Thursday, September 11, 2014

"Large Families: The Future of Humanity" Under Way in Moscow

As discussed in a prior post, the "Large Families: The Future of Humanity" conference is taking place in Russia. The Moscow event has attracted Religious Right figures from around the globe and courted no small amount of controversy. Right Wing Watch has diligently monitored Russian media outlets for news on the conference, and I have cited several of the Russian articles they unearthed (with the help of Google Translate, of course).

Scheduled speakers and moderators at the conference include Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, Errol Naidoo, Theresa Okafor, Family Watch International's Sharon Slater, Real Women of Canada's Gwendolyn Landolt, C-FAM's Austin Ruse, NOM's Brian Brown, World Congress of Family's Don Feder, and Miriam Grossman, author of a controversial book attacking comprehensive sex education.

The conference program features workshops on safeguarding the "traditional family" against feminists and LGBT activists.

  • Civilization of Comfort and Death of the Traditional Family

  • Life-Negative and Anti-Family Agenda at the UN

  • Dignity of African Women in the Era of Radical "Gender and Reproductive Rights"

  • International Promotion of Feminism and Gender Agenda Against Marriage and Childbearing

  • How LGBT Activists Destroy Traditional Values in the West

  • Endangered Russia 2140: Challenges for Strengthening Economic Support for Families with Children and Stimulating the Birth Rate

Much of the rhetoric at the conference focused on praising the "traditional family", preserving civilization from perceived enemies, and encouraging marriage and childrearing. Natalia Yakunin, the chair of the event's organizing committee, hoped that the event could contribute to an international movement for the "traditional family", reports Rossiyskaya Gazeta.
Раньше невозможно было представить ситуацию, когда естественную, традиционную семью приходилось бы защищать ... Надеемся, что в итоге мы придем к созданию международного движения в поддержку традиционной семьи, в котором примут участие государство, общество и церковь.

"Previously, it was impossible to imagine a situation where a natural, traditional family would have to defend [itself] ... We hope that in the end, we arrive at the establishment of an international movement in support of the traditional family, which will be attended by the state, society and the Church." 
Rossiyskaya Gazeta also quoted Don Feder of the World Congress of Families, who was delighted that "the Cold War is over; now we are together in favor of the family and family values." Larry Jacobs of the World Congress of Families called the family "a source of peace and stability" and a bulwark against civilization-destroying forces.
Русские философы говорили, что потребительство и эгоизм ведут к разрушению цивилизации - традиционная семья восстает против этих явлений. Мы хотим напомнить миру, что Бог и традиционная семья - это основа благополучия общества.

"Russian philosophers said that consumerism and selfishness lead to the destruction of civilization. The traditional family rebels against these phenomena. We want to remind the world that God and the traditional family is the basis of the well-being of society."
According to the the Press Service of the Charity Foundation of St. Basil the Great, Yelena Mizulina praised Russia for remaining faithful to family values. Mizulina, chair of the Russian State Duma Committee on Family, Women, and Children and one of the architects of Russia's anti-gay law, argued that Russia must make a choice regarding the path it will take.
Мир и христианская цивилизация находятся сегодня на изломе, перед выбором: будем ли мы жить согласно христианским ценностям — ценностям естественной семьи, либо мы выберем совершенно иной путь ... Я очень рада, что живу в той стране, которая несмотря на социальные эксперименты прошлого века, несмотря на войны, несмотря на достаточно длительный период воинствующего атеизма, осталась верной ценностям традиционной семьи.

