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Gifts that Endure

In Families, Meet UFI, Parental Rights, UFI on December 17, 2010 at 10:05 pm

Giving is the very essence of Christmas and the greatest gifts in the world are all about family, for family.  As I reflect on gifts that have made a difference in my life, my thoughts turn not only to my own family, but also to what United Families International is accomplishing for families around the world.

Today, we who love and care for our families often have precious little time or resources for much else. But if we are to preserve our own families, we cannot afford to ignore the harsh reality that families everywhere are under attack, beginning at the highest international level. Noted scholar Patrick Fagan of Family Research Council warns:

“Few Americans are aware that 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.”

What’s at stake

The attack on the family is waged on many levels, spearheaded by powerful and well-funded organizations. Raising the banner of “tolerance” and “rights,” they relentlessly push a shocking social agenda that includes:
*    “gay marriage” with the right of gay couples to adopt and raise children, and public school programs that promote homosexuality to children of all ages
*    abortion as a fundamental human right, universally available regardless of parental consent or knowledge
*    “sexual rights” of all children, including their access to sex education programs that promote promiscuity and homosexuality, and push the distribution of condoms
*    limitations on parental authority to teach and enforce family values, and denigration of the roles of mothers and fathers.

These attacks are especially disturbing in light of the foundational and irreplaceable role of the family throughout history. The ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius–selected by historian Will Durant as the greatest thinker of all time–declared: “To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order.”

This ancient truth continues to be recognized today, as for example in the constitutions of nations around the world that refer to the family as the “basis of society,” “the foundation of society,” or, using other imagery, as “the basic cell” or “basic nucleus.”   These and other interesting variations all recognize the key fact that, as expressed nearly half a century ago by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the family truly is the fundamental unit of society.

I am impressed by the insight expressed in the following words spoken by the U.S. representative to the United Nations General Assembly on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family:

[The] “family is a universal and irreplaceable community, rooted in human nature and the basis for all societies at all times. As the cradle of life and love for each new generation, the family is the primary source of personal identity, self-esteem, and support for children. It is also the first and foremost school of life, uniquely suited to teach children integrity, character, morals, responsibility, service, and wisdom.” (UFI helped draft that language, by the way!)

What this shows is how much is at stake in the battle over the family. Impair or injure or obstruct the family, and you have jeopardized society, civilization, and everything we hold dear.

What you can do

One year on Christmas Eve, a gentleman walked into our office and, without ceremony or fanfare, handed us an envelope containing a major gift of funds. He had been deeply impressed with our work and its practical impact on children and families, and knowing that we were in need of funding, he gave. His gift was a sacrifice, and its effect has been real and powerful.

Thanks to that gift, we kept dangerous language out of UN documents that would have forced abortion upon countries around the globe. Thanks to that gift, we continue to provide our widely used UN-Negotiating Guide and other pro-family educational publications. Thanks to that gift, we helped protect marriage between a man and a woman in many states in America. Thanks to that gift, we were able to reach many thousands of African young people to help them make choices to avoid AIDS and prepare themselves for faithful marriages and successful families.

But our accomplishments have truly been a team effort, the result of the gifts of many volunteers and supporters. Our strength is the combined strength of a host of unselfish individuals and families who have generously assisted us, each gift being an essential part of our effort. To those wonderful supporters, I wish to convey my heartfelt thanks for your unselfish gifts.

My gift in return is to continue to serve to strengthen families–not only in my own home, but as a volunteer for UFI.  I make this sacrifice of time and effort because I know that families today must be strengthened and because what United Families International is accomplishing is absolutely essential. Counseling with my husband and family, we decided that this service would be our gift to other families.

This particular holiday season as we give to friends and family, resources are very strained. The economic and political conditions of our world have created very difficult financial situations for many people and charities have suffered immensely.   Whatever your means allow, I invite you to join our family of UFI supporters by making a gift for the benefit of families around the world. It is a gift that will endure, and it is urgently needed.

