more on the Tim Tebow controversy

     A few weeks ago, I reported in this blog about a proposed pro-life ad during the Super Bowl from Focus on the Family with Tim Tebow, homeschooled student who became a college football player and won the Heisman Trophy, with his mother discussing her difficult pregnancy when she was carrying him, a doctor’s recommendation that she get an abortion, and her choice to give life.  It provoked some backlash from the pro-abortion crowd.  Here is some follow up.

Follow up–Tebow to appear in Focus on the Family Super Bowl ad (Associated Press – 1/18/2010)

     GAINESVILLE, FL – Former University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother will appear in a 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl next month.

     The Christian group Focus on the Family says the Tebows will share a personal story on the theme "Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life."

     The group isn’t releasing details, but the commercial is likely to be a pro-life message chronicling Pam Tebow’s 1987 pregnancy. After getting sick during a mission trip to the Philippines, she ignored a recommendation by doctors to abort her fifth child and gave birth to Tim.

    The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner has remained active in his family’s Christian ministry.

    Thirty-second commercials during the Super Bowl sell for more than $2.5 million. But Focus on the Family President Jim Daly says all the funds for the ad came from a handful of "very generous and committed friends," and that no money from the group’s general fund was used.

More follow up on the Tebow ad

     In an item entitled "Feminists blitz CBS over pro-life Super Bowl ad" on January 26, 2010, Chelsea Schilling of WorldNetDaily reported that college football star Tim Tebow is under attack by pro-abortion feminist groups after CBS agreed to air his 30-second Super Bowl ad celebrating life.  Jehmu Greene, president of Women’s Media Center, demanded that CBS refuse to run the ad.  "An ad that uses sports to divide rather than to unite has no place in the biggest national sports event of the year – an event designed to bring Americans together regardless of background, faith, ideology or political affiliation," she said.  Several other feminist groups are joining the effort to pressure CBS into pulling the commercial, including: the National Organization for Women, the Abortion Access Project, ACCESS/Women’s Health Rights Coalition, , Advocates for Youth, AlterNet, By Any Media Necessary, California Council of Churches IMPACT, CAMI project, Choice USA, Civil Liberties and Public Policy, Equality Now, Feminist Majority Foundation and Feminist Press.   While the public has yet to see the ad or script., Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, declared that the ad is "not being respectful of other people’s lives." Tebow, the 22-year-old former University of Florida quarterback known for writing Bible verses under his eyes, said at a news conference, "Some people won’t agree with it, but I think they can at least respect that I stand up for what I believe, and I’m never shy about that, and I don’t feel like I’m preachy about it."

     Then, in an item headlined "Taking the heat for pro-life Tebow ad" the Associated Press reported on 1/27/2010 that CBS continues to draw heat for its decision to allow a Super Bowl ad funded by the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family with CBS saying that it has received numerous e-mails — critical and supportive — since a coalition of women’s groups began a protest campaign Monday against the ad.  Thus, on January 27, 2010, the American Family Association sent an action alert saying that CBS has come under withering fire from the left for its decision to air this ad.  Joy Behar of "The View" even said abortion would have been an appropriate choice for Mrs. Tebow since there was no way for Tim’s mom to know that he wouldn’t grow up to be a "rapist pedophile."  President Tim Wildmon wrote, "The hypocrisy here is thick. Abortion proponents claim to be all about choice, but they are outraged over an ad that features a woman exercising her right to choose life for her baby son.  CBS needs to hear from all of us who support the decision to air the Tebow ad."  He suggested e-mailing CBS Chairman Les Moonves and CBS Entertainment President Nancy Tellem in support of their decision to air the Tebow Super Bowl ad, urging them to stand firm in the face of the angry voices of leftwing America.  Thankfully, World Net Daily reports that CBS has stood by its decision to keep the commercial.  We shall see.

