The Family of Faith Today

Shaping the Global Future This essay has been adapted from an address first delivered to an international interfaith conference:“The Family: At the Center of Human Development,” hosted in Manila, the Philippines, on March 27-28, 1999. The editors feel that it still accurately describes the early stirrings of the international pro-family movement, and sets the tone for this new journal title.  A new, unexpected, and historically unprecedented cultural-political movement forms in our time, one born in defense of family-centered religious faith. If we look, the signs are all about us. Example One: In 1985, the British government issued the Swann Report on education and multicultural values. Behind the high-minded modernist rhetoric of multiculturalism, the Report in fact was a direct attack on all religiously grounded cultures, old and new. Relative to the Anglican Church of England, the report called for an end to the teaching of the Christian faith and the practice of Christian worship in the government schools. Toward ethnic and religious minorities, the Swann Report declared that they “may maintain their individual cultures only in so far as they are not in conflict with rationally shared values.” In short, “multiculturalism” really meant aggressive secularism, the denial of parental choice, the destruction of the historic British religious culture, and the disruption of minority religious cultures in Britain, as well. Yet something extraordinary happened: In the face of a new and very modern form of persecution, religious communities long at odds with each other discovered that they had more in common than they had assumed. Most dramatically, the Islamic Academy in Cambridge and the Islamic Cultural Centre in London issued a joint statement exposing the real philosophy and flawed arguments of the Swann Report. At the same time, these Muslim leaders argued that the existing provisions for Christian worship in the schools should be retai
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