IOF Weekly — Antigua Regional Conference Continues IOF Momentum
Dear Friend of the Natural Family:
We’ve just concluded another amazingly successful regional conference, this one in the Caribbean, on the island nation of Antigua. It was our fourth regional conference over the years in the Caribbean. As our stature has grown over time, more and more leaders from Caribbean nations have attended in order to learn, be inspired and network with fellow activists on behalf of the natural family. As an indication of our growing influence, the conference was opened by the nation’s Governor General, the highest ranking official to ever address a regional conference.
The sponsorship of regional conferences is a key way for IOF to help encourage the pro-family movement and sustain the momentum we achieved at our last World Congress in Budapest. There’s a tremendous demand for our regional conferences, so much so that we have had to turn countries down for lack of available resources. Fortunately, a generous donor has stepped forward with an amazing $100,000 matching grant, offering to match every contribution to IOF dollar for dollar throughout the summer. Please help us with an immediate financial contribution so that we may entertain more opportunities to sponsor regional conferences and further the momentum we’ve built for uplifting and protecting the natural family.
Whatever you can afford to donate, please act today, realizing that your gift will double in effectiveness thanks to the matching grant opportunity.
International Family News
World Congress of Families Antigua Regional Conference (Building Strong Caribbean Families) in St Johns’ Antigua and Barbuda – June 29-30, 2017
Charlie Gard and the Sacred Rights of Parents
Charlie Gard, an eleven-month-old infant with a rare and fatal genetic disease, is at the center of a worldwide dispute over parental rights. European courts have ruled that he be taken off life support and that his parents not be permitted to take him abroad for experimental treatment. Pope Francis has expressed his wish that the parents’ “desire to accompany and care for their own child to the end will be respected,” and has offered little Charlie a Vatican passport. President Trump has tweeted that if the United States could help Charlie, “we would be delighted to do so.” Two U.S. congressmen have proposed making Charlie a resident of America so he can receive treatment. Protesters have marched on Downing Street to persuade Prime Minister May to protect Charlie. Italy’s top pediatric facility, the Vatican children’s hospital (Bambino Gesù), has offered to treat Charlie, as has New York’s Columbia University Medical Center. Millions of supporters, calling themselves “Charlie’s Army,” have flocked to Twitter to celebrate his life. And if you have not signed IOF’s petition to save Charlie, we invite you to do so.
Two months after Charlie was born, his parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, became concerned that he wasn’t growing. They took him to London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital where he was diagnosed with mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, believed to affect just sixteen children worldwide. Charlie is unable to move or breathe on his own, and suffers from epileptic seizures. But his life is no less precious to his parents, who have spent over 3,000 hours at his bedside and have spared no effort to locate potentially helpful treatment. After finding a US doctor who does nucleoside therapy, Connie and Chris raised $1.7 million to proceed. Unfortunately, the Great Ormond Street Hospital decided that it was in Charlie’s best interest to “die with dignity,” and applied for permission to shut off his life support.
In the ensuing legal battle, Charlie’s parents have lived through a judicial nightmare. When the British High Court (the trial court) ordered that the hospital could take Charlie off life support so he could indeed “die with dignity,” Chris shouted “No!” as Connie wept. They appealed, but the Court of Appeals decision also went against them, as did Britain’s Supreme Court decision. Vowing to fight to the “bitter end,” Charlie’s parents took the case to the European Court of Human Rights, whose decision refused to overturn the prior ruling. But on July 10, after doctors from the Vatican children’s hospital sent a letterinsisting that unpublished data suggests nucleoside therapy offers some chance of improvement, the British High Court agreed to another hearing on July 13 to consider additional evidence. As this article goes to press, the outcome remains to be seen, even as Connie’s words resonate with parents everywhere: “He’s our son, he’s our flesh and blood. We feel that it should be our right as parents to decide to give him a chance at life.”
The case of Charlie Gard seems close to what President George W. Bush had in mind when he delivered the Concordia University 2004 commencement address. “You can fairly judge the character of society by how it treats the weak, the vulnerable, the most easily forgotten… We believe that everyone has a place and a purpose in this world, that every life matters, that no insignificant person was ever born… A compassionate society shows a special concern for those at the beginning of life, those at the end of life, and those who struggle in life with disabilities… Our worth as human beings does not depend on our health, or productivity, or independence, or any other shifting value the world might apply. Our worth comes from bearing the image of our Maker… Our Declaration of Independence calls life an endowment of the Creator, and on earth, an unalienable right.”
It is when considering the Creator’s role that the role and rights of parents come most clearly into focus. According to the Talmud, “there are three partners in the formation of a man: his father and mother and the Almighty.” Parental rights are sacred, as divinely endowed as life itself, and must be defended as the key component of what the Universal Declaration of Human Rights calls “the natural and fundamental group unit of society,” namely, the family, which “is entitled to protection by society and the State.” We know it is high time to change course when the family needs protection from society and the State.
FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE JEWS — UK EDUCATION OVERLORDS SEEK TO PROHIBIT JUDAISM BY STEALTH
A London school with an excellent academic record is being threatened with closure for its apparent lack of sufficient enthusiasm indoctrinating children between the ages of 3 and 8 in the concepts of ‘gender reassignment’. This is the lesson learnt by Britain’s hounded faith schools, most recently Vizhnitz Girls’ School, an Orthodox Jewish school in Hackney, London.
The Office of Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) has threatened to close this high-performing school not for any academic transgression, but for failing to prioritise the Education department’s equalities charter over the school’s teaching of the Jewish faith. Among the accusations, Ofsted claims the school does not adequately promote LGBT and gender reassignment.
Natural Family News and Research
Relentless attention has been paid in recent months to opioid abuse in Canada, writes André Picard in the Globe and Mail. But most commentators are ignoring an even greater killer—alcohol. Drinking, says Picard, is “often portrayed as good, harmless fun,” but it kills more than 5,000 people in Canada every year. Picard believes that prohibition “doesn’t work.” Instead, regulation and education are the way to go. But what Picard and most others writing on alcohol and substance abuse fail to mention is the protective role that marriage and other outdated institutions play in keeping young and old alike sober.
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