Children’s Rights Voids Parental Rights

HSLDA Destroys German Homeschool Movement; claims facts exonerate them of any improprieties

HSLDA has written that when the facts are made known, HSLDA will be cleared of any improprieties on their part. Their actions have and continue to take place behind our back. We asked Peacemaker Ministries in December 2007 to mediate between HSLDA and ourselves and if this failed to settle the dispute then to proceed on with binding arbitration.

We believed that this would allow the facts to be laid out on an open table and the matter would be settled and we would no longer need to keep an eye on our backside. Since HSLDA continues to reject a mediation involving talks about restitution and binding arbitration with Peacemaker, we feel they have discredited themselves with their employees, state leaders, members and donors.

Mike Farris: Christians obligated to do 1 Corinthians 6 with other Christians

In early 2000, when HSLDA was asked their position in the Seelhoff case, Chris Klicka led off with: “Oh that adulterer!” Mike Farris said: “We would simply refer people to 1 Cor. 6:1-10,” wrote Farris. “Good Christians”, he added, “are biblically prohibited from suing other Christians. Indeed, 1 Corinthians 6:1-10 begins with the question: When any of you has a grievance against another, do you dare to take it to court before the unrighteous, instead of taking it before the saints?

Let Mike answer to his own words in our case. He and HSLDA will not enter into an agreement with us through Peacemaker Ministries even though we argue on the grounds of 1 Co. 6. They have falsely told others that Peacemaker does not handle corporation/individual mediations. Astonishingly, they argue that their corporation is not Christian and is therefore not bound by Scriptural guidelines. This is not how they present themselves on their own website and to their members.

We have tried for two-years to avoid suing. Leaders of HSLDA have treated me and my family treacherously and have had no regard for the fact that I have cancer that needs treatment. We believe that HSLDA carries some responsibility for the onset of my cancer due to the stress that it has brought on me.

Conspired Against

We feel altogether ganged up on and betrayed by our fellow co-laborers. I had every reason to expect a contract to work for Family Reformation LLC as the Director of Operations, which was to have developed into a partnership. I traveled overseas to accept this position. In addition, I had every reason to expect to own the magazine. Either this job or owning this magazine would have sustained my family financially and would have provided us with the necessary funds to continue on with our ministry in Germany.

Private Education in Germany – The Story Continues

German Castle

In Germany, private education is in very big trouble. Most homeschool families have fled the country already or are secretly preparing to flee. Private schools will suffer more controls since the European Counsel has voted to outlaw Creation science. The parents’ custody of their homeschooled children is being taken away by the government and parents are in danger of being put into prison. An old law was recently reworded to accommodate the socialistic trend in Germany that will facilitate children’s custody matters to be implemented on a fast track and without a court order. Parents whose conscience does not permit them to send their children to school are no longer safe to live in Germany.

Many Christians, mostly American homeschool families, have donated during the last few years to the German cause. We used this money to organize, lobby, protect families, win the press over, and to put on national conventions. When our work was no longer funded, I was forced to take an employment in the US, working toward a new donation drive for German homeschoolers. Devoid of our presence and counsel for the homeschool movement, the government decided to crack down hard on the families, causing terror in all the states of Germany.

The German homeschool movement is in dire need of me and my wife’s presence. This has been made known to HSLDA over and over again by leading German attorneys. But HSLDA refuses to listen and instead chooses to do their own thing in Germany. Their strategy to give money to fund some court cases and to give to some families who are being harassed by the government to relocate outside of the country simply cannot win the battle for a freedom of education in Germany. This is clearly proven by what is happening over there right now.

So why do they continue not to listen to reason? I am convinced that it has something to do with me. They refuse to admit that they made a mistake in my case. From all appearances, it appears that they are working to cover up something they did that may do harm to their organization if it is ever brought to light.

Mike Farris and Mike Donnelly went to Germany in April 2007, with what appears to have been the express purpose of destroying the Smiths’ ministry once and for all. They brought coffers full of money, telling German homeschool leaders at small individual conferences that the Smiths were suing HSLDA and they are no longer needed in Germany.

Our Christian organization Schuzh, the only national Christian organization, made their needs known to HSLDA and yet received no funding at all. Monies were offered rather to projects of other organizations and families, often un-schoolers, and also to help families flee the country. One international conference of liberal un-schoolers was co-funded by HSLDA. This conference promoted the rights of the child and the un-schooling approach.

HSLDA’s Mike Donnelly asked whether he could speak and the organizers of this conference allowed him to speak as a homeschool father but not as a HSLDA lawyer. Mike used this occasion to promote HSLDA and to publicly offer monies. HSLDA also fell into the trap of agreeing to fund a project to be done by a professor who publicly stated that he was against Christians and was for the right of children. This project fell through so HSLDA was spared the embarrassment of having funded a project done by such a man.

When Mike Farris and Mike Donnelly visited Germany in April 2007, there was a court case involving a family named Neubronner, an un-schooling family. Mike Farris took the position that in this case arguing for the rights of a child was presently the best way to go in Germany. He voiced this advice on several occasions, quite contrary to his passionate parental rights argumentations in the U.S.

It is our position that children’s rights void parental rights and religious liberties as guaranteed in the German constitution, giving the children into the hands of the government. The case of the Neubronner’s, un-schoolers claiming to be homeschoolers, served to discredit legitimate homeschooling in Germany. The court was all too willing to agree with the Neubronner’s and their position to grant children their rights. However, in the end, the family had to flee Germany because the court wanted to take the custody of the children.

