When historian Will Durant selected the ten greatest thinkers ever, the top honor went to the ancient Chinese sage Confucius for his insight that the world cannot be put in order without first putting in order the family.
It is a truth for all time, and was the guiding star for the newly created United Nations as it sought to put the world in order following history’s most destructive conflict, World War II (upon which we Americans have just reflected during Memorial Day).
Not only does the UN’s 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights accord special rights to motherhood and childhood—both of which “are entitled to special care and assistance”—but it recognizes only one group unit as having rights: “The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.”
That same vision of family informed the UN’s 1959 Declaration of the Rights of the Child, which proclaims unequivocally that “mankind owes to the child the best it has to give,” and then proceeds to explain what the best is:
The child, for the full and harmonious development of his personality, needs love and understanding. He shall, wherever possible, grow up in the care and under the responsibility of his parents, and, in any case, in an atmosphere of affection and of moral and material security… (emphasis added).
In 2012, the United Nations proclaimed June 1 as “the Global Day of Parents, to be observed annually, honouring parents throughout the world.” While it is a welcome, if faint, echo of the UN’s original vision of family, it is also a stark reminder of how far the UN has departed from that vision. As explained by sociologist Gabriele Kuby,
Within a few decades, the UN became an institution that would use its power and resources to change the image of humanity as declared by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to replace universal moral values with relativistic postmodern ‘values’ as the foundation of culture…. Today the UN and its powerful sub-organizations fight for dissolution of men’s and women’s sexual identity [and] elimination of marriage and family.
It is part of what Kuby calls the “global sexual revolution” masquerading under the name of rights while attacking democratic freedoms, spurred on by “influential individuals and NGOs that drive its global implementation with help from the UN and EU institutions.” Meanwhile, activists in every country “are supplied with money, education, jobs, and juridical support,” and “gain power and influence” to further the revolution.
The International Organization for the Family, working with organizations and individuals around the globe, is on the forefront of defending against that revolution as we unite and equip leaders to protect and promote family, marriage, parents, and children. In celebration of this year’s Global Day of Parents, we reiterate the clarion call issued at our 2009 World Congress of Families in Amsterdam by Elder Russell M. Nelson.
On all sides, the family is under attack. Many wonder if the institution is no longer needed. Our response is certain. If there is any hope for the future of nations, that hope resides in the family. Our children are our wealth; our children are our strength; our children are indeed our future!…
The future of nations is linked to children. Families with children need to be re-enthroned as the fundamental unit of society. We simply must value children more than we do! Without a new generation to replace the old, there is no wealth; without families, there is no future.
Children come from the union of a man and a woman. The happiest and most secure children come from happy and secure marriages of fathers and mothers. History and contemporary studies have shown that marriage of a husband and a wife, with both contributing their distinctive natural traits to the family, provides the ideal context within which to rear productive, compassionate, and moral individuals….
Furthermore, those who seek to undermine traditional marriage and family would effectively limit the rights of those who do uphold the sanctity of these institutions. This consequence leads to another major concern—the eventual erosion of religious liberty, including the liberty to defend, promote, and practice traditional family values.
Please join us in celebrating the Global Day of Parents by standing up and speaking out for these foundational truths. Never has there been more at stake for our children—and for civilization itself.