Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

U.S. Department of Justice arguing that homeschooling is not a right

Here’s a post on the Washington Times Communities page.

Excerpt:

In 1938, the practice of homeschooling was outlawed in Germany by Adolf Hitler and the infamous Third Reich. It was a rough period in German history, as thousands of young people were being pried from their parents’ direction and authority and drafted into the Hitler Youth program, where they were supposed to be trained as Aryan supermen (and women). In a few short years, vast numbers of these youth would be bleeding out on the battlefields of Europe, on the wrong side of the war for the soul of the world.

Sadly for freedom and for many families, Germany has never lifted this archaic and totalitarian ban on homeschooling. On the contrary, the German government seems to have stepped up its opposition to homeschooling over the past decade, forcing several families to flee, and others to enroll their children in state-approved schools against their will. The German Supreme Court has stated that the purpose of the homeschooling ban is to, “counteract the development of religious and philosophically motivated parallel societies.” It sounds like they aren’t really big on religious or philosophical diversity over there.

Some notable victims of this small-minded and grasping totalitarianism are Uwe and Hannelore Romeike and their five children. Uwe and his wife are music teachers and evangelical Christians who for years have been unsuccessfully seeking the right to homeschool their children. The Romeikes withdrew their children from German public schools in 2006, after becoming concerned that the educational material employed by the school was undermining the tenets of their Christian faith, and that the school was not providing their children with an ideal learning environment. “I don’t expect the school to teach about the Bible,” Mr. Romeike said, but “part of education should be character-building.”

After accruing the equivalent of around $10,000 in fines, and facing police visits to their home and the forcible removal of their children from the home, the Romeikes fled Germany in 2008 to seek asylum in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Their case was taken up by the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), which helped the Romeikes in 2010 to become the first family ever granted asylum in the US for the protection of their homeschooling rights.

The HSLDA explains, “The U.S. law of asylum allows a refugee to stay in the United States permanently if he can show that he is being persecuted for one of several specific reasons. Among these are persecution for religious reasons and persecution of a ‘particular social group.’ ”

On January 26, 2010, Memphis federal immigration judge Lawrence Burman granted the Romeikes political asylum, ruling they had a reasonable fear of persecution for their beliefs if they returned to their homeland. Judge Burman also denounced the German policy heatedly. In a statement, he called it, “utterly repellent to everything we believe as Americans.”

[...]The Romeikes were able to continue quietly homeschooling their children in a small Tennessee town. For a time.

Sadly, their period of respite was not to last. The Romeikes’ case is now before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, with the US government seeking to revoke their asylum and force them to return to Germany. And the details of Attorney-General Holder’s arguments in the brief for Romeike v. Holder are sinister, to say the least.

According to Holder, parents have no fundamental right to home-educate their children.

Please read the whole thing. It always amazes me that people who voted for secularism and leftism claim to be Christians. If you are trying to raise your children to be authentic, effective Christians, then you do not promote any law or policy that takes away your right to pull them out of schools that are not partnering with YOUR GOALS. Christians should never vote to vote a public school system that not only is at odds with Christianity and morality, but may not even be doing a good job of teaching math, science and technology correctly. We need to have the option to opt out of attending failing schools. I think we should even have the option to opt out of FUNDING failing schools. I am opposed to mandatory taxation for homeschooling parents.

You can read more about this story here on the Christian Post, as well.

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8 Responses

  1. Kunoichi says:

    Another family escaped Germany at about the same time as the one above (I believe the two families are friends, if I remember correctly) and now live in my current province, are registered with the same board we are and even have the same home school facilitator we do. They are truly an inspiration. Even though they are in Canada, they are under the radar to protect their privacy, but they were willing to be interviewed anonymously for our board’s newsletter. It’s heartbreaking to see there are so many families around the world struggling, just because they want to uphold their responsibilities as parents and educate their own children.

    We take it for granted. Where I live now, our provincial government has been very supportive of home schoolers, yet we recently had a battle not only with our current provincial government, but within our home school community, to prevent unbelievable state control over our own homes and lives. “Liberal” homeschoolers were in favour of the changes, convinced that it would prevent parents from “teaching their children to hate.” They were in complete denial as to just how far-reaching and dangerous the proposed amendments really were. Their arguments in favour of the changes sounded a lot like the “counteract the development of religious and philosophically motivated parallel societies” argument.

    My family is near the end of our home schooling journey, and I’ve seen a lot of positive changes even in my time, yet we still need to be ever vigilant against government intrusion and control. You’d think this would be one area that “conservative” and “liberal” home schoolers could agree on, but apparently many of the “liberal” home schoolers only believe in “liberty” for homeschoolers if all parents are made to educate their own children in ways they approve of. Somehow, they couldn’t imagine that this same amendment would have directly affected their choices and given government control of their home lives, too.

  2. Kunoichi says:

    As an adendum, in Canada, home schooling is considered a constitutional right. It specificially states that parents are responsible for educating their children, not any level of government. The government’s role is to support the parents, and public schooling is part of that.

  3. Drew says:

    This is also why Christians must be involved in politics. The Germans don’t even try to hide that the reason public schooling is mandatory is to ensure uniform indoctrination.

    • Right. They are suspicious of what parents might tell their children that is not compatible with the state’s views and priorities. That’s what public schooling is all about.

  4. The right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children is a logical result of the existence of the natural family. The natural family, as a naturally-existing entity, has its own natural rights and responsibilities. Thus, parents have a natural right (i.e. inalienable right) to direct the upbringing of their children. The only time this right can be removed is when the parents’ choices are in conflict with the child’s natural rights. Thus, children can and should be removed from their parents’ home when they are being abused and their life and/or health are in danger. However, short of real abuse, parents have rights that should not be usurped by government.

    When a society, such as ours, begins to deny that the natural family exists, it is no wonder that parental rights are also ignored and trampled on. Our society is denying that there is any natural order. The claim there is no difference between males and females and that there is no natural way that a family should be. They ignore the fact that children are naturally produced by the union of a man and woman, and pretend that any two people (whether related to the child or not) can be equally considered as parents. Thus, by ignoring and destroying the natural family, they are also ignoring parental rights.

    The scary thing about this whole progression is that without a government recognition and protection of the rights of the family, each person is seen as an individual ward of the state. Children have no right to be raised by their mother and father; parents have no right to raise their children. Family is seen as whatever government decides it is, and that can change at will. Children belong to the state, and parents are simply granted the privilege of raising their children until government decides that it is in their best interest otherwise.

  5. allisonkoons says:

    You’re right. The government wasn’t designed to have a hand on/in education. God knew what He was doing all along.

    • Well, the government can have a role, if the parents want them to, if the parents think it is useful, and good value for money. But if the parents want homeschooling or private schools, then they should be able to opt out of public schools and not pay for things they don’t use.

      • Oh, but if the public schools were only paid for by the people who used them, then people would realize they aren’t free. The only reason many people send their kids to school is because it’s “free.” If we didn’t force everyone to contribute to the public school system, the people would have options. They could pick a different school if the public school wasn’t very good. Their kids could get a better education. We can’t have that. It sounds like too much freedom. They wouldn’t be dependent on the government anymore.

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