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Marriage and Family

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Marriage and Family

UN International Day for Tolerance Observed in Germany

The UN International Day for Tolerance was established in 1996. In the words of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-noon, this day is for "all people and governments actively to combat fear, hatred and extremism with dialogue, understanding and mutual respect ... to advance against the forces of division and unite for our shared future."

UPF in Hamburg, Germany, chose to commemorate the UN International Day for Tolerance in 2014 with a focus on the family. Some may think this curious, but there have been heated debates and legislative battles over the definition, value and purpose of marriage and the family. According to a recent statement from Pope Francis, the family is coming more and more under attack worldwide. Thus the organizers chose the topic ‘Family’, where more tolerance and understanding is needed so that respect can be given to all sides in the discussion on the family. For the sake of children and societal stability, it is critical to go beyond politicization and emotions, and highlight objective indicators of family well-being.

The main emphasis of a Nov. 15, 2014 seminar in Hamburg was on the importance of defending the family as fundamental to societal strength. The guest speaker, Mr. Karl Christian Hausmann, chairman of UPF-Germany, addressed the question: ‘What Is the Worth of the Family?"

Expanding on the family as the base for social survival through all disasters and challenges. Mr. Hausmann quoted a former German minister for employment, Norbert Blum, as saying that “The institution of marriage does not owe its existence to the state. It is older than this. There is a natural as well as a cultural origin to a mother and a father. Marriage and the family are the greatest forces that have historically brought stability and have survived all natural catastrophes, wars and floods."

Mr. Hausmann referred to the need for a renaissance and strengthening of the family, not a retreat. It is the family that teaches virtues, love and responsibility, the essential elements of individual and societal well-being. He explained the spiritual value of the marriage of a man and woman as facilitating the experience of God's love. He added that in marriage, "a man and woman are complementary in their ways of being and become more whole as a person. The purpose of man and the purpose of woman is to serve the other and to complete one’s life … In order to get to know God, we ought to get to know this other Divine essence."

A discussion followed about the growing popularity of “gender ideology.” Gender ideology interprets gender as a social construct and ignores basic biological, neurological, hormonal and anatomical differences between male and female. Participants' comments reflected concern about the deleterious effect on children who do not receive the unique gifts of both a mother and a father in the co-parenting enterprise. A general sentiment from the audience was that the fundamental needs of children should be of primary concern.

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