                                                                      Some further comments

     On Friday, January 29, 2010, in an article entitled "Tebow Takes a Stand," Brent Bozell had some insightful comments about this situation.  Here are some excerpts:


     The conservative Christian group Focus on the Family plans to air a commercial featuring Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother, Pam, who will tell the story of how doctors told her she should have an abortion, and she refused that exercise of "choice." Pam Tebow was a missionary in the Philippines and had contracted dysentery, and the medicine had a chance of causing birth defects.

     It is an ultra-positive story celebrating life itself, a story of a mother who kept her baby, who became a famous football hero. And so-called "feminist" groups have exploded in fury, demanding CBS censor the ad.

     The Women’s Media Center wrote a letter signed by an array of feminist organizations. They projected the ad would be "disastrous" for CBS, and it throws women "under the bus" and "endangers women’s health." They even suggested pro-life ads resulted in "escalated violence" against abortionists. "We sincerely hope you do not want CBS associated with this brand of un-American hate."

     Words like these might make a scintilla of sense if Focus on the Family were running some kind of hardcore, negative ad with inflammatory abortion images. But that’s not the message, and they know it. The Tebow ad is not far removed from the positive pro-life ads run by the Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation during the Clinton years with the slogan "Life. What a beautiful choice."

     Isn’t it a little strange to see people who present themselves as "pro-choice" get so upset when someone suggests their choice was to keep the baby? They can’t seem to make any mental allowance for people to promote making a pro-life choice in a permissive society. They sound silly when they proclaim they are groups united in "tolerance" — and then demand CBS should "immediately cancel this ad and refuse any other advertisement promoting Focus on the Family’s agenda."

     It’s especially noteworthy when libertines demand something be removed from television before they’ve even seen it. I haven’t seen it either, but I will bet some serious money that millions of viewers at home will see the warm-hearted Tebow ad and ask in amazement, "What in the world was wrong with that?"

     These hardcore leftists argue that CBS is clearly breaking with the usual pattern of refusing Super Bowl ads with political overtones, and point to their recent rejection of MoveOn.org ads. But one need only see these and their dark, vicious, angry, negative overtones to understand why CBS turned them down.

     Moreover, CBS has invited the protesters here to buy their own commercial and balance out Focus on the Family. No takers. They just want the Christian message censored.

     And it’s time we stop calling them "feminist" groups. Where are these advocates every year when CBS runs the sleazy Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show? Where were they when Janet Jackson had her clothing ripped off on stage at the Super Bowl six years ago? Why don’t they protest the sleazy "Go Daddy" Super Bowl spots?

     Feminists did not write letters of protest when the Parents Television Council found that CBS led the networks with 118 violent story lines on women over the last five years. Feminists never protested CBS objectifying women in sleazy sitcoms like "Two and a Half Men."

     The worst part of this overwrought controversy is the mud thrown at Tim Tebow’s image before he plays a down of pro football. Advertising Age magazine is already going to experts who think this commercial will hurt his value as a celebrity endorser.

     Chicago-based sports marketer John Rowady sneered at Tebow: "His promotion of his ‘belief system’ has built a perception throughout the league that he has a long way to mature from a business perspective, especially in the fast lane of the NFL."

     Standing with your mother in an ad celebrating the choice of life makes Tebow "immature"? He should be considered radioactive, like he was now Tiger Woods or Michael Vick?

     Making an ad like this ought to help advertisers see an endorser with character, not your stereotypical ego-addled, misbehaving professional athlete. It takes a maturity we’re not used to seeing from pro athletes when they’re a target of controversy. Tim Tebow has guts, not just on the football field, but in the game of life as well. 

Just be careful where your children go to college

     Note:  Many homeschoolers have used local community colleges either for dual enrollment or for a stepping stone to the university.  Certainly, not all community colleges have professors like the one in this story, but many do.  Hopefully, we have prepared our children through our twelve years of homeschooling for things like this, but it is best to be aware of these kinds of problems ahead of time and also remember that while they have graduated from high school our children are still not yet completely mature and may still need our nurturing.

