Rorate Caeli

Religious "tolerance" in Germany ... and the United States

Update: The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals today upheld the Obama Administration’s denial of asylum granted to the Romeike family. Read the latest here. And if you are homeschooling, become members of HSLDA. Don't think our government won't coming knocking on your door one day.

Previous post:

If you haven't followed this story and you home school your children -- or value others' right to home school -- you should start paying attention now.


From the Home School Legal Defense Association:

Yesterday, surrounded by friends and supporters, the Romeike family sat silent in the courtroom before the three-judge panel that will decide whether or not the family can remain in the United States to homeschool their children. The six wooden benches in the small courtroom quickly filled up with homeschooling families—some with children finishing their schoolwork for the day—and several more stood in the back during the 38-minute hearing.

HSLDA Chairman Mike Farris opened the hearing and was quickly peppered by questions by the panel. The judges seemed skeptical as to whether Germany specifically targets homeschoolers. At one point, a judge asked whether Germany persecutes homeschoolers if it permits parents to teach their children at the end of the day, after the child has attended a government school.

In reply, Farris quoted published decisions from German courts, which explained that the ban on homeschooling exists to prevent the development and spread of religious or philosophically-motivated “parallel societies,” and which concluded that it was dangerous for a child to be taught by their mother

When asked about parallel societies, Justice Department attorney Walter Buchinni admitted he did not know what the term meant, but claimed HSLDA was taking the point out of context. Buchinni also admitted that, even if the Justice Department wins the case, he did not know whether the family would be forcibly deported or whether they would be allowed to remain in the United States.

During the final rebuttal, Farris was told that there is no clear anti-Christian bias and that one reason for Germany’s strict public education laws is to teach tolerance. “If that’s tolerance,” Farris replied, “it’s a tolerance unknown in a free society.”

After the case ended, the Romeikes and their supporters filed out of the courtroom and gathered outside the building. Farris cautioned the supporters that there was no accurate way to predict the judges’ decisions solely based on the questions they asked. “I remember arguing a case before a California court in 2008 and being convinced that we had lost,” he said. “We ended up winning unanimously. So I know God can intervene.” ...

He also said that HSLDA will continue to intervene for the Romeikes if the panel returns an unfavorable decision, including a potential appeal to the United States Supreme Court. 

For more information and how you can help, click here.

35 comments:

Hayfarmer said...

Germany threatens homeschooling families with taking their children away from them to prevent parents teaching religion and anything else parents deem important to their children without the State indoctrination. Americans better wake up--the US Justice Department does not promote parents' natural rights to caring for their own children!

Malta said...

They did under W; DOJ follows their Great Leader, Obama!

Anchorite said...

Romeikes cannot go back to Germany. Period. I am not sure how much people can do at this point, other tahn writing and sending monetary support.
Pray, talk to your representative and send money.

St. Corbinian's Bear said...

Two things I'm surprised have lasted this long and expect to change: (1) the ability to homeschool your kids, and (2) free exchange of ideas on the internet. Homeschooling is so important, parents. It not only assures your children of a solid education, but, just as importantly, prevents their indoctrination. It isn't easy, but it is worth it.

Common Sense said...

Modern communistic goverments attempt infringe on our civil liberties more frequently, therefore they must be told to take their grubby hands away and butt off. Yet some modern 'catholics' would like us to put our heads under the their yoke and make us believe, that resisting tyrany is against churchs' teaching. Haven't those freelance 'catholics' heard about Christeros and Vandee? Nothing enrages me more, than gum-flaping of a fool. At the same time, should you decide for home schooling, you MUST be up to the task. The results I've seen so far, only around 25% were succesfull, the rest have been to various extand inadequate. Our kids went to goverment school and did pretty well, however you must be prepared to counter- balance schools' influence at home. The principal notion at our home has always been this: which part of NO don't you understand, we are all here to work and nobody gives you anything for free. With a such firm attitude on part of parents, there no need for beating. So far so good.They're young adults and it's up to them to fullfill the Law and Prophets. They can't plead ignorance.

Wormwood said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hughie said...

I find it difficult to understand how any European government can seek to outlaw homeschooling. On March 20, 1952, the Member States of the Council of Europe adopted Protocl 1 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms signed at Rome on November 4, 1950. ARTICLE 2 of this first Protocol states: "No person shall be denied the right to education. In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religions and philosophical convictions."

Clearly, the presumption of the drafters and signatories is that it is the parents who are responsible for the education of their children. The State may assist them in fulfilling this responsibility, but it cannot usurp them from that role.

Aa Chew said...

@Common Sense

Just to correct your 25% figure of satisfactory home schooling - where did you get that figure from? It contradicts the biggest published studies comparing home schooled children to schooled children e.g. the 37% higher scores in standardised tests (http://www.hslda.org/docs/media/2009/200908100.asp) and lots of research that proves that home-schooling of all types (whether people are doing school at home or unschooling) the academic and social outcomes outstrip anything schools can do, except maybe the top fee-paying schools (which cultivate our 'elite' -the same elite that would wish to crush home-schooling).

Adfero said...

@Common Sense, that number is completely false. Do basic research and you'll find the numbers.

