03 Jan Reflections and Projections on Family and the United Nations
Reflections and Projections on Family and the United Nations
January 3, 2007
In ancient Rome when its legionaries went to war, they marched via the city’s magnificent Forum and passed through a particular portal decorated with the image of the god Janus, depicted as a head with two faces on opposite sides. The soldiers must have been impressed with a sense of their own mission to see that Janus was looking not only back — at Rome’s past accomplishments — but also forward to what these men would go forth and achieve for the glory of the Empire. It likewise seems appropriate that as our important work at the United Nations enters this New Year, we pause to both reflect and project.
The United Nations declared in 1948 that “the family is the natural and fundamental unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.” (Universal Declaration of Human Rights 16.3.) But things have changed mightily–not with the timeless and bedrock importance of the family, but within the United Nations. For as emphasized by no less a scholar than Patrick Fagan of the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., “agencies within the United Nations system are involved in a campaign to undermine the foundations of society; the two-parent married family, religions that espouse the primary importance of marriage and traditional sexual morality, and the legal and social structures that protect these institutions.”
Looking back, United Families International has been at the forefront in protecting and preserving the family in that battle. What we have accomplished has been nearly miraculous and often against great odds. In numerous U.N. conferences, we have played an important role in providing legal and strategic expertise in helping to block dangerous language that would have promoted policies encroaching on parental control, attacking traditional marriage, promoting promiscuity and abortion, precluding religions from preaching against homosexuality, and in various other ways undermining the traditional family.
Over the years, we have built a powerful network based on trusted relationships with key delegates, ambassadors and officials, and we have worked in the inner circle of strategic and legal decisions impacting the outcome of major U.N. documents. And our ” U.N. Negotiating Guide ” has been referred to as the “Bible” of the pro-family cause because of its depth of resources. It is widely hailed as the most important and influential tool used to defend families at the United Nations. Our list of successes and victories at the U.N. is a long one.
But our opponents are neither giving up nor abating their efforts. For the first time in history, a U.N. treaty document now includes the phrase “reproductive and sexual rights” — language that U.N. agencies (wrongly) interpret as a mandate to force third world countries to make abortion freely available to adolescents, regardless of parental knowledge or consent. Meanwhile, the U.N. recently diverted from its own protocol and, blatantly ignoring the recommendations of its accreditation committee, granted accreditation status to several aggressive gay and lesbian organizations, which will now have a voice in the negotiating process at U.N. conferences.
Such threats are more than academic. The effect of U.N. documents and policies is real and devastating in a variety of ways around the world. Third world countries, for example, are being forced to offer their youth both condoms and abortion services. And in parts of the globe where culture and constitution still protect life and family values, our opponents are furiously attempting to overturn such protection by means of litigation invoking the language of U.N. documents. This happened recently in the South American country of Colombia, where its Supreme Court was told that norms created in United Nations documents were binding on Colombia. The Court listened and changed its laws. The Colombian fiasco is but one part of a concerted campaign to overturn the pro-life, pro-family culture and constitutions of all of Latin America, as we are now being informed by our Latin American colleagues.
But the damage to families is not just beyond our borders, explains Ellen Sauerbrey, assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of State. For years, she has been at the forefront of women’s and family issues in the international arena, formerly as U.S. ambassador to the U.N.’s Commission on the Status of Women, and now as head of the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration. “We don’t dare ignore what is going on in the United Nations,” she warns, because the outcomes “have the ability to have a profound impact on us.”
Impact indeed: the United States Supreme Court decision that opened the door wide for same-sex “marriage” — Lawrence v. Texas — cited international decisions and trends allowing and promoting homosexuality. Not long after the Lawrence decision, the Massachusetts high court became the first in the country to legalize same-sex “marriage.” And with that in place, the Massachusetts schools were emboldened to begin aggressively indoctrinating the minds of their students that homosexuality was good and must not be spoken against. As I recently heard Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney tell, when one Massachusetts father sought to withdraw his daughter from class to avoid hearing a story about “the Prince and the Prince,” the father was told he had no right to withdraw his daughter!
Looking around us, we see the tide rapidly rising against the traditional family and the values that uphold it. And looking ahead, we see that to preserve the family will take a colossal and concerted effort on the part of those who believe in families.
As we now enter the season of highest activity in the United Nations, the experience and expertise of United Families International is needed more than ever. Having myself previously served on UFI teams that have labored in the U.N., I know from personal experience the pivotal difference we make. I urge you to do all within your means to support this critical work. We need your help! This is a battle we must not, we dare not, lose. At stake is literally the future of families worldwide, including yours and mine.