"Peace and Christian civilization are on a fissure today, faced with a choice: whether we live according to Christian values, the values ​​of the natural family, or [whether] we will choose a completely different way ... I am very glad that I live in the country which, despite the social experiments of the last century, despite the war, despite the rather long period of militant atheism, remained true to the values ​​of the traditional family."
Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill spoke at the conference, telling his audience that love and devotion are strongly manifested in large families. He urged listeners to combat the "distrust and fear" that people have for large families.
Мы должны переломить недоверие и страх, которые существуют в отношении многодетности, вернуть многодетным родителям то уважение, которое они заслуживали, потому что из всех добрых и прекрасных человеческих дел рождение и воспитание детей — одно из самых великих

"We must reverse the distrust and fear that exist for large families, families with many children, to return the respect that they deserve, because [out of] of all the good and beautiful human affairs, birth and upbringing of children [is] one of the greatest."
At the website for the Foundation of St. Andrew and the Centre of National Glory, Patriarch Kirill was quoted as dismissing modern notions of marriage.
В последние годы мы сталкиваемся с попытками пересмотреть само представление о семье, изменить культуру и законодательство, чтобы понятие семьи было искажено и разрушено. Человека пытаются представить как изолированного индивидуума, вступающего с другими в некие договорные отношения, которые он может в любой момент разорвать. Брак воспринимается как контракт! Но не может быть счастья без самоограничения.

"In recent years, we are faced with attempts to reconsider the very idea of ​​the family, to change the culture and the law, [and thus] the concept of family has been distorted and destroyed. People are trying to present [themselves] as an isolated individual, to join with others in some contractual relationship that he may at any time break. Marriage is seen as a contract! But there can be no happiness without self-restraint."
Russian president Vladimir Putin also shared a message about large families with conference attendees. According to the Foundation of St. Andrew and the Centre of National Glory, Putin claimed that "large-scale demographic challenges" and "eroded moral values" have brought about a crisis for the institution of the family. "I am convinced that everything must be done to [make] a large family with many children the norm, enjoying high public recognition," he said.

The vision being celebrated at "Large Families: The Future of Humanity" is one of large families and retrograde values, which they see as under attack from outside forces. This vision allows no room for feminism, LGBTQ equality, or diverse definitions of marriage and family.

Equally troubling are some of the people involved in the conference. Russia passed a law banning gay "propaganda" in 2013, and Yelena Mizulina, one of the law's architects, helped organize the conference, according to Mother Jones. Mizulina has also been placed under U.S. sanctions due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, reports Pink News. Vladimir Putin, who defended the anti-gay law and has drawn criticism for his human rights record, shared a message at the conference. Neither Putin nor Mizulina's reputations stopped attendees from participating in the conference, which says volumes about their priorities. How can Religious Right figures wax poetic about values when they rub shoulders with people like this?

To read additional commentary, visit the following links.

Box Turtle Bulletin: Brian Brown, Sharon Slater Are Also At Moscow’s Totally-Not-The-World-Congress-Of-Families

Queerty: Are American Homophobes Playing Close To The Line With U.S. Sanctions Against Russia?


  1. "Large Families: The Future of Humanity"

    They can't even get the basic concept right. Over the last fifty years most of the Third World has made heroic efforts to get birth rates down, recognizing this as a key to economic progress; limited education budgets go further when divided among fewer children. The effect is most marked in Latin America. Mexico cut its birth rate from 7 children per woman in 1950 to 2 children per woman in 2000, and has since seen spectacular growth. The exception is Sub-Saharan Africa, where birth rates have remained high and economies are stagnant or even regressing as population growth eats up whatever increase in production is achieved. But that's apparently the model these religious busybodies want their own societies to follow.

    As for Putin, if he's concerned about families, he should stop fomenting war in eastern Ukraine, where thousands of people -- all of them somebody's sons or daughters -- have died as a result of his machinations.

    1. Infidel -- Excellent analysis. This conference was never really about family or progress, or else it would base its proposals on evidence. The conference is about promoting a retrograde value system, which would have negative consequences in the real world.

      How these people can talk about families, life, and happiness on one hand and break bread with Putin on the other hand is beyond me. How can they ignore his aggression toward Ukraine and his human rights record?

  2. Very disturbing. Rallying people against perceived enemies is a stale old trick that unfortunately still works.

    1. Donna -- It's a trick that the Religious Right never gets tired of using. Their bombastic language about preserving family and civilization from outside threat is all too familiar.

  3. Keep women pregnant to keep them quiet and uneducated.

    1. Heather -- Bingo. That's what much of this is about, and plenty of smart women can see it.


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