David Joyce said...

The ban on homeschooling in Germany started with the Nazi party in 1938, and upheld by the European Court of Rights in 2003. I'm not sure where they get their notion of "rights", but it certainly isn't for the benefit of the citizens of Europe.

Titus said...

This is a really awful case, but it's made worse by the legal context. The Romeikes are applying for asylum in the U.S., and American asylum law is oddly draconian and Byzantine. I am not at all convinced that the correct "legal" result in an asylum case would in many cases, including this one, be remotely just.

Big Modernism said...

I am continually amazed by the questions asked by judges (here and in the SCOTUS oral arguments on "same-sex marriage). They are dripping in condescension and all based on false premises.

For example, in this case, "The judges seemed skeptical as to whether Germany specifically targets homeschoolers. At one point, a judge asked whether Germany persecutes homeschoolers if it permits parents to teach their children at the end of the day, after the child has attended a government school."

Are you FREAKING kidding me?

The ridiculous assumption here is that, yes, Germany is forcing you to give up your kids for 8 hours a day and then forcibly indoctrinating them with a secular humanist political and moral philosophy hostile to their religious beliefs, but this is hardly "persecution" because in the 3-4 hours or so in-between dismissal and your kids bedtime, you are free to try to rebut their brainwashing and educate them any way you see fit.

But yet, Germany isn't even being that nice, as they do not believe parents have any right to educate their children at all. But regardless, how out of touch with all reality and decency does a judge have to be to actually ask that question?

Judge, if I took your kids away from you for 8 hours a day, and indoctrinated them with Traditional Catholicism and Scholastic philosophy, but still allowed you to do what you wanted with them at nights, would you somehow still consider that persecution?

The root of the problem is, like most roots of problems, found in the novel VCII of mythical "healthy secularism" that somehow wears a happy face and is nice to all religion. In reality, when the state is separated from the Faith then the state's ideology becomes the one true "faith" of the nation, to which all other "faiths" must conform.

"Tolerance", diversity, equality, and sexual license are now Modern western political dogmas. To the extent any citizen claims to protest due to their own heretical "faith", they are committing a criminal act and can be disciplined for the good of the whole. In essence you can never have a permanent "religious liberty" for all. One ideology will always eventually predominate and stamp out all others. Thus, if your state's Faith is not the One True Faith, God help you. We can thank the VCII luminaries, including John Courtney Murray and his disciples like George Weigel for our current descent into oblivion. They worked hard to secularize all formerly Catholic and Christian governments, thereby setting the stage for their own imminent persecution. Now they are starting to reap what they have sown, all the while trying to blame others.

Aged parent said...

That poor family certainly picked the wrong country when seeking asylum.

Katalina said...

While it is true that part of the problem is the poor standards of schools whether charter or secular, homeschooling has been around for a long time. This attempt by secular governments to persecute parents is demonic since it is really none of their business and should not be interfering in what parents want for their children. Its does have shades of both Nazi Germany and Soviet Communism as far as propaganda.

dcs said...

Why don't they simply try to settle in Austria where homeschooling is legal? As citizens of the EU they have the right to reside and work in any EU member State.

Woody said...

As always with these cases, the composition of the panel that heard the case is a very important factor in the probable outcome. I understand that Judges Gilman, Sutton and Rogers were the panel for this appeal, of which Sutton and Rogers are thought to be judicial conservatives (I haven't heard anything about Judge Gilman). What position a judicial conservative would take on a case like this would seem to me to be another question. Probably the decisive factor will be whether they would consider the German law (truly abhorrent, which is a holdover from Hitler's regime, as I understand it) or its application, to be "persecution" within the applicable statutory language and precedent. My undeducated guess is that a judge with a "conservative" mindset, at least in the current legal sense of the term, may not want to engage in any kind of interpretation whcih would expand the scope of the statute, so if that is what the Romeikes need to have happen here, they may be out of luck.

Aa Chew said...

Mass compulsory schooling was invented by the Prussians, as they freely admitted at the time, not for the sake of 'education' but to create a nation of obedient people, ready to do precisely what the State told them to do at any point, including lay down their lives. It was about control only.

The idea that schooling is about education is like saying a fish needs a bicycle.

The German law is just protecting their own invention: to control first, and then to indoctrinate people with the idea that the State is your parent and diety.

Trying to educate your own in Germany breaks some serious taboos there, even after all that has happened, which gives pause for thought. The idea that the US Judges (people serving the US State) understand the views of people who radically reject the ideology of another similar Western state is a tough one.




Dr. Timothy J. Williams said...

Common Sense, your comments about homeschooling make little sense. I have been a university professor for nearly 30 years, at both public and private universities. In my experience, home-schooled students are generally better prepared for college than most. In particular, the products of our public schools arrive at college not only largely ignorant, but generally incapable of being taught anything. They simply lack the habit of learning.

Alexander adulescens said...

"...the ban on homeschooling exists to prevent the development and spread of religious or philosophically-motivated “parallel societies,”"

Puts me in mind of the tribune's question to the Christian soldier in Tertullian's De Corona - Cur tam diuersus habitus?

