Uwe and Hannelore Romeike are Christians and the parents of six children. When their kids attended the German public schools, they were bullied and harassed because of being Christians. The parents began looking into the schools and what their kids were being taught. They found a number of objectionable and inappropriate things in the textbooks that they didn’t want their kids learning.
They strongly believed that their children would receive a better education grounded in biblical principles by being schooled at home rather than having their children indoctrinated by the German schools. Uwe said:
“We knew that homeschooling would not be an easy journey.”
However, the German government had made homeschooling illegal and actively pursued Christian families who tried to homeschool their children. In 2008, the Romeike family was ripped apart when government officials stepped in and forcibly removed the kids from the home. The parents were fined thousands of euros.
Their only hope was to seek political asylum in a country that allowed Christians to homeschool, so they applied to the US for asylum. A US immigration judge ruled in 2010 that the family did face persecution from the German government and granted the Romeike family political asylum. The family moved and settled in Tennessee.
Remember at last month when President Obama issued his Religious Freedom Day proclamation? He said:
“Today, we also remember that religious liberty is not just an American right; it is a universal human right to be protected here at home and across the globe. This freedom is an essential part of human dignity, and without it our world cannot know lasting peace.”
“As we observe Religious Freedom Day, let us remember the legacy of faith and independence we have inherited, and let us honor it by forever upholding our right to exercise our beliefs free from prejudice or persecution…”
Here’s how he lives up to his statement.
US Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Homeland Security are fighting the political asylum status. Holder claims that the family’s fundamental rights have not been violated by Germany’s law forbidding families from homeschooling. They have asked the courts to withdraw the family’s political asylum and have them deported back to Germany.
The Home School legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is representing the Romeikes family and fighting to have them stay in the US. They say that:
“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.’”
“In most asylum cases, there is some guesswork necessary to figure out the government’s true motive—but not in this case. The Supreme Court of Germany declared that the purpose of the German ban on homeschooling was to ‘counteract the development of religious and philosophically motivated parallel societies.’”
“This sounds elegant, perhaps, but at its core it is a frightening concept. This means that the German government wants to prohibit people who think differently from the government (on religious or philosophical grounds) from growing and developing into a force in society.”
“The Romeikes’ case is before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. The case for the government is officially in the name of the Attorney General of the United States. The case is called Romeike v. Holder. Thus, the brief filed by the U.S. Department of Justice is filed on behalf of the attorney general himself—although we can be reasonably certain he has not personally read it. Nonetheless, it is a statement of the position of our government at a very high level.”
“We argued that Germany is a party to many human rights treaties that contain specific provisions that protect the right of parents to provide an education that is different from the government schools. Parents have the explicit right to give their children an education according to their own philosophy.”
“While the United States government argued many things in their brief, there are three specific arguments that you should know about.”
“First, they argued that there was no violation of anyone’s protected rights in a law that entirely bans homeschooling. There would only be a problem if Germany banned homeschooling for some but permitted it for others.”
“A second argument is revealing. The U.S. government contended that the Romeikes’ case failed to show that there was any discrimination based on religion because, among other reasons, the Romeikes did not prove that all homeschoolers were religious, and that not all Christians believed they had to homeschool.”
“This argument demonstrates another form of dangerous “group think” by our own government. The central problem here is that the U.S. government does not understand that religious freedom is an individual right. One need not be a part of any church or other religious group to be able to make a religious freedom claim. Specifically, one doesn’t have to follow the dictates of a church to claim religious freedom—one should be able to follow the dictates of God Himself.”
“One final argument from Romeikes deserves our attention. One of the grounds for asylum is if persecution is aimed at a “particular social group.” The definition of a “particular social group” requires a showing of an “immutable” characteristic that cannot change or should not be required to be changed. We contend that German homeschoolers are a particular social group who are being persecuted by their government.”
If they are returned to Germany, the couple could be facing more large fines, jail time and the loss of their children. If this is not a violation of the family’s fundamental rights, then I don’t know what is. Perhaps more importantly to all homeschoolers in America is that if Holder wins this case, there is the possibility that it could serve as a legal precedent for Obama’s efforts to outlaw homeschooling here in the US.
What gets me really hot under the collar on this case is that Holder and the DHS are allowing nearly a million illegal aliens to remain in the US, still illegally, while trying to deport a family who only wants to homeschool their children. When Obama penned that proclamation last month, he was lying out both sides of his mouth and had no intention of doing anything for any Christian. He’ll leap tall buildings to defend the rights of Muslim and gays, but he’ll turn his back and walk away from Christians. The hypocrisy of the Obama administration is enough to make me want to vomit.