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BBC: The day after Ireland voted to legalise gay marriage almost every German newspaper cover displayed a rainbow.
Reuters: Germany’s Roman Catholic Church, an influential voice for reforms prompted by Pope Francis, has decided lay employees who divorce and remarry or form gay civil unions should no longer automatically lose their jobs.
Reuters: Muslim women teachers can wear headscarves as long as it does not cause disruption in school, Germany’s top court said in a ruling that overturns an earlier ban and may fuel debate about what some nationalist groups see as creeping “Islamization”.
The Telegraph: Hundreds of thousands of German Christians are formally renouncing their faith and leaving the church in order to escape a controversial change in the tax laws.
Mirror of Justice: According to this report, “the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) has upheld the right of churches and other religious institutions to request their employees to abide by their religious and moral ethos. The case concerned a doctor working at a church-owned hospital who was fired after he got divorced.”
Reuters: Germany’s foreign minister said at an international conference on anti-semitism on Thursday that “hatred of Jews” was on the rise once more in his country and across Europe, fueled by spiraling violence in the Middle East.
Aleteia: Germany’s National Ethics Council has voted to recommend that incest between siblings be decriminalized. In a press release on Wednesday, it decreed that most council members believed that “it is not appropriate for a criminal law to preserve a social taboo.”
The Telegraph: Laws banning incest between brothers and sisters in Germany could be scrapped after a government ethics committee said the they were an unacceptable intrusion into the right to sexual self-determination.
The Christian Institute: Churches around Europe were subjected to theft, arson and explosions last year, according to a new report. Over 100 incidences of vandalism across eleven European countries are catalogued by a think-tank – the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians.
Life News: The leading practitioner of euthanasia in Belgium, Dr Wim Distelmans, is organizing an instructional tour to Auschwitz, the Nazi extermination camp. In ’an invitation for a study trip for healthcare professionals,’ he describes Auschwitz as an ‘inspiring’ surrounding in which to ‘clarify confusion about euthanasia’.
The Economist [subscription required -- access full text via Google]: “German laws forbid parents from educating their children at home in almost all cases, citing society’s interest in avoiding closed-off ‘parallel societies.’ Germany’s highest court calls schools the best place to bring together children of different beliefs and values, in the name of ‘lived tolerance.’ In plainer language, the Romeikes believe that, if they return to Germany, their children face being taken to school by force.”
Associated Press: “A new burial area for lesbians only is being inaugurated this weekend in a two-century-old cemetery in the German capital. A 400-square-meter (4,300-square-foot) area of the Lutheran Georgen Parochial cemetery, established in 1814 in central Berlin, will be reserved as a graveyard for up to 80 lesbians, said Usah Zachau, a spokeswoman for the Safia association, a national group primarily for elderly lesbians.”
Judy Roberts at The National Catholic Register: “Nonetheless, Benjamin Bull, chief counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal group that has worked with HSLDA in defending German home-schooling families and filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in the Romeike case, said he believes U.S. home-schoolers clearly have cause to be uneasy about the current administration regarding home education.”
Robert Morrison at National Review: “And so the Obama administration still denies refugee status to the Romeike family. In so doing, it places at grave risk the fundamental freedoms of millions of American citizens who homeschool their own children. This Romeike reprieve, answer to prayer that it is, does not constitute a repudiation of the Obama administration’s deeply troubling position.”
Washington Times: “The DHS decision to intervene to stop deportation in a case where a family has lost all their legal appeals is ‘extraordinarily unusual,’ said Benjamin Bull, chief counsel of Alliance Defending Freedom, which has joined HSLDA in defending the Romeikes in France, Germany and the United States.”
FOX News: “A German home-schooling family facing deportation following the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear their appeal is being allowed to stay in the U.S. The Department of Homeland Security has granted the family “indefinite deferred status,” their attorney confirmed to Fox News.”
Religion Clause: “The U.S. Supreme Court today denied certiorari in Romeike v. Holder, (Docket No. 13-471, cert. den. 3/3/2014)). (Order List.) In the case, which has been widely followed by home school advocates, the 6th Circuit denied asylum to a German evangelical Christian family that sought to remain in the United States based on a fear of persecution in Germany because of Germany’s ban on home schooling.”
Deutsche Welle: “The Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe on Friday dismissed on procedural grounds a request from a Berlin district court to rule on whether gay couples living in a registered civil partnership could adopt children.”
