The Long Journey Back Into Night!

We have just been sent this:

“We have just been watching Christian World News on Shine TV Sky channel 111, and they are advertising that next week Tuesday 8.30 pm they will be highlighting and doing a news report on the news about the German Home Educators being persecuted.”

Excerpted from

Joel Thornton’s Weblog

German Home Schooling: The Long Journey Back Into Night!
Published 5 September 2008

Herr “Schmidt” (names cannot be revealed for fear of reprisals) and
his family are facing the loss of everything.  They are German
citizens and love their country.  Their only crime is that they are
home schooling in a country that refuses to allow parents to make
educational choices for their own children.  When Herr Schmidt
insisted on home schooling his children, German officials began
fining him.  Without a trial the government levied fines against Herr
Schmidt and his family that he could not pay.  Government officials
then began to take money from their bank account — money that was
dedicated to feeding their family and maintaining their home. When
there was not enough money in Herr Schmidt’s bank account, government
officials began to evaluate the value of his house with the intent to
put it up for auction.

Though Herr Schmidt and his family have paid thousands in fines….  He and
his family now have a decision to make; one that they never
previously considered. Herr Schmidt told me last year that he would
not leave Germany; his wife was tired and they would not pack up and
leave the country.

Unfortunately for Herr Schmidt and his family, in Germany “the times
they are a changing.”  A new federal law makes it much easier for
government officials to take children from their parents.  When
Melissa Busekros was taken from her parents in the Bavarian town of
Erlangen, one of the legal issues that helped us keep Melissa home
after she finally fled state custody was the need for a qualified
psychological evaluation and a certificate meeting an exacting legal
standard.  These had to be in place before government officials could
take a child permanently from their parents’ custody.

Germany has now removed this legal protection. That means that
families, particularly children, are open game once they are targeted
by government officials.  This new law will leave all families
extremely vulnerable — particularly if they are Christians and home
school their children. The government has free access to all
children, and under threat of fines, imprisonment, and loss of
custody of their children parents are told by social workers what to
do with their children.

The only choice Herr Schmidt has is to flee Germany with his family.
If government officials learn that he is leaving the country with his
children, they will hide behind a recent German court decision that
prohibits parents from exiting the country with their children if the
state believes the parents are not acting in the best interest of
their children.  Parents are still free to leave the country, but
their children will be forcibly put into state custody.

One of the most accepted forms of parents not acting in the best
interest of their children is to home school them. The new law gives
social workers a free hand to determine what is best for the
children. There is virtually no room for argument before the courts
anymore; the child has the right to what a social worker thinks is
the best society has to offer — to go to a German public school.

This does not mean that we will no longer fight in the courts.  It is
critical that we continue to work within the legal system.  Now we
must work in other areas; political, social, the media, and at the
grass roots, to protect the rights of parents and their children.  We
must change the nature of the educational system — something
the International Human Rights Group will be addressing through a
serious of upcoming initiatives.  These focused efforts include
alternative school choices for Germans families and a German language
curriculum to be utilized by German families — of course, this
curriculum would be Christian based.

Unfortunately for Herr Schmidt, government officials have taken every
Euro the family has.  Somehow they have to find the funds to secretly
leave the country before government officials learn they are leaving
and take their children from them.

This is not a fictitious account. Herr Schmidt and his family are
very real people.  I have literally broken bread with them.  I have
sat in their home, eating goulash and fried bread, praying before a
communal meal, learning to love and respect this family.

This account is all too real in the new German war on home schooling.

While government officials are bearing down on German families, we
have been able to win an important victory on behalf of an American
missionary family.  This family came to Germany to help pastor a
church.  They have always home schooled their children, and when they
came to Germany they continued to do so.  When German officials
discovered they were home schooling, they immediately refused to
grant the family a residence visa unless they put their children in
the local government school.  When the Robinsons refused to bend to
the pressure they were given a deportation date — be out of Germany
voluntarily or be forced out of the country.

Because they are Americans, we have been able to use public pressure,
political pressure, and solid legal work to force government
officials to agree to permit the Robinson family to stay in Germany
and fulfill their mission through the end of the year.

The fight to protect the Robinson family lasted nearly a year.  It
was a fight that began in an administrative setting and ended in
court.  Armin and Gabriele Eckermann, both attorneys for Schuzh,
handled the administrative hearings.  These hearings permitted the
Robinson family to remain in the country.

Dr. Ronald Reichert, European Counsel for the International Human
Rights Group, handled the court hearings and was finally able to
negotiate a settlement that resolved all of the issues facing the
Robinsons.  The final result is that the Robinsons will legally
remain in Germany — and they are being permitted to home school.

Then they intend to move to another country in Europe and continue
their ministry by pastoring a church in Europe.

The fight for religious freedom and parental rights in Germany,
including the right to home school, will continue.  We must stand
with these families and do everything in our power to help them.

We must help some families escape before overzealous German
government officials destroy them. Herr Schmidt did not ask us for
financial help to flee with his family even though he is destitute.
He trusts that God will provide for them by moving the hearts of his
fellow Christians to help — that means us.

Equally important, we must pray! Pray for these families who are
facing their darkest hour.  German government officials are once
again using the law to separate children from their parents — their
only crime?  Home schooling.

The next knock on Herr Schmidt’s door could be the police pushing
into their home and taking their children to an undisclosed location
without due process of law — just like Melissa Busekros.  Can we
really afford to have their pain on our conscience?