Here is Angela’s summary of Day 01 from the World Congress of Families being held in Sydney, Australia.
Greetings from down under!
Hundreds of the world’s best and brightest pro-family scholars, religious leaders, anthropologists, sociologists, educators, doctors, policy makers, government officials and legal minds have converged in Sydney, Australia for the World Congress of Families. Their goals include presenting powerful data and discussion to help further defending, preserving and maintaining the family as the fundamental building block of society. It’s about shifting key debates surrounding preserving and maintaining the natural family unit.
Because I am so grateful for the opportunity to attend and because I want everyone to experience it and learn from these incredible people, I’m obtaining video and website link to all the presentations and will be sharing it as soon as it is available. Trust me, you will want to pour over them and share them. They are outstanding!
Here are some brief recaps of the speakers and interviews I have done so far at WCF Day 1. It’s approaching midnight here in Sydney, so I hope my notes are reasonably coherent. ☺
My initial impression was that this is a gathering of righteous people who are fearless in defending faith and family. There is power in this Congress and it is tangible and real. One thing that became immediately apparent was the caliber of the presenters. They are sharp, educated, articulate and powerful public speakers. The media tends to show a very different picture of those who have strong religious and pro-family belief. Far too often they paint them as uneducated, inarticulate, redneck bible thumpers (for lack of better terms). This is what the media would have us believe but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The World Congress is about children and the future of the family. Essentially, this is a “family of families” and a fight for the family. We can’t do it alone and this is why WCF is so critical.
Allan Carlson, founder of World Congress of Families, talked about the debates in the UN about the nature of the family and said that “The WCF envisions a culture of marriage where young women are growing into wives, homemakers and mothers. Where young men are growing to be husbands, homebuilders and fathers.”
Honorable Greg Smith, Attorny General of NSW Australia: “Thank you for not avoiding a discussion about the more controversial and difficult topics!”
A fascinating speech was given by Konstantin Malofeev of Russia (bio forthcoming). He talked about Communism and the huge advances Russia has made towards Christianity. 30 years ago, Christians from the West helped Russia out of Communism and out of a culture of erasing God and religion from their life. Now, the tables have turned. The Western culture is in the process of erasing God and religious belief out of life. Ironically, Russia is becoming more pro-family and pro-religion. “Like the Christians 30 yrs ago that helped us overcome Communism, now it is our turn to give back to you and help you with family and Christianity.” (His speech was powerful and emotional—wait for the video!)
Dr. Ian Harper, Australia’s best known economist: “I’m a well known economist but more importantly, I’m a husband, father and grandfather.” “Healthy families are essential to healthy economies. Where economies struggle, look at the structure and nature of the breakdown of the family.”
Bradford Wilcox, Director of the National Marriage Project and Sociologist: Fascinating presentation! Kids thrive on stability and two parent homes. Strong families are due to strong fathers and mothers in the home. But it is the father in the home that really makes the difference for the success of his children educationally. The value of two parent families are contingent upon the father and how engaged he is.
Honorable John Anderson, former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and religious leader: Why isn’t the pro-family, pro-religious movement gaining more traction? What can each of us do when we return to our communities to affect change? Why is it so difficult to affect change? The breakdown of the family is essentially the breakdown of truths and absolutes. There is self-obsession in the name of equality. We’ve lost the sense of what we traditionally believe as true/false and right/wrong. Our young people need to be better educated in morals! We’re losing our ability to engage in sound debates. You MUST believe in truth and believe that one outcome is better than the other (i.e. man/woman = marriage). If you have bad debates in government, you will get bad public policy. Society has forsaken absolute truth and we are struggling to have a reasoned debate with the other side.
What can we do together?
- Recommit and remodel our own commitment to absolute truth. How can we expect deep committed relationships in our children if the world around them doesn’t honor commitment? We must be a model of commitment for the rising generation.
- Engage in reasoned debate. Commit to a higher standard of analysis. Respectfully engage with the other side. Use personal stories of how marriage affects you, how divorce affected you, etc. Real stories by real people = trust. Don’t forget to honestly showcase personal stories by people affected by family breakdown. Often they may not want to share but they need to be encouraged so that we can have personal and real stories to show why marriage matters and what affect divorce etc. has on the children.
- Remember who we’re fighting for: CHILDREN.
We need to muster all the commitment we have and see it as a challenge but not overwhelming or all consuming/depressing.
WOW!!! Thank you so much Angela for sharing with us! There is something each of us can do to defend the family starting in our own homes taking care of our own families. What a great plethora of information to have at our fingertips to help us.