romeike-family.jpg

Goethe, the Grimm Brothers, and Bonhoeffer: The Intolerant Ones of German History

In a recent article that garnered some 2,000 comments on NRO, Kevin D. Williamson writes of the plight of homeschooling families in Germany and the Obama Administration’s efforts to ensure that one family in particular does not find refuge in America.

While the inability to homeschool may be dubious grounds for seeking asylum under current U.S. law, the story of the Romeike fam…

  1. Adrian

    Wow, thank you for sharing your story, how terrible!

  2. drlorentz
    Skyler: Marty van, they have no risk of losing their children if they send them to school. I don’t like this, but that is their law. In our country if you don’t pay your taxes you can end up in jail, and thus risk losing your children. Should tax cheats seek asylum from a tax haven nation?

    The tax analogy is inapt. If you don’t pay your taxes it is tantamount to stealing because you benefit from the services anyway, even if you don’t explicitly accept government assistance: national defense, police protection, and all the other aspects of an orderly society. Hence, failing to pay taxes causes direct harm to other citizens.

    It’s hard to claim that anyone outside the family is harmed when the children don’t attend state schools. Furthermore, it’s a stretch to claim that homeschooling child abuse. This is about the state inserting itself in the family and usurping the authority of parents in the home. There can be reasonable disagreement about the scope of state interest in family life, but compelling attendance in state schools is overreach.

  3. Skyler

    I didn’t say I like their law. I think it is repulsive. But nations honor other nations’s laws. In Texas we don’t let other nations tell us we can’t execute murderers. Here we have children who will have to go to school. That hardly seems an onerous law in comparison.

    And from a practical standpoint, this would lower the threshold for asylum so low as to drastically undermine immigration policy. I’m sure Mexico would immediately enact a law similar to Germany’s.

    Germaany’s law is reprehensible, but not sufficiently so as to be a violation of human rights. The kids just had to go to school. Our country had similar laws for quite some time.

  4. Vince Guerra
    Skyler: I didn’t say I like their law. I think it is repulsive. But nations honor other nations’s laws.

    Asylum should be granted by the U.S. to all persons who will face legal persecution at home (in this case losing custody of their children for refusing to submit them to indoctrination) simply for living in a manner that is both legal and culturally accepted in America. When the (German) law that is broken is both immoral and (in your words) “repulsive,” isn’t it the tradition if not the duty for America to provide a refuge?   Isn’t that what we are, and have always been about? I can think of hundreds of other nations laws that we would never honor and rightfully would never expect another human being to suffer under were we able to provide them freedom from.

  5. flownover

    Looks like they are busily normalizing the things that got the Nazis in such trouble. And “they” are the whole EU. With Groningen euthanasia, the home schooling, the forced secularization, their actions look like a mob of well dressed goosestepping idiots . Collective hubris is collective doom, ask Adolf.

  6. Snirtler

    Good post about a depressing reality. 

  7. Podkayne of Israel

    Thank you for writing about this. I read the Metaxas biography of Bonhoeffer this past summer, and when the story about the German home schoolers hit the news, I remembered the way Metaxas described the family’s home schooling and the intellectual and spiritual success so many of them found.Your observations on the meta-goals of the German educational system are fascinating and sad.

  8. jarhead
    C

    Two days ago, the Obama administration filed a brief with the Supreme Court asking them to deny the Romeike family’s petition for a writ of certiorari appealing the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision denying their request for asylum.   It’s unknown if the Supreme Court will take this case.  The Legal Insurrection blog has a good writeup here: 

    http://legalinsurrection.com/2014/01/update-on-romeike-homeschooling-asylum-case/

  9. Michael S
    jarhead: Two days ago, the Obama administration filed a brief with the Supreme Court asking them to deny the Romeike family’s petition for a writ of certiorari appealing the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision denying their request for asylum.   It’s unknown if the Supreme Court will take this case.  The Legal Insurrection blog has a good writeup here: 

    http://legalinsurrection.com/2014/01/update-on-romeike-homeschooling-asylum-case/ · 

    Thanks for the heads up. It seems their chances of remaining in the U.S. are rather slim. A return to Germany would almost certainly mean losing custody of their children.

  10. DrewInWisconsin

    The Wunderlich case is extremely chilling. The Judge had the children taken from their home at gunpoint and won’t let the family leave the country because he fears the children would be homeschooled if that happened.

