Ron Strom is commentary editor of WND, a post he took after serving as a news editor since 2000. Prior to coming on board with WND, Strom worked in politics in California. Married and the father of two homeschool graduates, he has served in leadership positions in his church, local nonprofit boards and in county government.More ↓Less ↑
German Christians who choose to homeschool their children are coming under continued enforcement action by the government, with one group of families fearful they may lose custody of their kids.
According to Richard Guenther, an American expatriate who lives in Germany, several families in the town of Paderborn currently “are being heavily persecuted for their faith.”
The families are part of one of two Baptist denominations in the area that reportedly split over the issue of whether or not to continue homeschooling the younger generation.
A meeting is scheduled for today with immigration officials, Guenther says, since the families are Russian-Germans who moved to Germany after the demise of the Soviet Union.
Guenther says if the parents’ attempt to negotiate with government officials fails, the parents could have their children removed from their homes. Thirteen children are threatened with such action.
“The claim of the parents is that the local school is raising the children to be promiscuous and the girls prostitutes,” Guenther writes in an e-mail. “Christian family values are being replaced by the state’s moral values, which are designed to create autonomous individuals. The authority of the parents is not being recognized. As is typical, the parents are declared to be incompetent to raise their children. …”
Guenther shares some of the concerns the Christian families have with state education in Germany:
“Here, the state is replacing the Christian worldview with those of the New Age, particularly the use of its psychological techniques and occultism. Relaxation techniques are being used in school, which include darkening the room and having the small children lie down beside each other, boys and girls together. Using a feather, they are to explore the neighboring child to find out where the most sensitive part of his body lies. They are encouraged to touch their neighbor anywhere on his body.
“Fourth-grade students are shown videos of sexual intercourse and how a baby comes forth from this act. The narrator of the video assures the students that this sexual act feels good and is fun. Homosexuality must be accepted as normal and the children are encouraged to examine themselves as to their own sexual orientation. Darwin’s evolution theory must be accepted as truth.”
Though the German government talks of a mandatory school-attendance law, the homeschooling families say no such law exists. Instead, they cite articles of freedom of religion, freedom of conscience and parental rights that are supposed to be upheld.
As WorldNetDaily reported, Seven homeschooling fathers from the Twelve Tribes Community in Klosterzimmern spent several days in jail last fall for refusing to pay fines that were imposed on them for failing to send their children to government schools.
“Is your government really intent on perpetuating unflattering stereotypes of Germans and Germany? Even Bulgaria tolerates some homeschooling, and it is fully legal in Romania. Do you want the free world to see German educational policy as more backward than that of Bulgaria? Do you want Germany to be known as a repressive society?”
Thomas Wriessnig, head of Cultural Department of the German Embassy responded to Shortt, saying, “Homeschooling may be equally effective in terms of test scores. It is important to keep in mind, however, that school teaches not only knowledge but also social conduct. Daily contact with other students from all walks of life promotes tolerance, encourages dialogue among people of different beliefs and cultures, and helps students to become responsible citizens.”
Wriessnig said Germany had to counter “the rise of parallel societies that are based on religion” and force religious minorities to “remain open and engage in dialogue with those who think differently.”
Shortt told WND: “The situation in Germany gives one a glimpse of what life would be like if the NEA [National Education Association] were in control here.”