     On January 23, 2010, in an item headlined, "College defends prof who mocked Christians: Seeks restoration of policy under which student told ‘ask God for grade,’" Bob Unruh of WorldNetDaily reported that Los Angeles City College is asking the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to restore a policy at the center of a case in which a professor berated a Christian student with the suggestion, "Ask God what your grade is."

     The Los Angeles Community College District, the nation’s largest community college system, filed the appeal of a lower-court decision in favor of student Jonathan Lopez, represented by the Alliance Defense Fund.

     Lopez, a student at Los Angeles City College, was delivering a speech on his Christian faith in speech class when professor John Matteson interrupted him, called him a "fascist b—-rd" for mentioning a moral conviction against homosexual marriage. The professor later told the student to "ask God what your grade is."

     Matteson also warned on his evaluation of Lopez’s speech, "Proselytizing is inappropriate in public school," and later threatened to have the student expelled.

     The subsequent lawsuit by the ADF targeted the school for the professor’s comments but also sought removal of a campus sexual harassment and speech policy that court documents explained "systematically prohibits and punishes political and religious speech by students that is outside the campus political mainstream."

     In his ruling, U.S. District Judge George H. King determined the campus policy was "unconstitutionally overbroad" and ordered it to be stricken from the college’s website.

     The college then told the judge it wanted him to reconsider the case, to which the judge responded, "Defendants do not get a mulligan simply because they chose to retain new counsel." The appeal by the college district to the 9th Circuit followed.

     The precedent the college seeks has attracted the attention of other free-speech advocates, including the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, FIRE, which battles college speech restrictions nationwide.

     FIRE has filed a brief in the case arguing the community college’s policy "contradicts both decades of legal precedent and the guidance of the federal Department of Educations Office for Civil Rights."

     The brief contends if the district police is permitted, "it would gravely endanger the free speech rights of LACCD students and exacerbate the free speech crisis on America’s college campuses."

     "By continuing to defend an indefensible and unconstitutional speech code with this appeal, LACCD has proven not only that it does not care about its students’ First Amendment rights, but that it doesn’t care about wasting taxpayer dollars to argue against the Bill of Rights in court," said Will Creeley, FIRE’s director of legal and public advocacy. "FIRE is confident that the Ninth Circuit will recognize the impermissible flaws in LACCD’s policy and reject this misguided appeal."

     The policy the school wants affirmed banishes "generalized sexist statements" as well as "actions and behavior that convey insulting, intrusive or degrading attitudes/comments about women or men."

     "Despite over two decades of federal jurisprudence finding policies precisely like LACCD’s unconstitutional, LACCD is shamefully attempting to deny its students the First Amendment rights to which they are legally entitled," FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said. "FIRE’s brief explains why the Ninth Circuit must affirm the district court’s decision and make LACCD’s sexual harassment policy the latest addition to an unbroken string of unconstitutional codes struck down in federal court."

     Judge King granted a preliminary injunction halting the enforcement of the policy because of its First Amendment violations. He then refused to grant the college’s motion for reconsideration, calling the college arguments "scattershot and disjointed."

     Lopez had quoted Romans 10:9, "Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."

     He told ADF, "Colleges are supposed to be safe for free speech and the discussion of many ideas. What has happened to me is an assault on my constitutional rights. A victory in this case will guarantee that every student who attends the school now and in the future is allowed to freely express their beliefs, religious or otherwise, without fear."

     ADF Litigation Staff Counsel David Hacker said at that time if the school cared about free speech rights of students, "they should not desire to pursue enforcement of such a bad policy."

     Lopez was participating in a class assignment to give a speech on "any topic" from six to eight minutes.

     "During the November, 24, 2008 class, Mr. Lopez delivered an informative speech on God and the ways in which Mr. Lopez has seen God act both in his life and in the lives of others through miracles," ADF said. "In the middle of the speech, he addressed the issues of God and morality; thus, he referred to the dictionary definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman and also read a passage from the Bible discussing marriage."