    Who needs a Berlin Wall when a court can be just as effective?

  11. DrewInWisconsin

    Given the opportunity to provide freedom to a family who is being oppressed by its government, the Obama administration says no.

    Given the opportunity to negotiate a release for a Christian Pastor being held in Iran, the Obama administration simply ignores him.

    What is it with this administration? Are they on the side of freedom, or . . .

  12. flownover

    Can’t we ask the NSA for a recording of that phone call between Arne Duncan and the head of German education ministry ?

    jarhead: Two days ago, the Obama administration filed a brief with the Supreme Court asking them to deny the Romeike family’s petition for a writ of certiorari appealing the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision denying their request for asylum.   It’s unknown if the Supreme Court will take this case.  The Legal Insurrection blog has a good writeup here: 

    http://legalinsurrection.com/2014/01/update-on-romeike-homeschooling-asylum-case/ · 52 minutes ago

  13. Skyler

    It’s not what we are. We established two Islamic republics by force of arms where people aren’t free to worship or speak freely. Requiring children to attend school is positively nice in comparison.

  14. Percival

    The disease, the cure, and now the prophylactic are resembling each other more and more.

    “If you don’t go to our schools and learn how to think like everyone else, you won’t know how to think like everyone else.”

    And what are you going to teach them to think?

    “The value of diversity!”

    That is a bit thick, even for my square-headed cousins.

  15. jarhead
    C

    Given what has happened to the Wunderlich family in Germany, maybe, we can hope and pray, that the Supreme Court will take note and take the Romeike case, and even rule in their favor.

  16. Matty Van

    “homeschooling had a proud tradition in Germany. Goethe, the Brothers Grimm, Humboldt, and Bonhoeffer”

    The geographer Humboldt? Big brother Willhelm? Or both? Willhelm, a linguist, a philosopher, and proto-libertarian, is a favorite of mine. Sadly, he is also the formulator of the Prussian school system, which was imposed on Poles and adopted by the governments of America and Japan. Quite an irony that a homeschooled proto-lib invented one of the most potent tools of government authoritarianism.

    Btw, just googled homeschooling here in Japan. It’s illegal, as in Germany. Groupthink is the norm here, too. But with a twist. A school gestapo descending on your family and confiscating your kids is unthinkable, unless you are intentionally stirring the hornet’s nest. Otherwise it’s live and let live so long as you follow the forms.

    Form (tatemae) is more important than reality (honne). So, if you want to homeschool, you register your kids for the regular school, fill out a couple of short documents to be officially stamped (ie, follow the forms), and then just don’t send them to school. In fact, it seems they can graduate from the school they register for without ever attending.

  17. Illiniguy
    Skyler: And from a practical standpoint, this would lower the threshold for asylum so low as to drastically undermine immigration policy.

    The same Justice Department that wants to deport this family has no trouble turning a blind eye to any number of “sanctuary cities” that refuse to cooperate with the Feds on the issue of illegal immigration. Perhaps there’s one city in this country that could stand up and become a sanctuary city for those who would home school their children. Hillsdale, Michigan comes to mind.

  18. Fake John Galt

    The way I see it the German families need to come to th US as undocumented immigrants then the Obama administration would be falling all over themselves to make them US citizens and give them both rights and financial support.

  19. Hartmann von Aue

    Did you follow the discussion on this topic in Die Welt? The coverage itself was remarkable fair and positive to homeschooling. Some of the comments were simply appalling in their ignorance of the topic they claimed to know enough about to vehemently condemn, but I have seen similar comments in Huffypoo and even Time here. Do you follow the German homeschooling group:  http://www.hausunterricht.org/html/homeschooling.html

    See also: http://www.netzwerk-bildungsfreiheit.de/

    I am appalled by the Obama Administration’s actions in the Romeike case and the German court’s decision in the Wunderlich case. 

  20. Skyler

    I think there is zero chance the supreme court will rule in favor of this family. Going to school is hardly child abuse. Whereas I am deeply sympathetic, it simply is no reason to grant asylum, legally or morally. There is also no reason to insult our friends the Germans. This family is not prevented from practicing their religion. It is well within the power of a government to require schooling, these parents just don’t like the choice of school. Should another nation condemn us for not having a curriculum they approve? This family needs to work to change the laws of Germany.

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