AFP: “Misunderstood, dismissed and often hidden, polyamory, or having several romantic relationships simultaneously, is slowly coming out into the open in Germany aided by the efforts of a counsellor and support network.”
Deutsche Welle: “This week, a medical advisory board recommended that emergency contraception should be available without a prescription in Germany, as it is in other countries. But there are ethical concerns.”
Kevin D. Williamson at National Review: “Of course it doesn’t help that homeschooling is associated in the public mind with a particular strain of evangelical Christianity, as in the case of the Romeike family. It is distasteful, but it should not be a surprise that the Obama administration has no objection to the political and religious suppression of such unruly Christians — the Obama administration is doing the same thing to the Little Sisters of the Poor and other Christian groups that it finds inconvenient.”
Charisma News: In a joint amicus brief filed Dec. 19, 2013, regarding Romeike v. Holder, Alliance Defending Freedom and the German home-school organization Schuzh pointed out that Germany is violating international human rights standards and asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case because of its bearing on human rights issues around the world. (Read the amicus brief online.)
Inquistr: The Romeike family deportation case is awaiting a hearing in the US Supreme Court. A friend-of-the-court brief was recently filed by the Alliance Defending Freedom group. The organization is a support group for German homeschooling families. Attorneys with the Alliance Defending Freedom office in Vienna, Austria drafted the legal document in support of the Romeike family’s request for a review of the deportation order issued by Eric Holder’s Department of Justice.
TheLocal.de: Germany’s new Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks quietly came out this week in a newspaper interview. She is the country’s first openly lesbian cabinet member.
LifeNews: A woman with the message “I AM GOD” painted on her body jumped up on the altar and screamed in the middle of a Mass on Christmas at Cologne Cathedral, the home of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cologne and one of the tallest cathedrals in the world.
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.
WorldNetDaily: The most recent order from the Supreme Court instructs U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to respond to a petition by the Home School Legal Defense Association for the high court to hear arguments in the case of Uwe and Hannelore Romeike and their six children.
AP: A sweeping child pornography investigation has led to the rescue of 386 children around the world and the arrest of 348 people, Canadian police said Thursday.
Christian News Network: The Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is calling for a day of prayer and fasting on behalf of a Christian homeschooling family that is fighting deportation to their homeland of Germany . . . HSLDA has now set Sunday, November 17th as a day of prayer and fasting for the Romeike family, as it anticipates that the Supreme Court will decide whether or not to hear the case on November 26th.
Daily Caller: The judge told the family’s attorneys that the German government would respond with government force and criminal sanctions if the family attempts to leave the country before a December hearing , according to a press release from the U.S.-based Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).
LifeSiteNews: A German judge who ordered the forced removal of the children of a homeschooling family in August has blocked the parents’ request to let the family emigrate to another European country where homeschooling is legal, according to the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).
AP: The Vatican has quashed hopes that there might be some wiggle room on one of its longstanding rules about the indissolubility of marriage.
AP: A couple who fled Germany in order to home-school their children is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to grant them asylum.
LifeSiteNews: Today the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is filing a petition with the United States Supreme Court to hear Romeike v. Holder, the German homeschooling asylum case.
WorldNetDaily: HSLDA has been working with the a team from the Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of the family.
LifeSiteNews: Dirk and Petra Wunderlich’s children were returned to them after a court hearing today, three weeks to the day after their four children were seized during a police raid. The Wunderlich children were returned after the parents promised they would send their children back to a state school.
WorldNetDaily: The Wunderlich situation drew a dozen lawyers from all over Europe to a meeting in Frankfurt to discuss ways to bring attention to the situation, including Roger Kiska, of the Alliance Defending Freedom, which also has been integral in a number of homeschooling cases. “The right of parents to homeschool should be respected and ADF is committed to working along with HSLDA and others to protect this important freedom from being marginalized,” he said. “We have a variety of international tribunals we can look to besides the European Court of Human Rights which has been very antagonistic to homeschoolers and parental rights in general.
Donnelly said that a dozen lawyers from all over Europe gathered in Frankfurt to discuss other means for bringing attention to the problems faced by homeschoolers. Roger Kiska, Alliance Defending Freedom’s senior European counsel was among the attorneys gathered.
