Published On: Wed, May 7th, 2014

Germany’s prejudice against Christians, homoschooling detailed by family

Uwe and Hannelore Romeike are finally free from the religious persecution they felt in Germany for homeschooling their children. Now theytell their story to the Morning Star News, detailing the animosity from German officials.

Romeike family

Romeike family

“They didn’t always [exhibit animosity] openly, but they would at least call us bigoted,” Uwe Romeike said. “Also, you have to understand that most Germans would consider themselves Christians. That means they wouldn’t necessarily show animosity toward Christianity but rather call us ‘extreme religious’ or fanatic. Most times homeschooling families are portrayed in the media as extreme Christians, fundamentalists, fanatics, alienated from the modern world, even dangerous.”

An SRN article on Tuesday chronicles the family’s struggles which finally ended when the Obama administration said it would not deport the family and would grant them “indefinite deferred status,” which means they may stay in the U.S. permanently unless they violate the terms of that status.

The Romeikes live in east Tennessee, where the parents and five oldest of seven children are members of First Baptist Church in Morristown. Uwe serves as a deacon as well as the church pianist. The Romeikes said they are satisfied with the outcome of their case but wish it could have set a helpful precedent for other persecuted homeschoolers around the world.

The textbooks used in German public schools conflicted with the family’s Christian values and gave them no choice but to disobey the government’s homeschooling prohibition, they said. The Romeikes believe that threatening to take away their children for living out their faith was tantamount to persecution.

In the textbooks, “children were, for example, taught disrespect toward parents, teachers and adults in general, and witchcraft and devil worship was portrayed favorably,” Romeike said. “The Christian faith was ridiculed.”

In spite of a law in Germany forbidding homeschooling, the Romeikes began homeschooling their children in 2006. After they refused to pay fines for their children’s absences, the school principal met with them and asked what they would do if police enforced the law. The Romeikes dismissed it as an empty threat until police showed up the next month and took three children to school, which was “quite traumatic” for the kids then ages 9, 8 and 6, Romeike said.

When police showed up the next day, four adults and seven minors from the Romeikes’ homeschool support group intervened, and police departed, unwilling to use force, according to court documents. The state continued to fine them — a total of 7,000 euros (roughly $9,000) by the time they left Germany.

The Romeikes did not want to leave Germany — Uwe, a piano teacher, and his father had built a custom home in Bissingen with a music studio on the first floor — but they sensed they had no choice.

“Had we stopped teaching them at home and sent them back to public school, where we knew they would be taught against the Christian faith, we would have violated our conscience,” Uwe Romeike said. “This might not be physical persecution, but it is mental and spiritual persecution against us parents as well as against our children who at all times wanted to be homeschooled.”

They learned what was happening to other families homeschooling for other reasons: a 15-year-old girl was put in a psychiatric clinic and foster home; one couple lost custody; another was sentenced to 90 days in jail.

“We also consider it to be persecution if parents constantly live in fear of losing their children to the state, when they daily have to expect the child protective service to come and take the children and custody away from them,” Romeike said. “Since that happened to several homeschooling families in recent years, this is not an empty threat. Because we couldn’t live with this fear, we fled Germany.”

“We know other families that suffer the same kind of persecution because of homeschooling in Germany as we did — many even more, because they lost custody, possessions or face jail time,” Romeike said. “But the outcome of our case upholds the 6th Circuit Court’s decision, which in essence doesn’t recognize Germany’s treatment of homeschooling families as persecution because one can choose not to homeschool in order to be left in peace. They completely disregard the fact that parents do this because of their faith and can’t just quit and thereby violate their conscience permanently. This is not satisfactory for a country that claims to uphold religious freedom.”

Check out the full coverage HERE

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  1. Romeike Family Says Germany Is Prejudiced Against Christians says:

    […] Romeike family feel that Germany is prejudiced against Christians. The homeschooling family made international […]

  2. Homeschool News- May 9, 2014 | HomeschoolingParent.com says:

    […] Germany’s prejudice against Christians, homoschooling detailed by family […]

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