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Supreme Court refuses to stop indoctrination of children

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On March 3, the US Supreme Court declined to help a German family that is currently in the United States seeking asylum on grounds of religious freedom.

Uwe and Hannelore Romeike wish to homeschool their five children, which is illegal in their native Germany under a Nazi-era law passed in 1938 which required all children to be indoctrinated in state-approved schools. The law has never been repealed, and is still strictly enforced; in September 2013, armed police officers equipped with a battering ram invaded the home of German parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich and kidnapped four children from them because they were being homeschooled.

The Romeikes claim that public schools “engender a negative attitude toward family and parents and would tend to turn their children against Christian values,” and that German authorities threatened to take their children away and punish them with fines or imprisonment if they did not send them to public school.

The problem began in 2006, when police officers came to the Romeike's residence in Germany to use force to take their children to a public school. In 2008, the family decided to move to the US to escape persecution by the German government. After settling in east Tennessee, they applied for asylum with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. In 2010, Judge Lawrence O. Burman granted asylum to the Romeike family under the Federal Immigration and Naturalization Act, ruling that German laws that forbid homeschooling violated the family's freedom of religion and German authorities were improperly motivated in their suppression of homeschooling.

Unfortunately for the Romeikes, the Obama administration had other ideas. Upon their request, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided against the Romeikes. Justice Department officials said that German authorities were not persecuting homeschoolers, just applying the law to everyone with a desire to “promote socialization, pluralism, tolerance and democracy.”

The Supreme Court justices, without comment on the matter, decided not to hear the case Romeike v. Holder, leaving the 6th Circuit decision standing and without further recourse.

“It was the last judicial hope for the family, but we will not give up,” said Michael Farris, the Romeike's lawyer, and chairman of the Virginia-based Home School Legal Defense Association. “Although our judicial efforts on behalf of this courageous family are over for now, we are resolved to fight on for them and homeschooling freedom.”

“Human rights standards make it plain that, although a nation may require compulsory attendance and may impose reasonable rules related to educational quality, no nation may exercise philosophical control over a child’s education contrary to the parents’ belief,” a statement from the HSLDA statement said.

From a philosophical libertarian perspective, the forcible indoctrination of children by the state is a form of child abuse, as well as a violation of the non-aggression principle and the logical right of freedom of association.

UPDATE: The Department of Homeland Security has granted the family “indefinite deferred status,” which will allow them to stay in the United States.

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