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

Carol Soelberg
United Families International

Do Violent Video Games Harm Children? UFI in the News

In Parental Rights, Pornography, UFI on August 25, 2010 at 6:40 am

Members of United Families International joined with other pro-family organizations and Utah state legislators in a press conference to encourage Utah’s Attorney General not to oppose the California law prohibiting minors from purchasing ultra-violent and sexually explicit video games.  This press conference was in response to a recent Salt Lake Tribune report, that Utah’s “Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said Thursday he is talking with a number of his colleagues from other states who are working on a potential friend-of-the-court brief opposing California’s law.”

United Families Utah’s Laura Bunker also spoke at the press conference, explaining, “These are not just war games. They are ultra-violent video games that use pornography and animated sexual acts as rewards for reaching higher levels. Rather than opposing this measure to protect children, Utah should join the eleven other states in support of it.”   We applaud the eleven states and their Attorneys General that have risen to the support of California’s common-sense law and urge Utah’s Attorney General and other states’ Attorneys General to not get involved on behalf of the video game industry and in support of the canard that California’s law infringes on a minor’s freedom of speech.

To see media coverage of this issue and a video of United Families Utah’s efforts, go to these links:

http://connect2utah.com/news-story/?nxd_id=105435
http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=12129145&pid=0

To learn more about the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case and the issues surrounding Violent Video Games vs. Free speech and the impact to our children, go here.

The Age of the Uncivilized

In Marriage, Parental Rights, The Family, UFI on August 20, 2010 at 12:40 pm

The family is the source of our greatest joys and some of our keenest sorrows. It is where our most basic need to loved is met.  In the family men and women learn to sacrifice, love, and serve.  Children learn to value work, respect, and responsibility.   Experiencing life in a natural family becomes absolutely fundamental to the preservation of society.

Some years back we begin to hear voices that claimed they could take the “difficulties” out of life by eliminating our responsibilities–especially in families.  The objective of these voices was to “relieve women of their oppressive roles as wives and mothers and men of their responsibilities to provide support and security for their families.”  They used words like equality and liberation to create a feel good motive for destroying the very bases of civilization—the family.

In 1978, guided by a love for the family and the recognition that these voices could destroy not only families but entire civilizations, United Families International was created to protect and strengthen the family.  By strengthening the family, communities, states, and nations are strengthened.

We strengthen the family by promoting:

Family: Respect for existing law, political structure, religion, and cultural norms that preserve the family.

Marriage: Respect for marriage between a man and a woman founded on chastity before marriage and fidelity in marriage

Life: Respect for the sanctity of human life including unborn children.

Parents: Respect for the right and obligation of parents to love protect, provide for, and teach their children.

Sovereignty: Respect for the sovereign rights of each individual nation as we work in the world community to protect the common good of individual families.

But how are communities, states, and nations strengthened by strong families? Inversely, what happens to a society where the respect for important cultural institutions and behavioral norms are lost?

“For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”–Newton’s Third Law

In the recorded history of mankind, people have acknowledged that an ordered structure of behavior valued, and adhered to by the vast majority of individuals in a community, state, or nation, brought results that improved their lives.  This ordered structure consisted of principles, supported by institutions. Adherence to principles (the action) produced positive results (the reaction) for the entire society. These societal improvements included peace, prosperity, fewer interpersonal conflicts, reliable systematic progression from one generation to another, self-respect, self-reliance, refinement, abhorrence for imposing upon the community burdens and responsibilities best borne by the individual, and liberty.

This process of developing principles, institutions, and patterns of beneficial behavior was called “civilization”.  Mankind prospered greatly under this civilizing process.  Achievement beyond description to one generation became commonplace for the next because of the civilizing impact of man’s institutions.

Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines “civilize” thus:

Civilize: to cause to develop out of a primitive state; to bring to a technically advanced and rationally ordered stage of cultural development.

Webster’s also defines “culture”:

Culture: the integrated pattern of human behavior that includes thought, speech, action, and artifacts and depends upon man’s capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations; b: the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group.

