A WFWP/UPF conference, part of the on-going ‘Educating for Peace’ series on, was held in Toronto on January 11, 2014 on the specific theme, ‘Stable Families Bring Prosperity, Peace and Integrity to the Nation’. It was compromised of 3 panels, with time for questions and answers and was very ably guided by Dr. Armand LaBarge, retired Police Chief of Peel. Rev. Earl Smith of the Church of Scientology offered the Invocation and Dr. Moon Shik Kim, the Canada UPF Chairman, welcoming remarks…
The first panel’s topic was, ‘Is the family in decline, as values are lost, leading to anarchy and chaos?’ guided by Eveline Stewart of Hamilton WFWP. To begin Nazila Isgandarova looked at the question from a Muslim perspective. Originally from Azerbaijan, Nazila is well aware of the challenges face by the immigrant population and, given that our identities are formed in the family, has seen the results of dysfunctional Muslim families, those which cannot live up to the dictates of the Koran. Thus the Muslim divorce rate is rising in N. America, with all of its resultant problems. Yet still the historical benefits of the Koran’s teaching in controlling and increasingly ending polygamy and creating equality for women must always be remembered.Nazila was followed by Chelomie Colchrist, a Christian. Chelomie stressed that stable families need both husband and wife modeling ‘godly principles’ and that children cannot be left to raise themselves. Inspiring the audience that, “We are the change”, Chelomie underscored the power of the family to set the foundation to be passed on to the future.
This theme was continued by Rev. Mitch Dixon, Unificationist and Co-Chairman of the Toronto UPF. Using Rev. Moon’s remarks that lineage is more important than love or life and that the loss of lineage caused God the greatest pain, Rev. Dixon asked us to think forward 5 or 20 generations. He then compared the lineages of two early pioneer Americans, one starting with Max Juke, as studied in Richard L. Dugdale’s “The Jukes: A Study in Crime, Pauperism, Disease and Heredity”, the other beginning with the preacher Jonathan Edwards. From the preacher descended judges, professors, senators, mayors, even a vice-President. From the hard drinking, womanizing Juke came murderers, prostitutes, alcoholics, vagrants and bank robbers!
The second panel was a perspective on marriage and family from two young adult Unificationists, Sharon Fuchs and Miki Young. They warmed and won the audience’s hearts with their testimonies of their ‘matchings’ to their respective spouses, Sharon’s German, Miki’s Japanese, followed by the story of the development of real, substantial relationships and the difficulties they have so far faced and overcome.
After a delicious lunch, much enjoyed by all, Rev. Stoyan Tadin addressed the conference theme with his normal humor, passion and intelligence. Rev. Stoyan Tadin delivered the keynote addressed on the topic of “Stable Families Bring Prosperity, Peace, and Integrity to the Nation.” Rev. Stoyan was explicitly clear that the
most serious problem humankind is facing today is the gradual destruction of family values due to uncontrolled check upon immorality and erosion of divine values. The stability in families comes through love between one man and one woman,which is the basis of pro-creativity designed by God.
The final panel, convened by Lilly Tadin, Canada WFWP Chairwoman, dealt with, ‘How do Religious Norms and Values add Stability to the Family. Has this been weakened by hypocrisy?’ Sandra Palin of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, shared the great value of Monday evening family night from when she was growing up right until today. Coming from a family of 9 she remembered how she loved it when all the family baked together. This tradition reflects the great value her church places on the family as, ‘ordained by God’ and that we are accountable before God.
Rev. David Stewart of the Unification Church looked at the commonly held assumption that divorce is as prevalent in Christian families as it is in the non-religious. Despite the problems faced in religious families he concluded that active, committed religious homes do indeed provide greater stability than the norm. David was followed by Mrs. Kim Auckbaraullee graciously reading the presentation of the sadly absent Prof. Sahar Al-Majali, which provided insights from an Islamic perspective on the question at hand. Prefacing her remarks as to the centrality of the family in the Abrahamic faiths and other world religions as well as its sociological importance Prof. Al-Majali said that also, “the family was in all stages as a mirror that reflects the society in which it was created”. Thus despite the respect Islam has for the family and the care with which Islam has crafted its norms and values to protect the family and its members it has always been and remains under “waves of attack”. This is why Prof. Al-Majali exhorted all present to work hard to prevent greater disintegration and collapse of the family and Muslims to adhere strictly to the family norms and values of their religious tradition.
-Photographs by E. Young