Budget deficit, sequestration, common core, immigration,
Obamacare, second amendment, carbon tax, marriage defendant……
Never in my lifetime has there been so many headline stories regarding the federal government and its’ affect on our lives all at one time. It is, and some would say by design, inundating. If you disregarded all other news, local, sports, weather or entertainment, an entire hour could be devoted every single day reporting on how what’s happening at the federal level is affecting everything we do in our day to day lives. And it is under this backdrop that critical stories with potentially huge implications get glossed over if they’re even mentioned at all. One of those stories is the Romeike v. Holder case. If it’s even mentioned in the mainstream media at all, it’s usually given with little if any context and without understanding what is at the heart of this case and the potential future implications of the ruling, who can blame the general populace for sympathizing with the family, shrugging their shoulders and continuing to fret over the bigger headlines? Today I will begin to make the case that home schooling, and maybe even certain private schools – specifically Christian – will soon be a thing of the past. And this will happen most definitely in any state that accepts federal control over their education system – specifically Common Core.
First a brief synopsis of what the Romeike v. Holder case is all about. Uwe and Hannelore Romeike are evangelical Christians from Germany who, in 2006, took their five children out of the state-run German schools and homeschooled them. The family claimed their children were being taught things that were against the family’s religious beliefs. (NOTE: I pulled my son from the Chicago Public School System for the same reason. Homeschooling was not a viable option for me at the time so I put him in a Christian school). Sending your children to the state-run school system is the law in Germany with very few exceptions and homeschooling has been illegal since it was banned by the Nazis in 1938. Parents running afoul of this law can be fined, imprisoned and have their children taken away from them. Apparently the Romeikes had already racked up $9,000 worth of fines and Germany was threatening to take their children away from them so they fled to the United States in 2008 where they applied for asylum. Asylum can be granted under American law if the claimant can prove fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality or membership in a particular social group or political opinion.
With the help of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, (HSLDA), the Romeikes became the first family ever granted asylum in the US for the protection of their homeschooling rights on January 26, 2010. Memphis federal immigration judge Lawrence Burman granted the Romeikes political asylum based on the reasonable fear of persecution for their beliefs if they were to return to Germany. Again, Germany had threatened to take the Romeikes children away. In his ruling, Judge Burman questioned the motivation of the government noting that it appeared the German government was more concerned with stamping out parallel societies than the actual welfare of the children. He went on to state that this particular policy of persecuting homeschoolers is “repellent to everything we believe as Americans”.
In a normal world, there would never need to be another reason to mention the Romeike family again past celebrating the fact that we live in the freest of all Western democracies and that the United States is the standard bearer for freedom of religion, expression and individual choice in the way we want to raise our children. At the very worst, we’ve got a German Evangelical Christian family living in Tennessee raising their children. But we live in President Obama’s world. And Eric Holder and the Justice Department plan to send this family back to Germany. We might do well to give this story the attention it deserves and we might begin by asking ourselves why.
Why is the Justice Department spending the time, effort and resources to go after this one Christian German family living in Tennessee? On March 14, 2013 ICE director John Morton stated the agency released 2,228 people from immigration detention centers across the country for “solely budgetary reasons.” Mostly illegal aliens facing financial crimes, drunken driving offences, misdemeanor crimes and traffic offenses, per Morton’s statement. The backlog of immigration cases across the country has the courts so clogged that immigration judges are being told to close the cases, even without consent from government prosecutors. But we’re going to send the Romeikes back to Germany? The Justice Department doesn’t have the time or resources to prosecute the New Black Panther Party for voter intimidation violations but they have all the resources they need for this case? A Christian family living in Tennessee wanting to homeschool their children? Remember, in 2011 there was a policy introduced to give the Department of Homeland Security discretion which deportation cases to pursue. They picked this one.
Romeike v. Holder has little or nothing to do with the deportation of the Romeikes – that’s just a casualty. This case is about the parental right to homeschooling. While many great people are out their rightfully focused on fighting to ensure the Common Core curriculum doesn’t get shoved down our states throats, this administration is working to tie up that last loose end to ensuring 100% compliance for students in states that adopt common core. That is, according to Eric Holder, “There is no fundamental liberty to homeschool.” In other words, parents do not have a right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.
In my next post, I’ll go over the Justice Departments case for deportation as well Germany’s defense of their compulsory state education program. It is important to understand where this is heading in our country.