What happens to a civilization or cultural society when, after realizing the success achieved through multi-generational development of institutions, it devalues and destroys those successful institutions?  To find the answer one must merely observe our modern society as we discuss the cause and effect relationship (action and reaction) that brought us to our present circumstances.  The devaluation of the institution of the family is leading to its replacement as the fundamental unit of society. Government now seeks to become the fundamental unit of society, placing liberty, freedom of conscience, and free agency at risk.

The devaluation of marriage between a man and a woman threatens the destruction of this successful cultural institution. The sexual revolution of the 1960s and the feminist movement of the 70s have falsely convinced people that the incessant pursuit of personal pleasures and desires are the only benefits to life.  Cohabitation, divorce, homosexuality, physical or emotional abuse of spouse or children, are a sampling of the threats to marriage. A culture that does not value marriage, will eventually replace civil society with tribalism. Development of societies of gangs that spread internationally illustrates the negative consequences of a marriage-less culture.

The activist judge that recently struck down California’s Proposition 8 preserving marriage between a man and a woman said he could find no harm to anyone by forceful imposition of homosexual marriage on a people opposed to it.  Only the intellectually deaf, dumb, and blind can fail to recognize the harm.

Parents are also being replaced by governments. These secular-socialist regimes seek to strip the rights, privileges, and obligations to teach the rising generations the basic moral fundamental principles that built our civilization and substitute it with an amoral, corrupt, political correctness.  To successfully replace parents, these governments must supplant free agency, freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, and other liberties and institute policies of indoctrination of youth in government schools.

In lieu of the joy associated with life, a culture of death has become pervasive. The devaluation of life is evidenced by millions of voluntary, birth control-driven abortions; billions of forced, population-control driven abortions; millions of aged and ill persons euthanized when they become a burden to care-givers; institution of a “duty-to-die” mindset when secular-socialist regimes no longer have the financial resources to provide life prolonging medical services; escalating levels of seemingly random acts of violence, where murder is a tribalist right-of-passage, or tactical pursuit of business interests.
The negative consequences (the reaction) of rejection of long-valued cultural institutions (the action) are real and measurable.  Social scientists tell us that our prisons are full because of the breakdown of the family. Imprisoned are gang members who live in primitive, tribalist societies.  They house increasing numbers of individuals driven to drug and alcohol abuse.  They house an increasing number of child and spousal abusers.

Children and their unmarried mothers languish in poverty and neglect because governments, having replaced the family, lack resources to provide for them. In addition to the intense and pervasive personal suffering attributed directly to these actions, the financial costs to struggling economies cast a shadow of fear across the future wellbeing of everyone.

The world has more artists, actors, musicians, and writers than ever before.  Once instrumental in, and a sign of cultural refinement, the “artists” of today are purveyors of cultural decline. Where we once  valued refinement, we now prefer vulgarity, crudeness, and crassness.

In our modern society, the collective good is being replaced by short term satisfaction of adult desires that brings long term harm to those seeking such satisfaction.  Rejection of cultural institutions and behavioral norms has resulted in a cultural devolution or reversion to a more primitive state. An entire generation is now, ironically, supplanting its own long-term best interest in exchange for short term satisfaction.

Civilization, as we know it, is at a tipping point.  We can succumb to the trends I have described, or we can hold true to those civilizing institutions that brought the broad range of cultural success we enjoy in the world today.

At UFI, we are dedicated to our mission of preserving these cultural institutions.  We continue to educate the world regarding the value of cultural institutions and the consequences of their destruction.  Stand with us by dedicating your resources to help us preserve for generations to come, the cultural benefits you have long enjoyed.  Click HERE to support the family today!

Mike Duff
President, United Families International


Day 9: Utah at the UN

In Abortion, Constitution, Senate, UFI, UN on March 10, 2010 at 11:36 am

Utah’s current legislation for Utah State House Bill 12 has been a hot topic throughout the country, even with an article in the New York Times (with a quote from Laura Bunker, President of UFI Utah!) printed in February.