HSLDA: “The right of parents to homeschool should be respected and ADF is committed to working along with HSLDA and others to protect this important freedom from being marginalized. We have a variety of international tribunals we can look to besides the European Court of Human Rights which has been very antagonistic to homeschoolers and parental rights in general,” he said. “The act of these local authorities to take the Wunderlich children is unconscionable and those responsible must be held to account.” Donnelly was encouraged by the growing group of supporters for homeschooling freedom in Germany, including attorneys and family advocates from all over Europe, such as Andrea Williams from Christian Concern of the United Kingdom, Viktor Kostov of Bulgaria, and Vasillios Tsirmpas of Greece, both attorneys affiliated with Alliance Defending Freedom.
WorldNetDaily: A rally is being organized to coincide with a court hearing next week for four children who were taken from their parents by a German SWAT-style team armed with a battering ram because they were being homeschooled.
NBC: A German court ruled on Wednesday that Muslim girls must take part in school swimming lessons with boys, in a landmark decision that touches on the sensitive relationship between religion and the state.
BBC: The US-founded sect says it believes in spanking children if disobedient. But it said a “small reed-like rod” was used intended only to inflict “pain and not damage” and was not abusive.
HSLDA: At 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 29, 2013, in what has been called a “brutal and vicious act,” a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, forcibly removing all four of the family’s children (ages 7-14). The sole grounds for removal were that the parents, Dirk and Petra Wunderlich, continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.
Weekly Standard: Last week, the New York Times ran a piece on the dire demographic problems facing Germany. The short version: Germans aren’t having enough kids, and as a result the economy is in trouble and there are all sorts of logistical problems . . .
Spiegel Online: Germany is set to become the first country in Europe to introduce a third, “indeterminate” gender designation on birth certificates. The European Union, which is attempting to coordinate anti-discrimination efforts across member states, is lagging behind on the issue.
Legal Insurrection: I’ll have to leave the next questions to the immigration law experts: Would the Romeikes have been better off under the Gang of 8 bill and/or Obama administrative policy if they did not apply for asylum, which is a legal route to permanent residency, but instead came here illegally?
AP: Two of Germany’s biggest Internet service providers say they will encrypt customers’ emails by default following reports that the U.S. National Security Agency monitors international electronic communications.
Boston.com: Attorneys for Christian parents who fled Germany in order to home school their children but have been denied U.S. asylum said they are preparing to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case and were working with Congress to try to change asylum law.
Germany: “Anti-discrimination” Policies Always Were Ridiculous. But Now They Turn Into A Serious Danger.
Turtle Bay and Beyond: The fight against “discriminations” reaches a new extreme in Germany, where the Bundesärztekammer (BÄK), a body representing the country’s healthcare professionals, has proposed to abolish a ban against homosexuals to act as blood donors. The BÄK announced its intention to work towards the lifting of this prohibition, which it described as “discriminatory”.
Reuters: Turkey warned German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday not to play politics with its European Union ambitions as Berlin blocked moves to open a new chapter in Ankara’s EU membership talks next week.
IslandPacket.com: Germany has blocked the next step in the European Union’s membership talks with Turkey over Ankara’s crackdown on anti-government protests, a diplomat from an EU nation said Thursday.
HSLDA: On Wednesday, June 12, the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit took the encouraging step of ordering the Department of Justice to respond to Home School Legal Defense Association’s request to have the Romeike case reheard by the entire Sixth Circuit.
The American Spectator: Mr. Goldstein rightly notes that the U.S. grants asylum to people “seeking protection because they have suffered persecution or fear that they will suffer persecution due to: Race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.” It seems to me that the Romeike’s religious beliefs, which led them to pull their kids out of public school, qualify. And beyond all of the legal wrangling, this one just doesn’t pass the smell test. Do the right thing, Mr. Holder.
AP: Gay rights campaigners won a victory over the German government Thursday as the country’s top court ruled that homosexual couples in civil unions should receive the same tax benefits as heterosexual married couples.
The Hill: Attorney General Eric Holder is under pressure from House Republicans to give a German family asylum so its children can be homeschooled in the United States and be taught “Christian values.”
Turtle Bay and Beyond: The AP reports on a US Apeals Court decision to leave a family of homeschoolers at the mercy of the German Government, even though the Court found that the US Constitution forbids the state from prohibiting homeschooling. The family faces impossible fines and loss of custody of their children if they are returned to Germany. They should have just pretended to be gay.
