Yesterday, HSLDA released an urgent update email calling on American homeschoolers to contact the German embassy in Washington, D.C. on behalf of forty families in Germany being prosecuted for homeschooling.
For American homeschoolers, the suggestion that ‘homeschooling is something that ought to be prosecuted’ are fightin’ words. Do NOT tell us that, as parents, we don’t have the natural liberty to raise our children ourselves. Telling homeschoolers that schools are necessary partners in the education of the next generation is like making yo mama remarks (and meaning them), saying apple pie is unhealthy, and disrespecting the flag, all in consecutive breaths. And, because we, as free Americans whose torch of liberty shines in the world, have this right, everyone around the world should have rights just like ours! Freedom, after all, is on the march! Laws need to be changed, and all the more so in a country still following HITLER’s laws! This is an outrage!!
To put the situation into an international context, imagine a German FKK group mounting an nationwide campaign to have the American states stop prosecuting some sex offenders. FKK stands for Freie Koerper Kultur — Free Body Culture — or, in the U.S., nudists. There is even a youth group. And they sell t-shirts.
The FKK etho is in line with the overall tenor of Germans-as-nature-lovers, as described in the following article (read the entire article for full context).
Greenroofs.com, Alpharetta, Georgia, September 2005, German Ecology and a Regenerative Design Tour
Freie Koerper Kultur (free body culture) or public displays of nudity was popularized in Germany many years ago and is still enjoyed today, as can be seen in downtown Muenchen [Munich] along the Isar River and in the Englischer Garten. Instead of relying on harsh chemicals at swimming pools, Germany has started what are called “swimming ponds” that recreate the natural cleansing processes that take place in ponds in a larger size to allow safe and nontoxic swimming with frogs and fish.
Concerning environmental stances, I can tell you it was a shock to return to the U.S. and have to live with no bicycle lanes, no public woods to walk in, virtually no passenger trains (yes, I ride Amtrak, I know where they go), no suburban trains, virtually no community gardens, chemical lawn treatments, sprawling suburbs chock full of starter castles, minimal recycling, Styrofoam still in use, plastic wrapping up everything, and people idling the engines (of sometimes huge vehicles) in parking lots as if oil wells were bottomless and carbon dioxide drifted out of our atmosphere and floated harmlessly away into space.
Another difference between the United States and Germany is the reaction to public nudity. In the U.S. it is a crime. In Germany, it’s a fact of nature.
Now, it isn’t as if Germans all walk around nude in everyday life. There is a time and a place for everything. It is safe for non-nudists to shop, do business, and go out to eat without encountering anyone attired in a birthday suit. As in America where not everyone homeschools, in Germany not everyone runs nekkid outside. But it’s also possible to be walking along the banks of Munich’s Isar river and find a gentleman in the altogether basking in the sun in a deck chair while reading his newspaper. He’ll probably be wearing sandals. My six-year old daughter and a friend saw such a fellow. In the U.S. this man would be on a sex offender list. In Germany he’s part of the scenery. Another common sight is naked babies and toddlers at beaches.
So let’s imagine an HSLDA-style campaign to free such convicted sex offenders here in the U.S. using the rationale that they are just pursuing their natural rights as they do in Germany.
Urgent! Calls Needed to the American Embassy Next Week (Updated with Contact Info for the American Embassy)
Dear Free Body Defense Association (FBDA) Members and Friends:
The American government is persecuting nudists like never before. Arnold Black, president of Nudists at Home–NAH, the naturist legal defense association in America, states that there are over 40 nudist families in court in America!
The families are being heavily fined; the parents are being jailed; the children are being threatened with being seized and placed in the custody of the state; and families are being forced to flee to Japan and Germany.
Here are a few current and frightening situations:
1) The Henslow family: They are diligently raising their six children in Atlanta. The father, Mike, was jailed for a week for allowing his children to swim naked in the family pool in their fenced back yard. Like many of the nudist families in America, they are evangelical Stewards of God’s Earth. What is even more surprising about Mike Henslow being put in jail for nudism is that he has a degree in medicine! He and his wife have been fined $1,090 (840 euros) for naturism.
After Mike’s jail time the authorities tried a new weapon and began to forcibly clothe the children each day. Their plan was take custody of these six children and make them wards of the state.
One day, however, the authorities came to inspect the children to see if they were dressed, but no one answered the door. The Henslows fled to another country in order to raise their children according to God’s ways. They came into the world naked, they plan to live in the world naked.
2) The Kaminsky family: If you recall, last year we asked you to pray and contact the embassy about the seven nudist homeschool families in beautiful downtown Burbank. One of the families, the Kaminskies, have continued to live naturally with their 12 children. Last week, a female plainclothes police officer rang at the Kaminsky’s house. When the mother opened the door, other police officers who were hiding in the bushes forced their way in. The mother was able to inform her husband by cell phone before the police took her to jail. The husband then fled to Mexico with the children. She was given a 10-day prison sentence and is facing heavy fines and more jail time.
