Paderborn city hall
Authorities in Paderborn, Germany, today sent two fathers to jail for refusing to allow the public school system to indoctrinate their children with a sex philosophy that “if it feels good, do it.” Another student’s mother already had been imprisoned for the same offense.
The latest developments in Germany’s campaign to make certain all children are taught the state’s permissive view of sexuality have raised questions about the basic human rights of parents to choose moral teaching for their children.
Officials with the U.S.-based Alliance Defense Fund immediately filed an emergency appeal to the European Court of Human rights on behalf of Irene Wiens, who was jailed some days ago after her husband served his six-week sentence for refusing for his children the school indoctrination regarding permissive sex.
Then today, Arthur Wiens and Edward Wiens, fathers who also objected to the state’s explicit curriculum choices for their own children, were ordered to jail. Wiens is a relatively common name in Germany.
Roger Kiska, legal counsel with the ADF, told WND via phone from from the Slovak Republic, that the case will come before the international court soon, even though judges there declined to intervene immediately.
The appeal filed on Irene Wiens’ behalf explained the situation.
“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 26 (3) states that, ‘Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children,'” the brief filed on her behalf argues.
Further, “The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child clearly states that the rights of parents are not juxtaposed to the rights of children,” it argues. And, “The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights … states in Article 18 (4) that, ‘the states parties to the present covenant undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions.'”
The precedents don’t stop there, either, the brief argues.
“The Convention against Discrimination in Educations holds in Article 5(1)(b) that it is essential that states, ‘respect the liberty of parents and, where applicable, of legal guardians, firstly to choose for their children institutions other than those maintained by the public authorities but conforming to such minimum educational standards, as may be laid down or approved by the competent authorities and, secondly, to ensure in a manner consistent with the procedures followed in the state for the application of its legislation, the religious and moral education of the children in conformity with their own convictions.”
“Clearly, Irene and Heinrich Weins had legal cause to hold their children from these ‘classes’ which they objectively and sincerely viewed as indoctrination into promiscuous sexual practice,” the brief argues. “Having that right, it is all the more shocking that Mrs. Weins remains in prison at this time.”
Kiska explained to WND the issue is the four days of “sexual education” mandated by the state schools. They include the stage play called “My body is mine” as well as interactive programs that “promoted a very liberal view of sex and sexuality which strongly contradicted Mr. and Mrs. Wiens’ moral and Christian beliefs.”
Kiska told WND there are a total of five families at this point fighting the government over the mandatory sex training. The government has taken the position that they will be punished repeatedly until they give up their children to state indoctrination.
The fathers who were ordered to jail today each already had served one term in prison earlier, he said.
Heinrich and Irene Wiens “were of the conviction that they had acted within the realm of their parental responsibility and in accordance with the parental rights … afforded to them by [German basic law,]” the brief explains.
“The parents, being convinced that they were within their legal and moral rights to protect their children against sexual abuse, removed their four children from the offending theater production and accompanying lessons, and instead opted to educate them in the principles of chastity. Today, Irene Wiens sits in a jail cell simply for believing that she and her husband Heinrich could educate their children by themselves far better than the theater production…”
They are arguing that “such a heavy punishment and extended deprivation of liberty simply for exercising their parental rights is an abuse of the Convention and serves no proportionate aim to the state’s interest in education.”
The ADF has prepared a video on the situation:
Officials with the United Kingdom-based Christian Legal Center said the families all are involved in the Christian Baptist Church, and their values are guided by their faith.
“The duty of Christian parents to pass down Christian teachings (including those on sexual ethics) to their progeny finds a clear precedent in the Bible. The Wiens’ case is a worrying example of the state infringing on the right of Christians to do just this,” the organization said in a commentary.
It noted the recent U.K. case of Eunice and Owen Johns, who were barred from caring for foster children because they refused to promoted homosexuality to children. Attorneys working on the case recommended their clients not appeal a court loss – as the combination of judicial activism and misguided laws makes justice for them a virtual impossibility.
“In both of these cases, the state is effectively legislating morality, which in many instances is a morality that directly opposes biblical values,” said Andrea Minichiello Williams, chief of the center. “Christians in Europe will be watching eagerly to see whether the ECHR upholds the right of Christian parents…”
The family from Archfield has been targeted by a prosecutor identified as Herwig Mueller, who asserted that jail is the only sufficient punishment for the family’s “crime.”
At the time of the first sentencing hearing, the prosecutor told the family, “You don’t have to worry about the fine, because I will send you to jail.”
The case has been just one of many that have developed in Germany, which represses homeschooling activities based on a Nazi-era ban on homeschooling. That was imposed when Hitler decided none but the state should be allowed to decide what to teach children.
Practical Homeschool Magazine has noted one of the first acts by Hitler when he moved into power was to create the governmental Ministry of Education and give it control of all schools and school-related issues.
In 1937, the dictator said, “The youth of today is ever the people of tomorrow. For this reason we have set before ourselves the task of inoculating our youth with the spirit of this community of the people at a very early age, at an age when human beings are still unperverted and therefore unspoiled. This Reich stands, and it is building itself up for the future, upon its youth. And this new Reich will give its youth to no one, but will itself take youth and give to youth its own education and its own upbringing.”
Wolfgang Drautz, consul general for the Federal Republic of Germany, commented previously on the issue, contending the government “has a legitimate interest in countering the rise of parallel societies that are based on religion.”
Drautz said schools teach socialization, and as WND reported, that is important, as evident in the government’s response when a German family in another case wrote objecting to police officers picking their child up at home and delivering him to a public school.
“The minister of education does not share your attitudes toward so-called homeschooling,” said a government letter in response. “You complain about the forced school escort of primary school children by the responsible local police officers. … In order to avoid this in future, the education authority is in conversation with the affected family in order to look for possibilities to bring the religious convictions of the family into line with the unalterable school attendance requirement.”
In recent years Germany has established a reputation for cracking down on parents who object, for reasons ranging from religious to social, to the nation’s public school indoctrination of their children.
WND has reported several times on custody battles, children being taken into custody and families even fleeing Germany because of the situation.
One of the higher-profile cases on which WND has reported was that of a teen who was taken by police to the psychiatric ward because she was homeschooled.
The courts ruled it was appropriate for a judge to order police officers to take Melissa Busekros, 15 at the time, into custody in January 2007.
Officials later declined to re-arrest her after she turned 16. She was subject to different requirements and simply fled state custody and returned to her family.
WND also recently reported that German officials, who already have forced most of the several hundred homeschool families in the nation into hiding or into court, were targeting another family.
The Home School Legal Defense Association said Thomas and Marit Schaum were ordered to appear in court on similar claims.
WND has reported on German homeschoolers who have been fined the equivalent of thousands of dollars, have been threatened with jail and have even watched their children be confined to a psychiatric hospital, diagnosed with “school phobia.”
One family even fled Germany and was granted asylum in the United States because of the persecution they would face if they would return to Germany.