     Those comments led to the outburst from the professor, who canceled the remaining class period and mocked Lopez’s faith on his grading review.

     "By regulating speech on the basis of its content, no matter how ‘disparaging’ or ‘sexist,’ LACCD proposes to appoint itself (or complaining students) the judge of what speech shall be allowed on campus," FIRE official said in the brief. "Such a result cannot be squared with the Supreme Court’s pronouncement, issued ‘time and again,’" that content discrimination isn’t allowed.

     It also argued that the college’s citation of the state education code wasn’t valid.

     "The rights enshrined in our nation’s Constitution, including the guarantees of the First Amendment, are the highest law of the land, and they cannot be superseded by state statute or regulation," the brief argued.

     Note:  What is so infuriating about all this is that when the College was caught with its pants down, so to speak, and given a thorough chastening by a judge (yes, judges do sometimes get it right!), rather than taking its lumps and admitting its wrong, it has decided to fight back, further wasting taxpayer money to defend the indefensible.

news from Patrick Henry College

Little Christian school out-debates them all, again
Homeschool haven Patrick Henry College tops Harvard et al

     On January 19, 2010, WorldNetDaily reported that even though it is just 10 years old, 350-student Patrick Henry College has won its fourth national debate championship in six years.

     The Virginia evangelical Christian school, founded by the leading Christian homeschool organization (the Home School Legal Defense Association), is the only college or university to win the American Collegiate Moot Court Association national championship more than once.

     Other schools competing included Harvard, Miami, Syracuse, Holy Cross, the College of Wooster and Fitchburg State College.

     PHC, in Purcellville, Va., near Washington, D.C., sent the maximum number of eight teams to the 64-team competition at Florida International University College of Law in Miami and placed first, third, ninth, 11th, 13th and 17th.

     The team of Rachel Heflin and Jenna Lorence beat a team from Baylor University, giving Heflin back-to-back titles and making her the tournament’s only two-time champion. The school also won national Brief Writing titles.

     Patrick Henry’s moot court coach and college chancellor, Michael Farris, reveled in the victory before a cheering crowd of students on campus Monday.

     "The competition in Miami was incredibly rigorous, and keeps getting stronger each year," he said. "But this little college in Virginia has amassed a tremendous track record."

     Farris told students, however, the "goal was not simply to win a national tournament but to carry Christ and His message into everything that we do."

     "Doing your best in a moot court round is simply the foundation for serving Christ to the best of your ability in the future," he said.

     In 2004, a Patrick Henry moot court team won an exhibition against the University of Oxford’s Balliol College in England.

     Last year, the school was one of just 18 among 300 from around the world to be granted the Outstanding Delegation award at the National Model United Nations conference.

     The college’s goal is to train up tomorrow’s leaders to influence the culture "for Christ and for liberty." Its core curriculum educates students in government with classes in the freedom’s foundations, international relations and economics.

     NOTE:  While it’s enrollment is not limited to homeschooled students, Patrick Henry College was the first institution of higher learning in the US to be established by homeschoolers for homeschoolers, and its student body is largely made up of homeschooled students.

decision on German homeschooling family seeking asylum in US

From HSLDA:

Germany

January 26, 2010

Homeschooling Family Granted Political Asylum

Immigration Judge Says Germany Violating Basic Human Rights

     In a case with international ramifications, Immigration Judge Lawrence O. Burman granted the political asylum application of a German homeschooling family. The Romeikes are Christians from Bissinggen, Germany, who fled persecution in August 2008 to seek political asylum in the United States. The request was granted January 26 after a hearing was held in Memphis, Tennessee, on January 21.

     “We can’t expect every country to follow our constitution,” said Judge Burman. “The world might be a better place if it did. However, the rights being violated here are basic human rights that no country has a right to violate.”

