The World Congress of Families VII is opening in a few days in Sydney, Australia, and if the reaction of a local politician is any indication, attendees have their work cut out for them just to explain that they support families, want the best for society, encourage good government and desire high standards.
That’s after Australian Member of Parliament Alex Greenwich became so agitated at the thought of family advocates meeting on Australian soil that he wrote to authorities in New South Wales and demanded that the meetings be monitored.
He suggested that could be “heretical” ideas, and insisted that if anything like that would be found, sanctions would be applied under the state’s “anti-discrimination” law, Congress officials confirmed.
“Is MP Greenwich suggesting that a representative of the Ministry of Tourism stand on stage and stop the speech of any of these distinguished individuals which Greenwich believes violates anti-discrimination laws?” asked Larry Jacobs, conference managing director. “Stalin and other dictators would be proud.
“Pro-family advocates have often expressed concern that these anti-discrimination measures and ‘same-sex’ marriage would be used to stifle dissent and religious freedom,” he continued. “MP Greenwich’s creepy demands seem to confirm those fears.”
The organization’s conference theme this year is “Happy Families, Health Economy: A New Vision for Prosperity and Social Progress,” said Jacobs.
He said it’s a first in the southern Hemisphere, the first in the Asia-Pacific Region, the first in an English-speaking country and the first in a commonwealth country.
He also said it’s the first time conferences have been scheduled in consecutive years. In 2012, the events were in Madrid.
In an interview with WND, Jacobs said the Congress is a project of the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society, and the goal is to assemble a coalition of groups and organizations that will defend the natural family around the globe.
He said organizers have chosen to describe family as a natural family, because the components, a man and woman and father and mother, and children, reflect nature.
“The natural family is best for society,” he said.
So far, his organization has assembled a network that includes contacts in 80 countries.
The Congress is on the front edge of the work to reaffirm and support those family units, which are the building blocks of society, he said.
It works with dozens of other groups in the U.S., Canada, Venezuela, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Poland, Russia, Australia and South Africa.
“These organizations – including groups in the U.S. like Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America, Americans United for Life and Alliance Defending Freedom – representing millions of members, support us financially and promote our projects and activities,” he said.
The meetings come at a time when society is determining whether marriage should be the “natural” man and woman, or whether that should be any random two adults. And at issue is whether children should have a mother and father – or two mothers or two fathers, or some other combination.
Governments in the U.S., Britain, France and New Zealand all recently have moved toward redefining “marriage” to include same-sex duos.
The sanctity of human life also is under attack, with abortion surging many locations.
“These annual Congresses are an opportunity for the international pro-family movement to meet, strategize, get informed and gird themselves for battle in the war of ideas. This is consistent with the mission of the WCF to provide sound scholarship and effective strategies to affirm and defend the natural family, thus renewing a stable and free society,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs said there have been earlier congresses in Prague, Geneva, Mexico City, Warsaw, Amsterdam and Madrid, and he’s not really worried about Greenwich’s fretting.
“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,” Jacobs said.
Among the speakers expected are George Cardinal Pell (8th Metropolitan Archbishop of Sydney), Paige Patterson (president of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, former president of the 16-million member Southern Baptist Convention), Rabbi Dr. Shimon Cowen (director of the Institute for Judaism and Civilization, Melbourne), John Anderson (former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia), Dr. Ted Baehr (founder of MOVIEGUIDE), Allan Carlson (Congress founder) and others.
Sessions will focus on “The Causes and Cost of Family Breakdown,” “Will the Human Family Survive?” ‘Secular Humanism and Family Values,” “Demographic Winter,” “Promoting Families in the Mainstream and Online Media,” and “Reaching the Next Generation.”
Carlson, in a message about the coming conference, said, “When the Declaration of Independence was signed, wise, old Ben Franklin told his fellow delegates to the Second Continental Congress that, in the coming fight for freedom and independence, ‘We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately. … So it is with the fight to preserve marriage and the natural family.”