The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

Archive for the tag “Home education”

Homeschooling: A Fundamental Human Right?

Thomas S. Kidd is special contributor to the Kuyperian Commentary

A remarkable political asylum case has raised questions about whether the U.S. government should defend the right of families to homeschool.  The case concerns the Romeike family of Germany, where homeschooling is illegal, and where families who attempt to homeschool their children can face heavy fines and even have their children taken from them. An American immigration judge granted the Romeikes political asylum in 2010, but the Obama Justice Department has been working to overturn their asylum status and have them returned to Germany. Administration lawyers say that the German law does not represent any kind of specific religious discrimination (which would warrant asylum), but only a general legal requirement that all children attend public or state-supervised schools. Thus, in the administration’s view, German authorities punish families like the Romeikes not because they are Christian homeschoolers, but because their children are not attending a governmentally-sanctioned school.

I understand that this issue is more complex than whether Attorney General Eric Holder likes homeschooling or not. And I very much hesitate to designate a political good as a “fundamental human right,” because such notions have become distended and overused in modern American politics. Furthermore, it is not “homeschooling,” per se, that is a fundamental human right. What is fundamental, however, is the right of parents to raise their children according to their consciences, without interference from the state. The Obama adminstration hopefully has no inclination to infringe upon this right in America, but in this case they obviously have more sympathy for Germany’s rigid education policy than the rights of parents, including parents of dissenting religious sensibilities.

The effect of Germany’s law (which, thankfully, is almost unique in western Europe) is to ban parents from taking primary responsibility for educating their children. The most common reason parents would want to do that is religious conviction. This is certainly the case with the Romeikes, so they deserve political asylum as refugees from religious persecution by the government of Germany. Other German Christian homeschoolers have already been fined, and even jailed, for acting according to their conscience with regard to schooling, and the Romeikes can reasonably expect similar treatment if the Obama administration forces them to return. Reasonable fear of such persecution is clear justification for political asylum.

Originally posted here.

For more coverage, see:

Joseph Knippenberg, “Federal Government Tries to Block Homeschooling Refugees,” First Things

Mary Jackson, “Christian homeschoolers losing deportation fight,” WORLD Magazine

Napp Nazworth, “Homeschooling Not a Fundamental Right, Justice Dept. Argues,” Christian Post

Joe Carter, “Homeschooling Not a Fundamental Right Says Justice Department,” Acton Institute

Michael Farris, “Sobering Thoughts from the Romeike Case,” Home School Legal Defense Association, which is representing the Romeikes

Rod Dreher, “Romeikes as Canaries in Coal Mines,” American Conservative

Ron Paul on Education and Freedom

Ron Paul on Education and Freedom

Anyone who reads or writes for this blog may be interested in the upcoming publication of Ron Paul’s newest book, New School Manifesto. Ron Charles at the Washington Post Blog reports that it will be released on September 17, 2013, getting Paul’s post-congressional career off to a fruitful and visible start.

The WaPo article highlights the subjects within Paul’s book of 1) homeschooling and 2) “a history of American schooling and a critique of what went wrong.”

We here at the KC are not necessarily categorically insistent on homeschooling, but we are insistent on Christian education, which necessarily means education freely decided on by parents and not by governing entities.

This jogs my memory to some YouTube videos from a few years back, wherein you will hear Rand Paul say, “I think that kids belong to God and to our families, but they don’t belong to the State.” – (in video 1 below)

Near the end of the first video Rand also talks about keeping government out of religious institutions as a guard to the freedom to call things “sinful.” This, of couse, applies to schools as well as to churches.

Keep an eye on this man as 2016 floats off in the distance.

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