From Joe Carter:
The Story: In a political asylum case involving a German family that fled to the United States to be able to homeschool their children, the U.S. Justice Department is arguing that the freedom to choose to educate one's own children is not a fundamental right.
The Background: In 2010, Uwe and Hannelore Romeike, who lived with their five children in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, were faced with a choice: abandon their Evangelical Christian religious beliefs or lose custody of their children. The Romeikes had withdrawn their children from German public schools in 2006, after becoming concerned that the educational material employed by the school was undermining the tenets of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. After accruing the equivalent of $10,000 worth of fines and the forcible removal of their children from the home, they chose to flee their homeland and seek asylum in the United States.
On January 26, 2010, a federal immigration judge granted the Romeikes political asylum, ruling they had a reasonable fear of persecution for their beliefs if they returned to their homeland. The judge also denounced the German policy, saying it was, "utterly repellent to everything we believe as Americans."
However, President Obama's Justice Department disagreed. They argued that the family should be denied asylum based on their contention that governments may legitimately use its authority to force parents to send their kids to government-sanctioned schools. The case is currently pending in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
This line of argumentation from the Justice Department is obviously quite disconcerting to religious liberty advocates, since it was religious belief that motivated the Romeikes to flee and request asylum in a freer country.
But isn't it also just an intriguing look at our understanding of liberty in general? The decline of the family as the basic building block of society relates to the decline of liberty in fascinating ways.