REALity December, 2018
A Message From Spain on the Family –
World Congress of Families 2018 – Chisinau, Republic of Moldova
By: Dr. Margarita (Gari) Duran Vadell
An example of the shared beliefs of those attending the World Congress of Families was the paper presented by Dr. Margarita (Gari) Durán Vadell from Majorca, Spain. Dr. Duran is a former Spanish Senator (2011-2015). She has a PhD in Ancient History, as well as a degree in geography and history, and a Master’s Degree in archival studies. She has written numerous articles in favour of human rights, particularly in defence of life and the dignity of the human being from conception to natural death. She has also written extensively in favour of religious freedom. She is the spokesperson for Family and Human Dignity and Values and Society. She is Vice President of the International Council of Human Rights, Freedom and Democracy (INCO Human Rights). Below is an edited speech that she presented to the Congress on the importance of the family. Her message from her country, thousands of miles away, reflects the very same thoughts of so many of us living in Canada today.
The Traditional Family
Our historical, sociological and political differences do not diminish our unity in facing our common challenges. The identical struggles that our countries are facing tell us the source of threats to the family is not regional, but global.
The family is the best social guarantee against State interference into individual liberties. Values and traditions, the soul of a country, are transmitted in the family. Above all, when we are part of a family we are not isolated individuals who can be manipulated by political and economic powers.
Today, the family in Europe, and even Spain, my native country, has singular strengths but clear weaknesses, such as the high rate of family breakdown, the low birth rate and fewer marriages. A political response to reverse this situation appears to be lacking.
Reversing harmful trends
There are social dynamics in some countries that are very difficult, but not impossible, to reverse:
- We can create conditions whereby those who choose to create a family with many children can do so freely, with fewer economic and employment obstacles.
- We can implement a family basis for all policy areas: education, taxation, employment, social services, housing, etc.
- We can favour the political and social recognition of the family as the foundation of social cohesion and the transmitter of positive values.
Solutions are more easily found if we view evidence of the family as primarily an investment, rather than an expense:
- When an economic crisis was most severe in Spain, it was family permanence which prevented further social deterioration. High unemployment did not lead to a social catastrophe thanks to support from the family structure.
- Many unemployed were not obliged to live on the street because they were able to return home to their parents. Many grandparents shared their pensions with struggling children and grandchildren.
- Welfare state benefits are insufficient to provide for the increasing dependence of an aging population. What the administration does not do is done by the family. Women, especially, are the main caregivers of the elderly and dependent persons.
- Deficient family public policies have led to grandparents being called upon to take care of grandchildren during holiday periods. Working hours, not at all designed for harmonious family life, prevent working parents or mothers from providing proper care of their children.
These and other shortcomings illustrate that even if politicians limit their concerns to economic and social matters, not protecting the family is suicidal for any society.
Threats to the Family
Blindness and incompetence may be the reason that politicians ignore the obvious, but this neglect of the family is mainly ideological. Threats to the family are global and have serious consequences for societies everywhere.
Some threats to the family are:
- An intentional absence of political recognition of the importance of the natural family as a factor in social cohesion and, as a consequence, intentional absence of policies to favour a healthy birth rate and family unity.
- In some countries, having more than three children is considered irresponsible. The dominant opinion is that your choice is only due to religion (including religious radicalism). With the popular notion that religion must be kept out of the public sphere, calls for more family support are not taken seriously.
- Mass media impose a vision of the family that fails to portray the real, natural or traditional family. With the insistence that the media promote diversity, the natural family, despite being the majority, is made to appear as merely one option, and is even seen as a minority, which it is not.
- A growing nihilism imposes the view that the natural family is an outdated institution, comparable to any other type of association.
- Laws passed to defend certain interest groups, using the excuse of defending their rights, now violate longstanding individual rights: freedom to educate our children according to our beliefs, the equality of all citizens before the law, and the presumption of innocence.
- With surrogacy laws, having a child has been converted into a legal imperative. A desire to have a child now involves the law.
- Finally, gender ideology, appearing as an innocuous theory, claiming to be correcting historical persecution, is, in fact, lethal to the natural family, especially when it is imposed in schools. Parents are prevented from transmitting a different point of view to their own children, under threat of penalty. Even scholars who question these theories, physicians, journalists, etc., are sanctioned as gender ideology is becoming state ideology.
How does one fight against these threats? I believe we must fight where the struggle is taking place: social media, the streets and, above all, in parliament, by:
- Promoting the family
- Exposing the truth about these ideologies and the behaviour models some are trying to impose
- Not being ashamed of our beliefs, as ordinary citizens and as professionals
- Opposing, above all, the weakness and lack of conviction that allows the implementation of harmful ideologies