On April 14, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned of the proliferation of “a dangerous epidemic of misinformation. Around the world, people are scared. They want to know what to do and where to turn for advice. This is a time for science and solidarity. Yet the global ‘misinfo-demic’ is spreading… Falsehoods are filling the airwaves… Hatred is going viral, stigmatizing and vilifying people and groups. The world must unite against this disease, too.”
The Secretary-General was referring to misrepresentations about the COVID-19 crisis, but his words are a poignant reminder of another epidemic of misinformation, this one concerning family, marriage, and children. The falsehoods of this epidemic are indeed filling the airwaves and vilifying people and groups, especially targeting the International Organization for the Family as a “hate group.” Why? For boldly declaring the truth that “the family [is] a universal community based on the marital union of a man and a woman,” and “is the bedrock of society, the strength of our nations, and the hope of humanity,” being “the fountain and cradle of new life, the natural refuge for children, and the first and foremost school to teach the values necessary for the well-being of children and society.”
The attack on these foundational truths is part of what sociologist Gabriele Kuby calls “the global sexual revolution” that masquerades under the name of rights but actually undermines the rights of the family, resulting in “the destruction of freedom in the name of freedom.” Everyone is affected, explains Kuby, as the revolution “reaches into every home and heart. There is no neutral territory to which we can escape. This revolution increases its speed and the fierceness of its attack on democratic freedoms from one day to the next,” threatening “our personal existence and the future of society.”
Two days before the Secretary-General’s remarks, another world leader spoke of the COVID-19 crisis. With the world “now oppressed by a pandemic severely testing our whole human family,” said Pope Francis in his Easter address, “this is not a time for indifference…. This is not a time for forgetfulness…. This is not a time for self-centeredness.” Instead, the pontiff urged, this is a time for working together in hope, inasmuch as Christ’s resurrection offers humanity “a different ‘contagion,’ a message transmitted from heart to heart… It is the contagion of hope.” We at IOF join with Christians everywhere in sharing that contagion of hope, even as we seek to bring hope to the world’s children through our work to protect and promote their natural refuge, the family.