     Burman added, “Homeschoolers are a particular social group that the German government is trying to suppress. This family has a well-founded fear of persecution…therefore, they are eligible for asylum…and the court will grant asylum.”

     In his ruling, Burman said that the scariest thing about this case was the motivation of the government. He noted it appeared that rather than being concerned about the welfare of the children, the government was trying to stamp out parallel societies—something the judge called “odd” and just plain “silly.” In his order the judge expressed concern that while Germany is a democratic country and is an ally, he noted that this particular policy of persecuting homeschoolers is “repellent to everything we believe as Americans.”

‘Embarrassing for Germany’

     “This decision finally recognizes that German homeschoolers are a specific social group that is being persecuted by a Western democracy,” said Mike Donnelly, staff attorney and director of international relations for Home School Legal Defense Association. “It is embarrassing for Germany, since a Western nation should uphold basic human rights, which include allowing parents to raise and educate their own children. This judge understood the case perfectly, and he called Germany out. We hope this decision will cause Germany to stop persecuting homeschoolers,” he added.

     The persecution of homeschoolers in Germany has been intensifying over the past several years. They are regularly fined thousands of dollars, threatened with imprisonment, or have the custody of their children taken away simply because they choose to home educate.

     The Romeikes expressed relief when they heard the decision.

     “We are so grateful to the judge for his ruling,” said Uwe Romeike. “We know many people, especially other German homeschoolers, have been praying for us. Their prayers and ours have been answered. We greatly appreciate the freedom to homeschool we now have in America and will be building our new life here,” he added.

     Donnelly testified at the hearing on January 21, telling the immigration Judge that homeschoolers are persecuted all over Germany.

‘Ignoring the Truth’

     “There is no safety for homeschoolers in Germany,” Donnelly said. “The two highest courts in Germany have ruled that it is acceptable for the German government to ‘stamp out’ homeschoolers as some kind of ‘parallel society.’ The reasoning is flawed. The fact is that homeschoolers are not a parallel society. Valid research shows that homeschoolers excel academically and socially. German courts are simply ignoring the truth that exists all over the world where homeschooling is practiced. They need to look beyond their own borders.”

     In 2003 the highest administrative court in Germany, which interprets its federal Constitution, ruled in the Konrad case that it was permissible for parents who have jobs that require them to travel—such as circus performers and musicians—to homeschool, but homeschooling was prohibited for parents who wanted to for reasons of conscience. The highest criminal court said in the Paul-Plett case in 2006 that the government was allowed to take custody of children whose parents want to homeschool for reasons of conscience.

     Donnelly challenged the reasoning of the German courts.

     “It is ridiculous for German courts to say that homeschooling is allowed if you have practical reasons but disallowed if you have conscientious reasons,” Donnelly said. “This is simply about the German state trying to coerce ideological uniformity in a way that is frighteningly reminiscent of past history. Homeschooling is a growing social movement all over the world, and the Germans want to stamp it out based on a fabricated notion that homeschoolers are a ‘parallel society.’ Germany’s treatment of homeschooling families is worthy of condemnation from the international community. I am proud that a United States immigration judge recognized the truth of what is happening in Germany and has rendered this favorable decision for the Romeike family.”

     German homeschoolers have been organizing and trying to draw the attention of German politicians. It has been difficult. Juergen Dudek is a homeschooling father who had been sentenced to 90 days in jail for homeschooling, but whose sentence was reduced to a $300 fine. He noted that officials in Germany have no appreciation for homeschoolers who think differently than the state.

‘Send a Loud Message’

     “It is incredible to me that these officials give absolutely no weight to our faith or other conscientious objection to attendance at the public schools,” said Dudek. “We have had a number of families who are not homeschoolers, but who know that the German school system is failing, who called us to encourage us. In our re-hearing the judge issued a decision reducing our sentence from jail to a fine but was totally dismissive of our reasons for wanting to homeschool. We have always been encouraged by the support of American homeschoolers, and we hope that this decision will send a loud message to the German people that what our country is doing is wrong.”