Of the seven Burbank nudist families from last year, two have fled to Japan and five have enrolled in a progressive school in Los Angeles. They all still have pending cases against them.
3) Three nudist families from Florida have been taken to court and convicted. One was fined $3,000, one $6,000, and another $10,000.
4) The Brinkstone family: This family in North Carolina are ecological missionaries in America for the last 15 years. They were prosecuted about five years ago when their two-year old child ran out of the house without clothes on, and have exhausted their appeals and have sought review by the United States Supreme Court that covers all of the United States.
There are now eight cases pending before the Supreme Court, most of which the NAH organization has brought, along with Perry Mason, a renowned Constitutional law attorney who has handled some of the NAH members’ cases. The problem with the Supreme Court, is that it all cases are discretionary: there is no right of appeal. If the Court decides not to rule on them, the case will not be heard. Another problem is the Court has no particular deadline of when they have to decide to take the case or not, so some of these cases have been sitting for three to four years, with no resolution in sight.
5) The Tabor family: This family from Arizona was facing prosecution for living naturally with their twins who have many medical problems, including allergies to most modern fabrics because of processing chemicals. They have been forced into hiding and are seeking asylum in Germany and other countries.
The Carnes family, also from Arizona, has been convicted of naturism. For the past three weeks they have faced increasing fines.
Nudists at Home–NAH, the legal association that our naturist organization helped establish, is being worn out with defending all these families in court. They have approximately 150 members in their association that are all naturist families, many of whom are underground, and almost 40 in court.
Appeals have been exhausted time and time again, and money is running out. The American nudists are pleading for your help.
Will you take a moment and contact the American Embassy?
Nudity has got to be an even greater liberty than homeschooling. After all, we all have bodies. Not everyone has children.
So how do you feel about these fictional German nudists mounting a campaign to make public nudity legal in the United States? How do you feel about a cultural change to allow magazines showing nude people on the covers to be openly displayed in grocery stores? Or billboards showing nude families enjoying a sauna? Or nude swimming at a hotel pool, and a nude sauna just off the pool … where I saw a nude elderly gentleman helping his nude elderly wife with an artificial leg into the cooling off area. Apparently the sauna helped ease the lady’s discomfort with her leg. They were regulars.
Germany is a democracy, despite the red herring that HSLDA’s letter trailed across the situation: “Homeschooling in Germany has been illegal in Germany for a long time. In fact, according to some newspaper accounts it has been illegal since Hitler banned it in 1938.”
We all know what it means to drag Hitler into a conversation.
Hitler also was the impetus behind the original Volkswagen — the “people’s car.” Shall we all drive our Beetles, new or old, into the ocean because Uncle Adolph commissioned the design?
As a democracy, the country of Germany has the right to enact laws as its people see fit. If the laws are broken, consequences ensue. The same thing happens here.
Just as Americans-as-a-people do not approve of public nudity and put people convicted of such a thing in jail, and then on sexual offenders lists that are often published so that everyone knows where they live, so Germans-as-a-people do not approve of homeschooling and take the families to court. A difference is that in Germany there are strict privacy laws — because of what Hitler did — so that the names of the offenders are not made available to the public. When we lived in Germany it was impossible for someone on the upstairs extension line of the family phone to even listen in on a conversation on the downstairs phone. You’ll notice that in German accounts of these arrests, no last names are given.
To a degree I sympathize with the families who are being prosecuted, but it is possible to homeschool in Germany, if families work with the authorities. Not easy, but possible. Also, being a pioneer is not for the meek.
Deutsche Welle, Bonn, Germany, 25 December 2004, Living Room Lessons Not Easy in Germany
Becker and another estimated 200 families who have taken the radical step to homeschool their kids inhabit a legal gray area. What they do is illegal, but the local authorities turn a blind eye — especially when they see that parents are devoted to teaching their children.
But if the parents are not willing to do what they need to keep their children from being traumatized by social workers, what can one do? It is their path to walk. It is one thing to homeschool for the good of the children and do what you need to do in order to be able to do so. It’s quite another to appear to use the situation to gain international attention.
If people wish to send money to Schulunterricht zu Hause to help out with legal fees, by all means do so. We all have our own consciences to follow.
But working as a group within one country to change the laws of another country that has a democratic federal system similar in form to our own, is cultural imperialism. It is up to Germans to change German laws, not up to Americans. Remember the nudists … not to mention our own controversies about outsiders changing American culture.
1. Please contact the American Embassy and give them this message:
“American governments need to make nudism legal. Over 40 families are being prosecuted in the United States merely for being naked with their children. These families have been given huge fines, some parents have been jailed, some have been forced to flee to other countries, and they are all being threatened to take their children into state custody. This is deplorable and unacceptable for any free nation to persecute Christian families who are providing an excellent living environment for their children. We ask you to stop prosecuting these families like the Henslows, the Kaminskies, the Brinkstones, the Tabors, and the many others. Public nudism needs to be legalized in America.”
This message can be put in your own words, along with a story or information about the success of your own nudism.
Press 1 for English?