I have heard it said that school choice will be the civil rights issue of our time, and I have agreed with that assessment. In retrospect, however, I think that assessment understates the gravity of the issue. Because mankind changes less than we would like to admit, today’s assaults on freedom differ little from yesterday’s assaults. That’s why school choice just part of a larger problem; it’s a First Amendment issue.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. (continued here)
With the passage of the 14th Amendment, the First Amendment also applies to the states. Therefore, states cannot prohibit the free exercise of religion, and if school choice is about religious freedom, then state governments cannot prohibit school choice.
Consider what some consider an extreme version of school choice. Why do parents homeschool their children? Each set of parents has their own reasons. However, most parents strive to instill their own religious beliefs in their children, and homeschooling is certainly the best way to do just that. Thus, when parents homeschool their children, many governments consider it the greatest affront to their own “prerogative” to indoctrinate children. Just imagine their embarrassment. Government spends huge sums to educate children. Yet it is the homeschoolers who win spelling bees.
As you may already know, homeschooling is with rare exception illegal in Germany, as well as many other countries. Over the last few years Sweden and Germany have become more tyrannical over the issue, even raiding homes SWAT-style, removing children and putting parents in jail.
Since learning of the Romeikes’ quest for political asylum here in the United States, all I’ve done so far is look up the basic criteria for granting asylum:
“a well-founded fear of persecution based on at least one of five internationally recognized grounds: race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion”
and briefly attempt to debate a commenter over at Tom’s who, unsurprisingly, didn’t stick around for much of my argumentative stylings:
The criteria to which you refer are race, religion, nationality, political opinion, and social group. I could reasonably argue that social group and political opinion apply, but the most obvious criterion is religion.
Want to take another stab at your argument that their decision to homeschool is not religiously based?
He did not want to take another stab.
The 6th Circuit ruled several weeks ago that the German homeschooling-and-evangelical-Christian family is not eligible for refugee status and should be deported. The Romeikes appealed for a rehearing en banc. The DOJ responded on the 26th of June. At this point, the parties are waiting to see if the 6th Circuit will grant the rehearing. If they do not, the Romeikes’ next step will be to appeal directly to SCOTUS. (continued here)
Is religious freedom in jeopardy in the United States? In CONSIDERING ANOTHER VIEW, we considered how our government is trying to amend our First Amendment right to freedom of religion. To stifle religious practice, some of our elected officials would like to redefine that phrase “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” from being able to comply with the dictates of one’s own conscience to merely freedom of worship. These folks would have us believe that religion is just a private, spiritual thing. If we can squat in our living rooms, gaze at our belly buttons, and moan “ooommmmm”, then we have freedom of religion. That is, we can make fools of ourselves and worship our belly buttons.
- DOJ: Governments can punish homeschoolers (wnd.com)
- How Does Secularism Achieve Suppression of Religion in Pubic Life? (livingontilt.wordpress.com)
- Perspective: Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, but Not Your Homeschoolers (blackchristiannews.com)