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World Congress of Families speakers lament sexual revolution, family breakdown

On the third day of the World Congress of Families meeting in Salt Lake City, stirring speeches about assaults on the family from the government and media, costs of the sexual revolution, and the urgent need to protect religious freedom rang through the Grand America ballroom.

The family was “ordained of God,” the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez said in a plenary session of the international gathering Thursday morning. “In essence, it is the heart of God by which we experience the fullness of God’s glory.”

The idea of the family “does not stem from a political ideology,” said Rodriguez, who ministers to a multiethnic evangelical congregation in Sacramento, Calif., “and I don’t believe the U.S. Supreme Court has the power and authority to redefine it.”
Close, loving families led by a mother and father provide, he said, the “antidote to poverty, gang violence and economic disparities. … It is a God-ordained firewall against so many ills.”

An attack on the institution, Rodriguez said, “is an attack on communities that need it most.”

Jennifer Roback Morse added her voice to the chorus of worried Christians, sounding the alarm about the aftermath — and victims — of the so-called “sexual revolution.”

Morse — who was named one of the “Catholic Stars of 2013” along with Pope Francis, Pope Benedict XVI and others — was so troubled by what she sees as the decline of marriage that she launched the nonprofit Ruth Institute in 2008 to raise awareness about the costs.

The list of those victimized by the family breakdown includes children of divorce, children of unwed mothers, women who have been abandoned and children of same-sex couples, she said. “Men, women and children have been harmed … by the lies [about marriage].”

Society’s view of sexuality “is a totalitarian ideology,” the Catholic scholar said. “Even [its] most ardent opponents don’t know how insidious the revolution is.”

Morse then challenged the gathering to speak against sexual freedom and its consequences.

“We are up against powerful people in our world,” she said, “but Bill Gates and George Soros do not have enough money to silence all of us.”

The Rev. Paige Patterson, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention and current president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, tackled the topic of religious freedom.

It began, he said, when God created the first couple — Adam and Eve.

“God could have created automatons,” the Baptist preacher said, “but our progenitors were created with the freedom to reject God or honor him.”

The Constitution’s First Amendment outlaws any government-established religion and forbids limits to the “free exercise of religion” — unless the state has a compelling interest to do so.

“Those concerned about the future of the family can no longer lend support to any candidate who doesn’t vigorously support the First Amendment or is seeking to impose restrictions on religious freedoms,” he said. “All such [office seekers] must be resisted.”

Without religious freedom, Patterson said, “all other freedoms become relatively meaningless.”

The Utah gathering wraps up Friday. The 10th World Congress of Families is tentatively scheduled for May 16-18, 2016, in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.

Original story can be read here: http://www.sltrib.com/home/3116379-155/world-congress-of-families-speakers-lament?fullpage=1

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Restoring the natural family

SALT LAKE CITY — Riding on the bright, efficient light rail through the downtown, a visitor can feel the vibes of a shifting urban environment, plus some spectacular mountains. It’s a little like cruising the wide, clean streets of Disneyland, except that instead of Goofy and Mickey, you might spot a few homeless people here and there.

Founded in 1847 by Brigham Young and other Mormon pioneers, the city feels safer than most, and the clean-cut Mormon influence is substantial. But the city has not been immune from the cultural decline of families and resultant government dependency. Utah’s capital (pop. 192,000) is progressive and Democrat, while its suburbs with a million residents are among the most conservative Republican strongholds in the nation.

This past week, the city became the de facto capital of the world for conservative international groups dedicated to restoring the natural family and delegitimizing the sexual revolution.

With 200 speakers and 3,300 total attendance from more than 50 countries, the World Congress of Families IX (WCF9) felt like a massive rock in a fast-flowing cultural stream. Progressive elites insist that the mom-dad family is no longer necessary, replaced by whatever adults want to do to gratify themselves. Well, maybe not.

First, God is not dead, and to emphasize the point, Movieguide Publisher Ted Baehr hosted a screening of the film “God’s Not Dead 2,”made by the producers of 2014’s “God’s Not Dead,” which pitted a Christian college student against an atheist professor. That movie racked up more than $66 million at the box office, making it the 7th highest grossing Christian-themed film. This time around, a public high school teacher is put on trial via an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawsuit for answering a student’s question about whether Mahatma Gandhi’s preaching of nonviolence was similar to statements by Jesus Christ.

No spoiler alert here but suffice to say, if you’re not a fan of the ACLU, you might enjoy this movie.

Among the speakers were Rafael Cruz, an evangelical pastor and father of Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, who got a standing ovation for pledging civil disobedience over the Supreme Court’s June ruling declaring a new right to same-sex “marriage.”

Family Research Council Legal Advisor Cathy Ruse predicted the Court’s ruling would eventually give way to the common-sense notions that marriage will always be the union of male and female and that children need a mother and father. She noted that more than 50 million Americans in 31 states voted to protect marriage in their laws, and that of the 293 countries in the United Nations, only 20 have changed the definition of marriage, with two of the largest, Brazil and the United States, doing so via court rulings, not popular vote.

“No matter our nationality or creed, the World Congress of Families has shown that the family continues to be the seminal issue to so many throughout the world,” WCF9 Executive Director Janice Shaw Crouse said Friday.

Some speakers linked economic problems and government growth to the collapse of the natural family. Others reviewed new scientific findings about the marriage-ruining effects of pornography on the brain, comparing it to drug addiction and showing how viewing porn carves neurological pathways.

Ruth Institute founder Jennifer Roback Morse, author of the new book “The Sexual Revolution and Its Victims,” said that the cultural elites who run a majority of Western governments are callously indifferent to what’s best for children and instead are “dedicated to reducing the inconveniences for adults that arise from their sexual activities.”

The sexual revolution, she said, is anchored by three falsehoods: sex has nothing to do with babies; marriage has nothing to do with sex, and men and women are interchangeable. The sexual revolution, far from being liberating, is a “totalitarian ideology” because “it takes a lot of force to sustain these lies.”

Family historian and founder of the Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society Allan Carlson sounded a positive note when he said that societal support for marriage and families in the United States has been cyclical, with decades of decline followed by restoration. America’s current crisis, marked by easy divorce, abortion, an explosion of pornography, the advance of “alternative families” and an avalanche of destructive outcomes, may have run its course.

Dissolute periods usually last about 50 years, he said, and America’s latest slide toward decadence began roughly in 1970. That means we may be on the cusp of a revival of marriage and family in about five years. Well, it is hoped. Even the new Muppets show is squirrely with adult themes. A delegate from Africa told me that they were constantly battling the negative effects of Western entertainment.

Many speakers told stories about loss and recovery, such as abortion-bound mothers who changed their minds. Perhaps the most compelling was Australian motivational speaker Nick Vujicic, who was born without arms or legs and who generated tears and laughter with his narrative about coping, falling into suicidal depression and then being plucked from despair by the love of God. Through his Life Without Limbs ministry, the 35-year-old has spoken all over the world about how Jesus can help anyone overcome adversity.

Speaking of which, many speakers echoed Rev. Cruz’s defiant spirit. One of them was the Rev. Sammy Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, who said that “Uncle Sam may be our uncle, but he will never be our heavenly father.”

Chiding pastors for remaining silent while the courts were redefining marriage, he warned that “today’s complacency is tomorrow’s captivity . I am not drinking the Kool-Aid.”

Original article can be read here: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/nov/1/robert-knight-restoring-the-natural-family/?page=all

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