Eugene Volokh at the Volokh Conspiracy: Jonathan posted earlier today about Romeike v. Holder (6th Cir. May 14, 2013), which reject German homeschoolers’ asylum claim. The opinion is quite readable and persuasive, and I recommend it to those interested in the subject. But here’s my general thinking (reprised from 2010 post on the original immigration judge decision in the case), and stressing that I’m not an expert on asylum law:
Jonathan Adler reports on the ruling at the Volokh Conspiracy: The relevant legislation applies only to those who have a “well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(42)(A). There is a difference between the persecution of a discrete group and the prosecution of those who violate a generally applicable law.
Filistrucchi, Lapo and Prufer, Jens, Nonprofits are Not Alike: The Role of Catholic and Protestant Affiliation (April 26, 2013). TILEC Discussion Paper No. 2013-013. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2259051 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2259051
Norbert Blum at WorldCrunch: In a society designed around individual liberty, has marriage become little more than a temporary link-up of working people choosing to spend some free time together? And the kids?
DW.de: A major study of attitudes towards religion says Germans approve of openness towards other religions. But many are still suspicious of Islam. Former German President Christian Wulff earned much praise but also much criticism when said in a speech during his tenure, “Islam is also a part of Germany.”
AP: Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk has fired his justice minister, who made comments alleging Germans may be experimenting on Polish embryos from in vitro fertilization procedures
Reuters: The 60-year-old teacher, challenging his 2011 dismissal, had claimed his constitutional right to freedom of opinion trumped the Church’s right to employ only Catholics who agreed with the religious mission of their jobs.
Baptist Press: A German family should be granted asylum in the U.S. because their s native government is denying a fundamental human right by preventing them from homeschooling their children, attorney Michael Farris told a three-judge panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday (April 23) in Cincinnati.
The Fight Against Gender Stereotypes And Parental Rights: The Case In France And Other European Countries
Turtle Bay and Beyond: French parents who wish to pass on certain values to their children will clash in the coming months over the Republic’s education system, which the current Government wishes to reform, particularly in relation to the complementary …
Wendy McElroy at Future Freedom Foundation: Many would disagree with Bonhoeffer’s simple and uncompromising Christianity but even those with no religious belief can find a rolemodel in his behavior. He and his family definitely disprove the theory of a German character flaw. They should make us pause before blaming a nationality or a race for the triumph of totalitarianism and make us consider, instead, the dynamics of how that tyranny came to be. As long as we blame only the character of individuals or defined groups, we will learn little about the more general institutional character of totalitarianism itself.
Europe News: The Bavarian branch of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV), has placed under state surveillance German activists accused of fomenting hate against Muslims due to their opposition to the construction of a mega-mosque in Munich.
Robert Knight at Townhall: A courageous German Christian couple refused to hand over their children to the government schools and fled to America three years ago. Now, the Obama Administration is trying to send them back. A likely outcome would be the state seizing the children and imprisoning the parents.
Christian Newswire: Focus on the Family spokesman and Truth Project founder Dr. Del Tackett yesterday declared his support for HSLDA’s efforts to defend the Romeike family. Tackett believes that the U.S. government is siding with the restrictive homeschooling laws in Germany and that this could have serious implications for American homeschoolers.
AP: A German pastor due to stand trial for allegedly inciting violence at an anti-Nazi demonstration says authorities risk deterring people from standing up to right-wing extremists if he is convicted.
Spiegel Online: Germany is home to some 4 million Muslims. With the long Easter weekend around the corner, a leading member of the country’s Muslim community has called for legal recognition of two Muslim holidays, drawing criticism from among Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling conservatives.
Jillian Kay Melchior at NRO: Uwe and Hannelore Romeike fled to the United States in 2008, claiming the German government had denied their religious freedom by forbidding them from homeschooling their children. Now, the Obama administration is trying to send them back, even though the Romeikes might lose their children if they’re deported to Germany.
Digital Journal: Police in Germany have foiled an assassination plot by Islamic extremists to kill Markus Beisicht, leader of the far-right Pro NRW party.
AP: German authorities banned three ultraconservative Islamic groups Wednesday, including one whose Internet propaganda videos helped inspire the extremist who killed two American airmen at Frankfurt airport in 2011, the country’s domestic intelligence chief said.