responsibility of protecting the child from the power of parents.”

Like the CRC itself, the declaration for 2002 calls for “reproductive health rights” (which includes abortion counseling and services) for minors — free from parental involvement.

Most countries of the world have already ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and they have already given their approval to the new declaration to be finalized this month. The United States has not.

In his presentation before the 1999 World Congress of Families in Geneva, Elder Bruce Hafen said, “The [Convention on the Rights of the Child] shows how political activists who have lost their arguments in such democratic forums as parliaments and courtrooms have learned to use the UN to exploit the naivet of local governments.”

The Bush Administration has been criticized by some Members of Congress for its reluctance to endorse the proposed declaration prepared for the upcoming UN conference. The previous administration had no such qualms; a future administration may not, either. Strong attendance at events such as the World Congress of Families will help to strengthen our government’s resolve not to be a party to the ill-conceived CRC or international treaties like it.

Perhaps even more important, your attendance at the October 26-27 conference will encourage responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to resist those measures designed to weaken and destroy the family.

Patricia Holland has written, “If I wanted to destroy society, I would launch an all-out blitz on women.” There are, indeed, those who want to destroy society, and the “all-out blitz” is well underway.

For example: The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (or “CEDAW”) is an international treaty which is supposed to promote women’s rights. The UN has a committee which travels the world to ensure that those countries which have ratified the treaty (and most of them have already done so) are implementing it.

Some countries are apparently doing a better job of implementation than others:

The CEDAW Committee’s final report on Belarus dated January 28, 2000, advised the newly independent nation to abolish Mothers Day, as it perpetuates a negative stereotype of women;

In a CEDAW Committee press release of February 1, 1999, the committee advised China it should provide greater economic freedom to women by decriminalizing prostitution.

Please come to the World Congress of Families – Washington, D.C., and learn more about what parents and as individuals can do to counter what Michael Medved (another conference speaker) rightly calls the “cultural assault” on the family.

This much is certain: Attending the conference and learning about the efforts on behalf of the traditional family being made by persons of the Catholic, Protestant, Latter-day Saint, Jewish, and Muslim faiths will lift your spirits and give you a reason for faith, hope, and optimism that, working together, determined families and individuals can bring about a positive change in the policies of institutions having an impact on the family.

Go to now and register for the World Congress of Families – Washington, D.C.

Maurice H. McBride, General Secretary
World Congress of Families – Washington



2001 Meridian Magazine.  All Rights Reserved.