Friday, January 29, 2010

U.S. grants political asylum to German family over homeschooling issue

I thought that readers of Lutheran Colportage might find this topic to be of interest. The author is the editor of The Local, Germany's News in English.

Earlier this week, I was contacted by a man originally from Burma worried his family was about to be deported from Germany because their application for asylum had been rejected.

Imagine then my consternation the next day when I found out a German family had received political asylum in the United States because they were not allowed to home school their children.

Making a mockery out of US asylum policy, a judge in the state of Tennessee ruled the devout evangelical Christians faced persecution in Germany because they disagreed with the country's compulsory school attendance.

Now even if you're a big advocate for homeschooling, it's downright silly to claim this family was somehow oppressed because none of Germany's public, private and religious schools fit their narrow world view.

But the judge bought their argument formal education in "godless" Germany was somehow against Christian values. I guess somebody had better tell that to the headmasters of Germany's countless Catholic and Protestant schools.

Or perhaps this particularly provincial judge needs to be told that there's little in the way of America's admirable separation of church and state in Germany.

Not only is there compulsory tithing if you're a member of a Christian church here, but there is also a constitutional right to faith-specific religion classes in German public schools. It's a situation evangelicals in America could only dream of!

Besides, if uninformed US judges are willing to give homeschoolers political asylum, then why not Germany's Scientologists, who also claim to be persecuted? Or for that matter, what about China's oppressed Christians and its sizable Muslim Uighur minority? And what about the desperate Burmese man who called me this week?

If Germany is going to deport him and his family back to a refugee camp in Bangladesh, maybe there's room for them in Tennessee too.

[source: Marc Young editor, The Local Germany's News in English]

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