By John Jalsevac

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, July 20, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - World famous opponent of South African apartheid, Nelson Mandela, celebrated his 89th birthday last Wednesday by announcing the formation of a Global council of elders, known simply as "The Elders."

So far The Elders includes Kofi Annan, Desmond Tutu, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Mary Robinson, Jimmy Carter, Li Zhaoxing, Muhammad Yunus, Ela Bhatt, Graca Machel, and, of course, Nelson Mandela. 

The group of high-profile international leaders is intended to be an independent body of "wise" men and women that will use their combined experience to solve any of the host of problems currently facing the "global village". "The only agenda of The Elders is that of humanity," reads The Elders’ website.

"I see The Elders as a small but independent group that may fill an existing void in the world community," said Elders member, former U.S. president Jimmy Carter. Carter claimed that the group is "almost impervious to the consequences of outside criticism." Members of The Elders cannot currently be in political office, with the intent of creating a non-partisan body.

Nevertheless, while some would debate the notion that the members of the group are ‘non-partisan’ in the first place, what is more certain is that its members are by and large united by a common commitment to radical social liberalism and population control.

The Elders is the brainchild of British entrepreneur Richard Branson, owner of Virgin, and singer Peter Gabriel, who together approached Mandela about the project a number of years ago. According to The Times Online, the pair has already raise £9 million for the group, which will be used for its first three years of operation.

"This group can speak freely and boldly, working both publicly and behind the scenes on whatever actions need to be taken," said Mandela. He continued, outlining The Elders lofty goal: "to support courage where there is fear, foster agreement where there is conflict, and inspire hope where there is despair."

However, with one of the primary figureheads of the group being the Anglican priest Desmond Tutu, who is well known to pro-life and pro-family advocates for his vociferous support of "family planning," including abortion in certain circumstances, and for criticizing the Catholic Church for its teachings on homosexuality and contraception, it is unlikely that The Elders’ agenda will be as innocuous as Mandela’s statement indicates.

"I’m not particularly reassured by that group," said Jim Hughes, president of Campaign Life Coalition, Canada and vice-president of International Right to Life. "Given that almost all of the members of the group are well-known, powerful figures in pro-abortion, pro-population control, pro-everything else circles, I can imagine what sort of ‘wisdom’ they plan on offering the world. Personally, I think the world would be a much better place without that sort of wisdom."  

"The fact that they are touting themselves as the world’s wise men is simply a big joke. I would rather refer to them as the wise-guys. That’s closer to the truth," he said.

  Austin Ruse, the president of C-Fam, a non-profit, non-partisan research and educational institute focusing on international social policy, had similar remarks about The Elders. “Rather than ‘the Elders’, the group should be called the Crotchety Left Wing Gasbags," said Ruse. "I am certain they will only bloviate on radical social policy. Only the hard left could cook up something so cringe-worthy.”

  The group also includes the former head of the World Health Organization, Dr. Gro Bruntland, who, during her stint as Director-General of the WHO pushed for abortion, contraception, and population control under the euphemism of "reproductive health" and women’s health 

  Kofi Annan, another member of The Elders, is one of the world’s foremost defenders of population control, and has long supported same-sex "marriage" and human cloning. At the Cairo+5 sessions in 1999, Annan stated that "since Cairo" the world understands "we have to stabilize the population of this planet…. There is a limit to the pressures our global environment can stand. One form of pressure is the sheer size of the world’s population." Annan’s solution to this "pressure" is the now entrenched agenda of the UN - to pressure countries around the world to allow for abortion and contraception on demand.

  Even more astonishingly, The Elders has welcomed Li Zhaoxing, the former Foreign Minister of communist China, as one of its "wise" men. Zhaoxing was the foreign representative for a country that is known for extensive human rights abuses, including a coercive one-child policy that has resulted in forced abortion and forced sterilizations. In one question and answer session at the Institute for Corean-American Studies, Inc. in 2000, Zhaoxing responded to questions about the one-child policy by stating that it is an admirable policy worthy of emulation elsewhere.

"Generally speaking," said Zhaoxing about the one-child policy, "this policy reflects the interests of the nation and people support it. And we really don’t know why some politicians in this country (America) don’t. I believe if they go to China and see for themselves, they would have a different idea."

  Other Elders include Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, who, during her tenure at the UN, was one of the most outspoken proponents of homosexuality and abortion under the guise of protection from discrimination based on "sexual orientation" and "reproductive rights." Another member, Graca Machel, Nelson Mandela’s wife, has pushed for universal access to contraception as being an integral part of "women’s health." Nelson Mandela himself also has a pro-abortion record, and has in the past proved himself an advocate of the pro-homosexual movement.

  The Elders have not yet announced the particulars of what, exactly, they plan on doing, but have indicated that they are embarking on a several month-long process of forming an agenda for the group.

See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

  United Nations Chief Kofi Annan Endorses Human Cloning
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2004/oct/041021a.html

  U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan Supports Homosexual ‘Marriage’
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2003/aug/03080501.html

  Kofi Annan Enthusiastically Accepts Award from Radical Abortion Promoters
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2004/mar/04030403.html

MARY ROBINSON RESIGNS FROM UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS
  http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2002/mar/02031805.html 

  In 1996, Mandela signed into law one of the world’s most pro-abortion laws
  http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2001/nov/01112003.html

  See the Elders website
  http://www.theelders.org/