House Bill 12 says that a woman found to have harmed her unborn child through “intentional, knowing or negligent” acts could be charged with criminal homicide.  Basically, a woman who purposely miscarries is held responsible for her actions.

Although it is awesome that Utah’s bill has been mentioned in two separate side events here at CSW, they are getting it all wrong. They are preaching to the women here that Utah is making miscarriages illegal. If you think about that statement for approximately 30 seconds you will realize how ridiculous that is, and obviously untrue.

About 15-20 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage naturally. They are often caused by chromosomal abnormalities which don’t allow the fertilized egg to develop properly. For Utah’s legislature to deem this an illegal act makes no sense whatsoever. This is because they are not.

The bill was signed by the Governor Gary Herbert on Monday.

UN Day 3: Mocking the Real Questions

In Abstinence, Sex Education, UFI, UN on March 4, 2010 at 2:12 pm

This afternoon Heather and I heard IPPF (International Planned Parenthood Federation) talk about youth led sexual & reproductive rights advocacy. The panel consisted of (from left in the picture) a translator, a man from Mexico, a woman from Tunisia, a physician from Morocco who looked like she was 15 (she was actually 28), a lady from Washington D.C. and a woman from Barbados.

The room was jam packed, at least double the number of people the fire code allows. Dozens of women were sitting on the floor or standing in the back. Arriving 30 minutes early we were barely able to get seats. The panelist (sorry I didn’t get names) from Washington D.C. spoke on how sexual orientation is a neutral term. It does not mean gay or straight, its neutral for whoever you happen to be attracted to or dating at the time. There is lots of space for in between. (We approached her for an interview, claiming only to be students, but she didn’t buy that for a second and wouldn’t set up a time.)

After each panelist spoke, they opened it up for questions or comments. They wrote five to ten questions down, and then chose 3 that they wanted to respond to, usually leaving the questions we actually wanted them to answer out.

Some people took the opportunity to get on their soapbox, including one girl from Lebanon. She spoke about how we need to be able to have great sex all the time without worrying about any consequences. Then she said, “Morals like virginity will crumble and good riddance.” She received a round of applause.

Then a young girl stood up to ask her question. “In your opinion does comprehensive sexual education include abstinence?”  Her question (which I really appreciate her bravery for asking) got a mockery of a response. The man from Mexico answered her saying that (paraphrasing) yes it includes abstinence but abstinence is not 100 percent effective. Children need to learn all options and decide for themselves how they want to live without their parents input. And lastly (my personal favorite) that he believes in “abstinence with condoms.”

IPPF has and will continue to influence young girls and women to think that abstinence and having morals is worthless. Mainly it is worthless to them as they won’t be receiving a profit from abortion services.

Meet the Team

In The Family, UFI, UN, Uncategorized on March 4, 2010 at 11:02 am

From left to right. Front row: Brenda Sanders, President of United Families Arizona; Heather Sanders, journalist extraordinaire; Joshua James, intern at UFI; Shellie Baird, also an intern at UFI. Back row; Marcia Barlow, UN expert; Michael Duff, President of United Families International.

Take a good look at us. We may not be the best looking crew (I’m speaking for myself), but we’re your last hope. Ok, that might be a little extreme–but if you were here–you’d know why I say that (there aren’t too many here on our side). You might want to also take note that we’re all wearing our priceless badges that we fought so hard for.

This is the team in the basement of the UN building, the place Marcia lovingly calls “the cave.” The pro-family coalition has made this their favorite gathering place. In the picture we’re sitting on the ’strategy couch’ (I made that one up, call me Mr. Witty) where most of the dramatic, decisive decisions (yes, decisive decisions) are made.

Remember to check us out on our blog 100% dedicated to our UN visit.

