Children should be seen as a blessing and not a burden on the environment, says Jim Daly of Focus on the Family in response to a group that awarded Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, among others, for committing to have no more than two children or none at all.
On World Population Day, the London-based group Population Matters, which pushes for abortion rights and population control, awarded the Duke and Duchess of Sussex with the “Change Champions” award for "choosing and publicly declaring their intention to limit their family to two" and " ... for taking this enlightened decision, and for affirming that a smaller family is also a happy family."
The group also awarded five other individuals and three groups for "promoting reproductive rights, defending the environment and enlightening the public."
Daly, president and CEO of Focus on the Family, a Chrisitan and socially conservative public policy organization, told The Christian Post in an emailed statement on Friday that parents shouldn't view their children from a secular lens that demeans humanity.
“Family formation is a very personal decision between husbands and wives. We believe strongly that children are not a burden on the environment, but a blessing on so many levels,” Daly said.
“My wife and I also had only two children — should we get an award too? But my greatest regret is that we didn’t have more — a truth which makes our two boys smile,” he added.
Each of the nine winners of the Population Matters award was given a "uniquely designed" award and about $690 (£500) to donate to a cause of their choice.
Two months after the Sussexes' first child was born, Harry interviewed primatologist and anthropologist Jane Goodall for Vogue magazine where they discussed the environment, responsibility and climate change.
It was during that interview when he publicly expressed his desire to have no more than two children in order to “leave something better for the next generation.”
“... But I’ve always wanted to try and ensure that, even before having a child and hoping to have children,” the prince said.
“Not too many! [Laughs],” Goodall replied.
“Two, maximum! But I’ve always thought: this place is borrowed. And, surely, being as intelligent as we all are, or as evolved as we all are supposed to be, we should be able to leave something better behind for the next generation,” Harry said in the interview.
Population Matters claims that when people in “high-consuming countries” like the U.K. have bigger families, there is a “hugely disproportionate effect on the planet” due to the amount of emissions consumed and produced.
While the group awarded the Sussexes for “publicly drawing the connection between family size and the environment,” and the hope that the attention they bring will contribute to "a long term discussion about family size,” they criticized the couple's own impact on the environment.
Harry and Meghan have been frequently criticized for their extensive travel on private jets while advising the public to reduce their carbon footprint. In response to the criticism, Harry previously said he has “unique circumstances," and private travel across the globe is essential to "ensure that my family are safe.”
Population Matters reiterated that the award is “a reflection of something very positive they have done,” not an endorsement of some of their other choices.
“When probably the most famous couple in the world say they choose to stop at two, they help to popularize and normalize that choice,” Population Matters said in a statement. "We know in the U.K., for instance, that about a quarter of all people want to have more than two children. Everyone is entitled and has a right to the family size they choose, and that should never be limited by anyone else.
“The award is not for having two children, it is for publicly stating that they are limiting their family to two children, and identifying the environment as one of the factors in that decision,” the group added. “In so doing, they have stimulated a much needed debate on this subject.”
The couple, who married on May 19, 2018, have a son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, who was born on May 6, 2019, and a newborn daughter, Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, who was born on June 4.
Emily Wood is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org