     A board member of the Netzwerk Bildungsfreiheit, an organization working for freedom for homeschoolers, said that the ruling would be helpful to homeschoolers in Germany.

     “This decision reveals to the rest of the world that the German state acts outside the mainstream of Western democracies. Germany is in the company of countries like China, North Korea and others where fundamental human rights are not respected. Germany’s behavior exposes the totalitarian character of the German school law that takes away a parent’s right to educate their children. A decision on behalf of the Romeikes puts blame on the German government and is a serious warning to Germans officials to change their policies and further accept the rights of the parents. We hope that the decision will send a clear message to authorities in Germany to make changes right away!”

     Mike Smith, president of HSLDA, also applauded the decision.

     “It’s recognition that the German state is persecuting homeschoolers,” he said. “We are pleased to have been able to support this courageous family, and we hope and pray that this decision will have a decisive effect on German policy makers who should change their laws to recognize parents’ rights to educate their own children.”

     [Maybe a little time ought to be set aside for praising the Lord!]

Continued anti-Christian bias in public schools–AND courts

     These kinds of things may be somewhat out of the ordinary, but they still happen with such annoying regularity that they are no longer considered "news" by the mainstream media and we must rely upon World Net Daily, One News Now, CNS, and other alternate sources to learn about them.  In an item headlined "Psalms banned, but witchcraft OK: Supreme Court endorses ‘hostility’ toward Christianity" on January 19, 2010, WorldNetDaily reported that a lower court’s "hostility" towards Christianity will stand after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to intervene in a school district’s censorship of a kindergartener’s choice of literature for a class reading.  "By refusing to hear Mrs. Busch’s case, the U.S. Supreme Court has endorsed the kind of hostility toward religion that should never be found in an American public school," said John W. Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute, which took on the Newtown Square, Pa., case.   Donna Busch accepted an invitation to visit her son Wesley’s kindergarten classroom at Culbertson Elementary School to read a passage of Wesley’s favorite book to his classmates in October 2004. Wesley’s teacher had invited Busch because the boy was the featured student of "All About Me," a school event to feature a particular student and emphasize the student’s personal characteristics, preferences and personality in classroom activities.   During the "All About Me" activity, a child’s parent may read aloud from the student’s favorite book. In this case, Wesley, a Christian, chose the Bible. His mother planned to read from Psalm 118.  But when Donna Busch prepared to read from the Bible, Wesley’s teacher instructed her not to do so until Principal Thomas Cook could determine whether it would be acceptable.  According to the Rutherford Institute, the principal "informed Mrs. Busch that she could not read from the Bible in the classroom because it was against the law and that the reading would violate the ‘separation of church and state.’"
     Then school administrators offered Wesley’s mother an opportunity to read from a book about witches, witchcraft and Halloween. She declined the invitation.  A 2005 decision in U.S. District Court sided with the school’s decision to ban the Bible reading. Officials with the Marple Newtown School District had defended their actions as reasonable, and the trial court judge agreed.   A Third Circuit Court of Appeals decision upheld the lower court’s ruling that the school officials’ decision did not violate the Busch family’s First Amendment rights.   The court held that "educators may appropriately restrict forms of expression in elementary school classrooms" even when speakers have been invited into the classroom.   Circuit Judge Thomas Hardiman issued a strong dissent, noting that the reading of a passage from Psalms to Wesley’s class was within the subject matter of the "All About Me" unit, which was to highlight things of interest and importance to Wesley. The judge said the exclusion constituted viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment because it was based solely upon its religious character.  The Supreme Court decision not to hear the case creates unwelcome precedents, Whitehead said.  "If these acts of censorship and discrimination are allowed to continue, there will be absolutely no freedom for religious people in public schools in this country," he said.   The case had highlighted the fact that while Busch was not allowed to read from the Bible, another parent was allowed to read a book about Judaism and teach the class a dreidel game.   While it is our goal as parents to prepare our children to face this kind of hostility to their faith in this world, I’m so glad that we can homeschool them and not have to send them during their most innocent and formative years into these kinds of hostile situations.

