Special Report: The Geneva Declaration

As part of its ongoing mission to unite and equip leaders worldwide to promote the natural family, the International Organization for the Family is also the parent organization of the World Congress of Families, an international gathering of pro-family scholars, politicians, NGOs, and friends which has been ongoing now for over 20 years. To date, there have been thirteen meetings of the World Congress of Families, with the most recent having taken place in Verona, Italy, in 2019. The second Congress was held in Geneva in November of 1999. It was a significant meeting in many ways, not least of which was the publication of the Geneva Declaration. The Declaration is now over 20 years old, and yet, it was almost prescient in its treatment of topics that are still shaping public discourse around issues of family today. Its principles suggest the language that could be used and adapted for constitutional purposes. ~The Editors Our Purpose We assemble in this World Congress, from many national, ethnic, cultural, social and religious communities, to affirm that the natural human family is established by the Creator and essential to good society. We address ourselves to all people of good will who, with the majority of the world’s people, value the natural family. Ideologies of statism, individualism and sexual revolution, today challenge the family’s very legitimacy as an institution. Associated with this challenge are the problems of divorce, devaluation of parenting, declining family time, morally relativistic public education, confusions over sexual identity, promiscuity, sexually transmitted diseases, abortion, poverty, human trafficking, violence against women, child abuse, isolation of the elderly, excessive taxation and below-replacement fertility. To defend the family and to guide public policy and cultural norms, this Declaration asserts principles that respect and uphold the vital roles that the family plays in society. The Family and Society The natural family is the fundamental social unit, inscribed in human nature, and centered on the voluntary union of a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage. The natural family is defined by marriage, procreation and, in some cultures, adoption. Free, secure and stable families that welcome children are necessary for healthy society. The society that abandons the natural family as the norm is destined for chaos and suffering. The loving family reaches out in love and service to their communities and those in need. All social and cultural institutions should respect and uphold the rights and responsibilities of the family. The Family and Marriage The cornerstone of healthy family life, marriage brings security, contentment, meaning, joy and spiritual maturity to the man and woman who enter this lifelong covenant with unselfish commitment. In marriage, both husband and wife commit to a life of mutual love, respect, support and compassion. Spousal conflicts that can a
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