19 Jul Creating Public Policy to Strengthen Family
Creating Public Policy to Strengthen Family
Posted by Carol Soelberg | July 19 , 2007
Dear Friends of the Family,
I am an optimist! I believe in the innate goodness of humanity. It thrills me to hear faith and hope in the family expressed from an international voice, for it is an echo of my own voice. Such was the case last week as I attended the World Family Policy Forum, in Utah.
Forty-nine United Nations delegates and government leaders from around the world gathered to discuss recent social science research regarding the family’s place in human society. This research relates to the important work of leadership and governance in promoting national development and well-being among citizens and families. I left the forum with an empowering desire to create public policy that strengthens the family and that in so doing we will be on the road to reducing human suffering.
A major theme of the forum was that a return to the principles set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is necessary to “achieving social development without losing our families.” Written in 1948, this document was one of the earliest writings of the founders of the United Nations. These men and women had just survived two world wars and they were painfully aware of what is most destructive to society. They knew that to protect liberty we must protect those intrinsic and absolute values relating to life, family, marriage and parental responsibilities. They carefully defined the family as the “natural and fundamental group unit of society,” and stated that it must receive “protection by society and the State.” The declaration also establishes that “the right of men and women of marriageable age to marry and to found a family shall be recognized”; and that “motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance.” Additionally, the declaration recognizes the need to protect the responsibility of parents in the upbringing of their children. That right is assured with these words: parents have “a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.”
Dr. Richard Wilkins, the former UFI Defend Marriage project leader, and currently managing director of The Doha International Institute for Family Studies and Development, in Doha, Qatar, speculated on how the founders of the U.N. would respond to the loss of concern for the family:
“I believe the great men and women who founded the United Nations System…would be genuinely dismayed that the fundamental group unit they established as the necessary foundation for peace and social progress has been ignored, criticized and (perhaps) fatally deconstructed. Nevertheless, in the first decade of this new millennium, there is indeed reason for hope.”
The hope that Dr. Wilkins gives is three-fold:
First, the great religions of the world share a common understanding of the natural family;
Second, this shared understanding is supported by an enormous amount of social science evidence; and
Third, by returning to the principles drafted in the UDHR, we will not only strengthen the family, but bring to pass the promise of worldwide peace.
This is indeed the desire and mission of United Families International — to secure a safe future for the family. My commitment to protect and strengthen families, both as a person and as the president of this organization, was bolstered through my participation in the World Family Policy Forum. Through organizations and as individuals, we must work to that end. I believe it can and must be done. For it is in the strength of individual families that national strength exists. I want to invite you to do two things:
Study the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a standard for establishing public policy regarding the family; and
Consider volunteering to join a UFI international policy team and attend a conference at the United Nations next year. We will train you to be an effective member of our team. For those who are interested, please fill out our application form and forward it to us. Feel free to contact me for information on United Nations conferences.
Thank you for your continued support of the great work of securing a future for the family.
Carol Soelberg, President
United Families International