- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 28, 2001

The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks may lead to the renewal of the family, said speakers at a World Congress of Families yesterday in Washington.
For some time, certain people have viewed family "ties that bind" as "bondage," Ralph W. Hardy, an elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, told the gathering at the DAR Constitution Hall.
This perception changed on Sept. 11, when people instinctively turned to their families not day cares, municipalities, labor unions, country clubs, public schools or political parties for comfort and refuge, Mr. Hardy said.
This experience has shaken many people to their cores, giving the country the opportunity to make "an important mid-course correction" and rediscover the value of enduring, productive and loving families, he said.
The session yesterday was one of several regional meetings the World Congress of Families plans this year. The congress is an organization of pro-family groups in dozens of countries that first met in Prague in 1997.
At its second major meeting in Geneva in 1999, the congress issued a declaration that "the natural human family is established by the Creator and essential to a good society." The Geneva document also laid out positions on marriage, children, sexuality, population, education, economy, government and religion.
In a letter to the conference yesterday, President Bush said he has "committed my administration to work hard to help parents and encourage the formation and maintenance of loving families." Major initiatives, the president wrote, are to "promote responsible fatherhood, strengthen families and make adoption more affordable."
In a highlight of the conference in the afternoon, Ambassador Mokhtar Lamani of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to the United Nations clasped hands with Rabbi Daniel Lapin, founder of Toward Tradition.
Earlier in the day, in his remarks on the importance of the family in all cultures, Mr. Lamani decried the Sept. 11 attacks as the work of "extremists" who are trying to "hijack a peaceful religion."
Greeting Mr. Lamani, Mr. Lapin said, "It is of great significance, with all the maelstroms swirling around us, that the ambassador stands shoulder to shoulder with us in the interest of advancing the family as the basis of civilization." The audience gave the men a standing ovation.
"We can only prevail by linking hands," said Richard G. Wilkins, a law professor and director of the World Family Policy Center at Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City. The breakdown of the family and erosion of morality affect all cultures and must be confronted by all, he said.
Vast social changes such as the Industrial Revolution, women's liberation and the inventions of automobiles and television have had unexpected consequences for families, said Janice Shaw Crouse, head of the Beverly LaHaye Institute, a Center for Studies in Women's Issues; Allan Carlson, president of the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society; and Dinesh D'Souza of the American Enterprise Institute.
However, they said, these changes could play a role in strengthening families. If the Industrial Revolution took men from farms to factories, Internet technology may make it possible for men to work from the home, said Mr. D'Souza. E-mail, he added, may begin to connect family members, though automobiles and a mobile society allowed them to move far away from one another.
Other speakers included Rep. Jo Ann Davis, Virginia Republican; author Michael Medved and Heritage Foundation analyst Patrick Fagan.

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