more on the homeschoolers from Germany seeking asylum in the US

     The following came from HSLDA:

GERMAN CHRISTIAN HOMESCHOOLERS MAY BE GRANTED POLITICAL ASYLUM

     Purcellville, VA—In what could be a major international embarrassment for Germany, a federal immigration judge in Memphis, Tennessee is expected to rule this Wednesday on the political asylum case of the Romeike family who fled persecution by German authorities over homeschooling in August 2008.

     “The persecution of homeschoolers in Germany has dramatically intensified,” said HSLDA Staff Attorney Michael P. Donnelly. “They are regularly fined thousands of dollars, threatened with imprisonment, or have the custody of their children taken away simply because they choose to home educate.”

     It’s for these reasons that the Romeikes fled Germany and with the help of HSLDA filed for political asylum in the United States.

     Uwe Romeike, a music teacher, and his wife Hannelore, have five children. “The freedom we have to homeschool our children in Tennessee is wonderful. We don’t have to worry about looking over our shoulder anymore, wondering when the youth welfare officials will come or how much money we have to pay in fines,” said Mrs. Romeike.

     “We left family members, our home, and a wonderful community in Germany, but the well-being of our children made it necessary,” said Mr. Romeike.

     “If the political asylum application is granted, it will be the first time America has ever granted political asylum to Christian homeschoolers fleeing from German persecution,” said Donnelly.

     After the expected decision a press conference will be held.

Location: Crowne Plaza Memphis
Address: 300 North Second Street
Room: River Room
Date: Wednesday, January 20
Time: 5:00 p.m. Central Time
Contact: Mike Donnelly—(540) 454 7780

     For more information about Germany’s persecution of homeschoolers, visit www.hslda.org/germany.  Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is a 27-year-old, 85,000 member non-profit organization and the preeminent national association advocating the legal right of parents to homeschool their children.

     On Jan. 20, the following was reported by World Net Daily:

Paperwork delays decision on family’s future
Homeschoolers seek asylum after fleeing Germany’s fines, threats of jail
By Bob Unruh

     A request from a German family for asylum in the United States because of the fines and jail sentences they could face for their homeschooling if they are returned to Germany is being delayed by courtroom paperwork.

     Word on the status of the case involving the request from Uwe and Hannelore Romeike comes today from the Home School Legal Defense Association, which has been involved in the family’s case.

     The decision could not be made by the judge because the government did not provide a routine background check on the Romeikes, officials said. It’s now pending for Tuesday.

     "We are very disappointed that the government was unable to provide a routine background check of the Romeikes in time for the hearing today. However, we understand that the information will be made available to the judge shortly. Another hearing is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. CT on Tuesday, January 26th to provide the Romeikes with the decision," said Ian Slatter, a spokesman for HSLDA.

     The decision, if it grants asylum to the family with five children, could be a "major international embarrassment for Germany," officials said.

     Michael P. Donnelly, staff attorney for the HSLDA, said homeschoolers in Germany now "regularly [are] fined thousands of dollars, threatened with imprisonment, or have the custody of their children taken away simply because they choose to home educate."

     He said, "If the political asylum application is granted it will be the first time America has ever granted political asylum to Christian homeschoolers fleeing from German persecution."

     "The freedom we have to homeschool our children in Tennessee is wonderful," the mother said in a statement to HSLDA. "We don’t have to worry about looking over our shoulder anymore wondering when the youth welfare officials will come or how much money we have to pay in fines."

     "We left family members, our home and a wonderful community in Germany, but the well-being of our children made it necessary," the father, a music teacher, said.

     The organization, the premiere group working on behalf of homeschoolers worldwide today, has been involved in the German fight for years.