Representing YOU at the UN

In UFI, UN on March 3, 2010 at 8:45 pm

(back) Marcia Barlow, UFI President Mike Duff
(front) UFI-Arizona President Brenda Sanders, Interns Heather Sanders, Joshua James, Shellie Baird

UFI at the UN Day 1: The Unexpected Human Rights Violation

In The Family, UFI, UN, Uncategorized on March 2, 2010 at 7:53 am

After arriving at the much-anticipated UN’s Commission on the Status of Women in New York City, the first day was, well…a little slow.

The United Families team spent almost 9 hours (!!!) waiting to register for the event. Our joints screamed and muscles ached, only relieved by moments of leaning on walls and sitting on ANYTHING that resembled a chair (or a bump). The situation was rightly explained when our new friend from India complained, “Talk about human rights violations, this is slavery!”

As we neared the end of the line, some women walked past us celebrating, holding their gleaming new badges in hand, raised like Olympic medals—the rest of us cheered—jealously.

Once I got my badge, I felt like how I imagine climbers feel after conquering Everest. But, this is just the beginning. Tomorrow’s a new day, full of fascinating tales and tantalizing intrigue.

Women marrying their careers

In Abstinence, Birth Rate, Demographic Decline, Families, Family Planning, Free Speech, Marriage, Parental Rights, Parenting, Population Control, UFI, Women's Rights on January 27, 2010 at 3:11 pm

For decades we have heard that the world is over populated, having children is bad for the environment and we are running out of natural resources. Culture is pushing our focus to care more about recycling, saving endangered species and having a fabulous career.  It’s easy to get caught up, promising you’ll be content after the next raise, after the new beautiful car you’ll be able to get next month. It’s easy to push back more important life choices until next year. Such as having children.

There is an ever growing trend for women not to have children, not necessarily for the Earth’s sake, but because of their career.  Anastasia de Waal, director of family and education for Civitas said, “These women are marrying their careers, and not marrying and having children.

If they do choose to get married rather than cohabite or remain single, they are waiting longer. A Rutgers University report from 2008 states that the median age for a woman’s first marriage has risen to about 26 from the 1970 median of about 21. Additionally, women who have earned a four-year college degree or higher may not be getting married until nearer the age of 30.

Since single women are almost five times less likely to have children, and those cohabiting are almost twice less likely to have children then married women, the fertility rates are dropping severely.

Since women are getting married later, they are postponing having children by default, or even abstaining completely. “In 1970, 71 percent of married women had a first birth within the first three years of marriage. By 1990, the percentage had fallen to 37. Consequently, married women today spend a greater number of ‘child-free’ years before they become mothers,” the Rutgers study reports.

Women are not as willing to give up the careers they have worked for years to establish to have children. “We have not got the balance right between wanting children in our society and wanting to work.” De Waal said.

The goal is to not eliminate women from the workplace, but to create a society where having children is not looked down upon. Women are better educated and more successful in the workforce then any other time in history, which is not a bad thing. The negative side effect of this is that women believe they have to choose between having a career and having a family.

Studies are showing that lower fertility rates are harming the world economy rather then helping. Countries such as Russia, China and Japan who previously had incredibly strict laws regarding family size are realizing this troubling fact and now trying to reverse the damage. The governments of these countries are now offering monetary compensation for families having more then one child. China is having a bride shortage, as you can read about in this weeks UFI alert in “The Tragedy of China’s “Bare Branches”

Prop. 8 Lawyer to be Guest on Radio Show

In Civil Unions, Constitution, Courts, Democracy, Families, Free Speech, Homosexuality, Marriage, Proposition 8, Same-Sex Marriage, Supreme Court, The Family, UFI, Values on January 15, 2010 at 1:23 pm

William Duncan, a lawyer involved in the Proposition 8 trial, will be a guest on the talk radio show Voice of the Nation, next Thursday at 3 pm (MDT). Please join us as we discuss the arguments presented in the final week of the case as well as Duncan’s inside view of the trial.

Voice of the Nation is your pro-family radio show that brings people on the front line of the battle, straight to you.

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