A law against a parallel society. Like the Church?

Rejoice brothers - with actions like these we are not far from a return to the glorious days when it was illegal to confess Christ. If you are not accustomed to pray to be a martyr, you ought to begin this day.

- adulescens

Common Sense said...

Dr. Timothy, facts and facts only, please. Very senior SSPX priest told me this:" Home schooling in majority of cases hasn't met the standard even of the goverment curriculum, let alone of top private schools. I'm also very concerned about declining perenting standard within traditinal communities. We must pay far greater attention to religious, moral and academic development of our young people." I base my facts from the tests performed by home schooled students along the line of The Australian Independent Scools curriculum and sizable majority were NOT satisfactory. I hope, you'll have something to ponder about.

Gratias said...

It will be hard for homeschooling to remain legal here. It is good to test the system, but it is unlikely the US is going to take all the world's homeschoolers. The problem with letting one family in is equality under the law. But that never stopped the Gays from testing the legal system until they won.

Supertradmum said...

Horrible sign of governments wanting to break up family life and replace the parent as teacher with the government as brainwasher.

I home schooled in both England and America and was happily supported by the local authorities, as well as friends.

My son in now in the seminary, and I happen to believe that the preservation of his faith and therefore, his vocation, is at least partially owing to my decision to home school.

In his year at a real Catholic college in the States, 25% of his class had been home schooled. All had very high entrance exam scores and were all well-adjusted.

Tyranny steals our children from us.

Supertradmum said...

PS, as a former college instructor, my home schooled students were way ahead of the norm and knew how to study.

Unknown said...

The German anti-homeschooling laws were begun in a court ruling made in about 1919 in an effort to keep aristocratic children from receiving a superior education from everyone else and thus keep them from becoming leaders of society. Up until then, noble children usually started their education at home on the family estate with tutors. Alexander von Humboldt, who was the father of German education,
was a big supporter of home education.

apis said...

Aged parent said: "That poor family certainly picked the wrong country when seeking asylum."

They should have tried the approach of illegal immigrants instead.

Mar

Unknown said...

@ common sense et. al.,

It is not the 'success' of home schooling that is the question. It is the natural law right to raise and educate the children God gave you.

Please, let us not get distracted by efficiencies or other sophistries (whose definitions are left to TPTB). Do parents have the right to educate their children with traditional morals and values, or has the godless state usurped these also. That is the only question. A negative answer means the family is free to educate and raise their children. A positive answer means that it is time to raise up the counter-revolution.

alan

Unknown said...

I'm sorry, but a follow up:

If we concede we are talking about efficiency, what is the level of 'success' in the current public school?

Is that what the 25% is measured against? Or is it some arbitrary ideal?

I'm not actually sure that even 25% of public high school students are even graduating in certain districts, let alone being ready for any college or job prospect.

Think about what you are arguing.

Or, get off your butt and teach homeschoolers.

Common Sense said...

Judging by some immoderately formulated responses against factually presented evidence, it looks like that a raw nerve has been touched. Being always mindful of applying generosity, even towards those less-befitting for such an honour, I would dare to humbly advise that taking the rose glasses off would be a step in the right direction.

Daniel Arseno said...

Even if you do not homeschool, please become a member of the HSLDA for the sake of those who do.

Jonathan D'Souza said...

Cannot parents band together so that Home Schooling can be done as a group? Or rather that we can trustfully place our children as a group under the guidance of one parent, perhaps carried out in Parish Hall? Something maybe the diocese could support? And maybe parents can offer some fee to the instructor? Maybe even look into getting the help of retired teachers, private tutors, even college students looking for income? This could all help improve home schooling, heck it'd pretty much be an actual Catholic School free from government coercion.

Adfero said...

Jonathan, most of us don't homeschool because we lack a good Catholic school nearby -- we homeschool because we believe it's better than even a good Catholic school. So while this could be good for some, it's not a viable option for most.

Michael said...

Common Sense, On the internet, we're all from Missouri so...show me.
Earlier you stated "only around 25% were succesfull, the rest have been to various extand inadequate" meaning, of course, that 75% of home-schooled children failed to meet some objective standard of success.

So...
What is the standard used as a measurement?
Where are the sources of the studies showing the results you claim?
Where can I see the results of "tests performed by home schooled students along the line of The Australian Independent Scools curriculum "

Adfero said...

I concur. All tests on homeschooled children in the US shows they're far advanced versus public school children on standardized tests, even when the mother only has a high school diploma.

NBW said...

I don't see why the German family chose the U.S. for homeschooling if there are places in Europe that allow homeschooling. The U.S. govt. has been chomping at the bit to get their grimy fingers on the homeschooling sector for years. We need to pray and to stand up for our rights before they are all taken away. Govt run schools are Godless places. Russia continues to spread it's errors. Bella Dodd's book "School of Darkness" is an excellent example of this.

alsaticus said...

A simple question : why did they seek "asylum" (?) in the USA when homeschooling is entirely legal in most countries of the European Union ?

Being Germans, they are E.U. citizens and so can settle down in any E.U. country.
No "asylum" is needed ...

That's the oddest part of this weird story.