     In that nation, homeschooling effectively is illegal because of laws dating back to the pre-World War II move to make raising and training children a responsibility of the government.  

     The family members are living in Tennessee after they funded their flight from persecution partly by selling Uwe Romeike’s grand pianos.

     The parents wanted to provide their children’s education because of content in modern German textbooks that violates the family’s religious beliefs. The family said the objectionable material includes explicit lessons on sex, the promotion of the occult and witchcraft and an effort to teach children to disrespect authority figures.

     HSLDA officials estimate there are some 400 homeschool families in Germany. Virtually all of them are either forced into hiding or facing court actions.

     Wolfgang Drautz, consul general for the Federal Republic of Germany, previously wrote on the issue in a blog, explaining the German government "has a legitimate interest in countering the rise of parallel societies that are based on religion."

     Political asylum, HSLDA explained, is available to people already in the U.S. who fear persecution in their home country because of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion. HSLDA contends homeschoolers in Germany fit that description.

     Lutz Gordens, German consul general for the southeast U.S., has defended his nation’s public education requirements.

     "For reasons deeply rooted in history and our belief that only schools properly can ensure the desired level of excellent education, we (Germany) go a little bit beyond that path which other countries have chosen," Gorgens said.

homosexual marriages and prejudice.

    In an item headlined "San Diego mayor says gay marriage views changed," the Associated Press reported that the mayor of San Diego, Jerry Sanders, testified that his views on same-sex marriage evolved after he learned one of his daughters was a lesbian and so he took the witness stand on behalf of two same-sex couples suing to overturn Proposition 8, California’s voter-approved gay marriage ban.

     "I had been prejudiced," he said. "I was saying one group of people did not deserve the same respect, did not deserve the same symbolism of marriage, and I was saying their marriages were less important than those of heterosexuals."  Sanders recounted his last-minute decision in 2008 to sign a City Council resolution backing efforts to legalize same-sex marriage. The decision contradicted a campaign promise and his public pledge to veto the resolution.

     Sanders was shown a videotape of the news conference where he broke down in tears while announcing his reasons for changing his mind.  San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who questioned Sanders on direct examination, asked why Sanders was so emotional on the video. "I felt I came very close to making a bad decision," Sanders said. "I came very close to showing the prejudice I obviously had toward my daughter to my staff and to the people of San Diego."

     Sanders, a Republican, now believes it’s in the interest of government to support same-sex marriage. A former police chief, he cited examples of hate crimes against gays and of police officers being afraid to acknowledge they are gay.  Brian Raum, a lawyer for Proposition 8 sponsors, intensely cross-examined the mayor about his past support for civil unions as an alternative to marriage.  "You didn’t think that was a hostile position to the gay and lesbian community," Raum said. "You don’t believe that you communicated hatred to the gay and lesbian community, did you?"

     "I feel like my thoughts were grounded in prejudice, but I don’t feel like I communicated hatred," Sanders said.  This charge of "prejudice" gets very old.  The universal tradition of mankind, which I believe is based on God’s revelation, is that marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman.  Why is it prejudicial to believe and practice that?  Unless we leave it at that, we open the door to just about everything.

     For years our society has had incest laws.  But if a man and his daughter really want to get married and we deny that, aren’t we being prejudicial?  Or why leave it at two?  If a man wants to marry three women or a woman wants to marry three men, aren’t we being prejudicial if we say they can’t?  Or if three homosexual men want to get married, or three lesbian women want to get married, why is int not prejudicial to deny them that right?  And what about the fellow who wants to marry his dog?

     Society has a good reason for limiting marriage to a man and a woman.  I can certainly feel for Mr. Sanders upon learning his daughter is a lesbian, but if he had learned that she was a heroin addict, would he endorse changing the laws to make that legal?  If he found out that she had murdered someone, would he support changing the law to remove punishment for murder?  Or if she really wanted to marry her cat, would he feel that it was prejudicial to say that it could not be a legal union?