Last month, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) group presented a friend-of-the-court brief to the United States Supreme Court in favor of the Romeike family’s United States political asylum from Germany. The various organizations associated with the defense of the family also provide fuel for often unfortunate tales in modern home education’s historical emergence. A synopsis showing this particular home-school posse’s story is below, keeping in mind many of these groups are not associated with most homeschooling families. That could very likely include the Romeike family and their lack of knowledge of some shady backgrounds. Even though Uwe and Hannelore Romeike seem to have chosen Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) commander, Mike Farris, to lead their legal and publicity positions.
ADF was founded in 1994 by James Dobson and other Conservative Christians.
Here is ADF‘s summary of their friend-of-the-court brief:
WASHINGTON — Alliance Defending Freedom and a legal support group for German homeschooling families submitted a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court Thursday that asks the court to reinstate asylum for a persecuted German family. Attorneys with the Alliance Defending Freedom office in Vienna, Austria authored the brief in support of the Romeike family’s request for the high court to review the case.
In writing this brief, the Alliance Defending Freedom division based in Vienna, Austria partnered with Schulunterricht zu Hause e.V., (Schuzh). The Schuzh group is affiliated with HSLDA. The Schuzh group is also linked to the Bavarian Zwölf Stämme (Twelve Tribes) group, whose parents were filmed systematically beating their little ones in the basement last fall. In 2006, the Twelve Tribes group were allowed to start up a private school by the Bavarian Ministry of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which approved a curriculum for the group. Oddly enough, that school approval was deemed a victory by the Twelve Tribes proponents in the homeschool world, while the government authorities said they would keep a ”a very watchful eye on the project“. FAIL all around – 7 years later. The German government’s “emergency solution” failed to protect the children, while the general homeschool community was given a black eye by a marginal religious sect who whip their chidren.
From the Twelve Tribes website:
Q: Do you spank your children?
A: Yes, we do. We love our children and consider them precious and wonderful. Because we love them we do spank them. We teach them to listen to what their parents say and to obey their parents and teachers. When they are disobedient or intentionally hurtful to others we spank them with a small reed-like rod, which only inflicts pain and not damage. Desiring to be good parents, we do not hit our children in anger, nor with our hand or fist. And we know that discipline is ineffective unless our child is ready to receive instruction.
We know that some people consider this aspect of our life controversial, but we have seen from experience that discipline keeps a child from becoming mean-spirited and disrespectful of authority. The Columbine tragedy in particular points to the potentially terrible consequences of children left to themselves, who are not held accountable for their actions.
Most parents, most especially homeschooling parents, find the above explanations on routine subjugation reprehensible. Distressed homeschoolers have fought mightily against this proclaimed ‘right’, including the Pearl’s notorious use of The Rod. The ‘switch’ similarities exalted by Mike and Debi Pearl are similar. As revealed from a thoughtful post by Secular Homeschooling Magazine‘s Deborah Markus – an excerpt in Pearls’ book To Train Up a Child:
“For the under one year old [sic], a small, ten- to twelve-inch long, willowy branch (striped [sic] of any knots that might break the skin), about one-eighth of an inch in diameter is sufficient. Sometimes alternatives have to be sought. A one-foot ruler, or its equivalent in a paddle, is a sufficient alternative. For the larger child, a belt or larger tree branch is effective.”
Aside from the Supreme Court’s decision to even hear the Romeike’s case, let alone whether the family should be granted political asylum, one can see why this is such a tumultuous issue in the homeschool community. It was extremely helpful gleaning information from a well-researched article by R.L. Stollar on the Homeschoolers Anonymous (HA) site. The HA founders believe “lack of safeguards for homeschool students, [cause] many [to] experience abuse, isolation, and neglect.” Their solutions can be seen as contradictory. Common ground is found supporting children’s well being in our communities. But HA might not understand homeschool support groups and advocates build up all families. The key point being those public school families desperate to help their children in impossible situations, get an understanding ear from us. We’ve seen the vast controls placed on children within the public school system. That governmental power can offer just as helpless a feeling for a child as a Pearl cackle in response to little Lydia Schatz’s murder and legitimate concerns about her “rod training”:
Michael Pearl: Laughing
It has come to my attention that a vocal few are decrying our sensible
application of the Biblical rod in training up our children. I laugh at my
caustic critics, for our properly spanked and trained children grow to
maturity in great peace and love. Numbered in the millions, these kids
become the models of self-control and discipline, highly educated and
creative-entrepreneurs that pay the taxes your children will receive in
My granddaughters laugh with joy after giving their baby dolls a spanking
for “being naughty” because they know their dolls will grow up to be the
best mamas and daddies in the world-just like them.
People all around the world, in places like Russia, China, Germany, New
Zealand, Guatemala, Peru, Africa, and fifty other countries are laughing with
joy because after applying the Biblical principles found in our books they
finally have happy and obedient children.
Even my chickens are laughing . . . well, actually it is more like cackling,
because they just laid another organic egg for my breakfast and they know
that it was that same piece of ¼ inch plastic supply line that trained the dogs
not to eat chicken.
Homeschoolers form a rich and varied tapestry of lifestyles in their communities. If these groups and people illustrated above were as successful and large in the homeschool community as opponents want legislators and society to believe, American homeschoolers would all be doomed to governmental ‘problem-solving’ and oversight. The German Ministry’s oversight of the Twelve Tribes certainly did no good. Our eyes will stay wide open to the enemies of nurturing families and children. Especially when home education is used as a tool to further an unrelated cause.