UPDATE March 1, 2014
The Supreme Court of the United States is considering an appeal from the Romeike family regarding Department of Justice’s reversal of the asylum originally granted to the family by the Immigration Department. The DOJ failed to submit a brief to the court outlining its case, and the court had to demand its presentation. It is expected that the court will decide on Monday whether to hear the case or not.
Source: FOX News
In 2006, Uwe and Hannelore Romeike, German citizens living in Germany, took their children out of the German public school system and began to homeschool them. (Both parents are music teachers.) Since Germany has, for all practical purposes, outlawed homeschooling, the parents were assessed thousands of dollars in fines. According to Uwe, one day the police arrived and took the crying children to school in a police van. Due to their fear that the government would take their children away from them, the Romeikes moved to the United States in 2008, to join the two million children who are legally homeschooled here.
In 2010, the family was granted asylum in the US by an immigration department judge. The Department of Justice, however, is contesting the ruling and the case will now appear before the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in April, 2013. According to the DOJ, homeschooling is not a human right, and therefore not a grounds for asylum. The Romeikes are devout Christians who removed their children from public education due to teachings that are contrary to their religious beliefs. They felt their children were being taught to disrespect authority, and behave in ways contrary to their religious values.
The US DOJ views homeschooling as a “right” granted only to those people who belong to a religious group that “requires” them to homeschool. This administration argues that homeschooling is not an individual right, but a group right, in the same way that they seem to view all rights included in the US Bill of Rights–not as individual rights, but as rights only of the group. As Governor Mike Huckabee says, “This is a chilling idea.”
In Germany, school attendance became mandatory in 1918, but those laws were strengthened in 1938 to promulgate the spread of Nazi ideas, and the same laws continue today. Heavy fines and penalties are imposed on parents who refuse to send their children to government schools in Germany’s 16 states. Parents who continue to home school their children have been brought to court yearly, been imprisoned, and can be deprived of their parental custody rights. German policymakers believe that homeschooling creates “parallel societies” outside the mainstream of German values. They don’t wish to have any “religious or political minorities in Germany.”
The outcome of this case may have a powerful effect on homeschooling laws in the United States. If the ruling supports the concept that the opportunity to homeschool can only exist for people who belong to a group that requires it, thousands of families will lose their hard fought parental rights in this area.
I find it interesting that 11 million illegal immigrants have been released by the DOJ, and can remain in this country (because of “sequestration”), but one family that entered legally, and was legally given asylum by a governmental agency, is now under threat of deportation by the same governmental agency that recently released illegal immigrants. Justice?
What you can do:
- Contact your representatives and express your concern over the DOJ’s interpretation of legal, American rights and to whom they apply
- Contact your representatives to support the Romeike family
- Pray for the family, the court case, and Germany
- View this video of Mike Huckabee interviewing the lawyer representing a homeschooling organization.
Father in heaven, it seems like the world is all upside down–people calling white black, and black white. I pray for the Romeike family. They have uprooted their entire way of life in order to provide the education they want for their children. They have followed the laws, received political asylum, and lived a productive life in the United States. I pray that you will intervene in their behalf, and in behalf of all people who seem to be systematically being deprived of their “inalienable, God given, individual rights.” I pray for wisdom for the judge who hears the case, the lawyers who are defending our basic human rights, and the family whose lives depend on what the ruling is. It is for freedom that You have set us free, so let freedom ring, Lord! Strengthen Uwe and Hannelore, comfort their children, and provide for their defense. We pray for the government of Germany, Father. Give them the will to embrace diversity, rather than attempting, once again, to stamp it out from their society. Bring them the wisdom to rethink their stand on the rights of individuals and parents. All people have the right to worship You, or not, in their own individual way. In Your name, Amen.
Sources: Al Jazeera