The Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration, Ellen Sauerbrey, has long been a friend of Life and the natural family. This has made her a target for those who are not.
Secretary Sauerbrey recently received a harshly worded letter signed by 19 European Union politicians, which urged her not to attend this year’s World Congress on Families IV.
The World Congress, to be held in Warsaw from May 11–13, is a perfectly respectable and thoroughly international coalition of pro-life leaders, organizations, and scholars headed up by Allan Carlson, who also serves as president of the Howard Center. The Population Research institute is a co-sponsor of this year’s Congress, as it has been of past Congresses.
EU Politicians Send Warning
The EU politicians told Sauerbrey that by going to Warsaw she would “provide an official U.S. government stamp of approval to extremist and intolerant views held by some participants and attendees.” The letter went on to list some of these “intolerant extremists” by name, including Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, the head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, and Population Research Institute’s own Steven W. Mosher.
The EU politicians, who represent only a handful of the EU Parliament’s 726 members, took Mosher to task for speaking openly of Europe’s demographic decline, something he freely admits doing. But they then went on to falsely assert that PRI “claims that Muslims are to blame” for all of Europe’s problems. They quote, as an example of this so-called extremism, a statement from PRI’s website: “These immigrants, particularly Muslim ones in Europe, are too many and too culturally different from their new countries’ populations to assimilate quickly, and they are contributing to the cultural suicide of these nations as they commit demographic suicide.”
“We stand by our statement that Europe is facing demographic catastrophe,” says Mosher. “Anyone looking at the falling birthrates in countries from Ireland to Russia cannot help but conclude that present-day Europeans are committing a kind of national suicide.” The passage quoted by the EU politicians does not blame Muslims as such for Europe’s demographic collapse, Mosher points out. “Europe’s decline is obviously not caused by Muslim immigration,” Mosher said. “Rather, high rates of Muslim immigration are a consequence of Europe’s decline. The workers have to come from somewhere. And since they come from a very different culture, they will obviously be harder to assimilate.”
An Act of Desperation
Allan Carlson called the letter “an act of desperation.” He noted that it was the EU politicians, not the pro-life, pro-family advocates who will be attending the Congress, who “are afraid of ideas about the family: which diverge from their own.”
The letter may have been the work of the pro-abortion group, Catholics for a Free Choice (CFFC), who first leaked it to the press in an April 17 press release. CFFC president Jon O’Brien called Sauerbrey’s decision to address the conference “scandalous” and accused her of hypocrisy, saying: “While the Bush administration is obviously conservative, does it really want to be seen in Europe as giving a mark of approval to the homophobic, sexist and intolerant views that will be on display at this conference?
PRI is pleased that Ellen Sauerbrey has rejected this kind at intolerant bullying. “Secretary Sauerbrey’s appearance at the Congress will help Europe race up to the grim realities of demographic decline.” Mosher said. “We welcome the wrong-headed and probably barren politicians who signed this misleading letter to join us at the conference as well,” he added. “They might learn something.”
The World Congress of Families convenes on May 11–13, 2007 at the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, Poland. For more information, visit www.worldcongress.org.
Colin Mason is the Media Director at PRI.