Anybody arguing for the rights of children plays right into the hands of the government. Since this is a most important issue I would like to take a moment here to explain why children’s right are dangerous and when granted will serve to destroy the traditional family.

Some years ago, Germany signed on to the United Nations Charter on the Rights of Children. The German government now rules in favor of this charter even though it has not been internationally and officially ratified because one particular country has not yet signed on to it, which is the US. But this does not stop the German government from acting in the spirit of this charter. In fact, they rule in favor of it above their own constitution. If the US ever signs on to this UN charter of children rights, you will see a dissolving of the family here like you see today in Germany.

When children are granted their own individual rights, then for example when there is a court case that involves the family, the children and the parents must have their own separate attorneys – one to represent the child and one to represent the parents. Even though parents have the right to choose an attorney to represent their children, the so-called neutral judge takes on the task to call in an attorney himself who will be neutral and therefore able to see to it that the child’s rights are protected. As you might imagine, he appoints a local specialized attorney who is known to him. In whose favor do you supposed the court appointed attorney will act? The judge’s, naturally, who appointed him. We have seen this happen time and again. The parent’s appointed attorney had to fight hard to be even heard. Yes, the child had two attorneys!

The court is a government agency. In Germany, judges have unashamedly sided with the school authorities that are also government authorities. Do you think then that attorneys, appointed by the court, will honestly act in the traditional manner of protecting children from government interference? They will of course act as they are expected to act, not wanting to bite the hand that feeds them. They will argue against the parents – working to bring the helpless children against the parents and using their ploys to find fault with them.

In one of our cases in Paderborn, the parents’ appointed attorney representing a child of the family, was asked to leave the court room when the judge and the court appointed attorney wanted to interrogate the child! (The judge wanted to have only the court appointed attorney present). This unreasonable request led to a funny situation. The parent’s appointed attorney, whom we had briefed for this kind of situation, frankly refused to leave his client. No, he said, I am staying with the child. The judge tried two more times to move this attorney to obey her court order. He just shook his head. There was silence for a while. Finally, the judge turned to the child and her court appointed lawyer, also a lady, and began to question the child in his presence. The parents chosen attorney was the same attorney whom we later asked to defend Melissa Busekros.

Children’s rights work so often against the children’s best interests. The parents are paralyzed and not able anymore to protect their own children. Judges, attorneys and other government authorities are of one mindset and act in accordance with the government’s position. We have seen numerous times that laws protecting the citizen were totally ignored by government and court! When confronted with acting against the law, we heard them answer: I can live with that! We must act in the best interest of children.

My wife and I argued successfully against Schuzh attorneys taking the Neubronner case, a case that was built on children’s rights. Though it all sounded so reasonable if children have their rights, shouldn’t they be given the right to learn at home? Sounds good doesn’t it? But how does it really work? How does it serve to undermine the rights of parents?

Children under 18 have been in our modern time regarded as not mature enough to make their own decisions. So, for example, when important decisions arise that involve education, children need help to make the right decisions. When children are given their individual rights, the state, a “neutral” party steps in to guarantee children their rights and helps them to make the right decision. Since every child has the right to an education, the state is going to guarantee that he receives it.

In Germany, the government defines a legitimate education as one that is government approved, which in every case is government controlled. Parents who keep their children from this guaranteed right to a “legitimate” education by homeschooling their children are treated as abusive parents. Since they act against the child’s right to a “legitimate” education they are fined. If this does not change their mind they face prison. Next, the custody of the child is removed and given over to the neutral state.

So you see, when children are granted individual rights, the state stands ready to guarantee them their rights. Only the state because it is a neutral party is able to make neutral decisions for the children and thus guarantee them their rights. Consequently, the government has authority over the children instead of the parents who are unable to be neutral. Not being neutral, parents will make biased decisions, thus denying children their own individual rights. In Melissa Busekros’ case, the psychologist who was placed in charge over her wanted to separate her from her parents so that she would be able to become an independent person and not a clone of her parents. While in the charge of her biased parents, she would not mature into her “own” person.

Western Christian-based culture before today operated on the premise of the traditional family. A son or daughter was recognized as the son or daughter of Mr. and Mrs. so and so. When he or she acted disrespectfully, for example, this was a reflection of the parents and brought shame upon the entire family.

It is generally being looked upon by the German courts that parents are abusive when they deny their children an education in the prescribed socially neutral environment only to be found in state accredited schools. These parents who homeschool their children are said to be denying the children their rights to a legitimate education, one that will allow the children to become their own persons and capable of living among and making it in today’s modern world. Why was the Hitler regime frowned upon when it was holding essentially the same philosophy?

The government’s position is that parents alone are not able to make the best decisions for their children without consulting the specialists the government so generously provides. Parents, not dealing with the law on a regular basis may not even know all the rights that children have nowadays so they are not equipped to guide them as to what is best and most advantageous for them. Needless to say, the Neubronners fled Germany before the courts made their final decision, which would obviously have been to remove the custody of the children from the parents. HSLDA covered this family as a homeschooling family whereas in truth they were unschoolers! In America, HSLDA takes a hard line against unschoolers and for good reason.

Children’s rights play into the government’s involvement in guaranteeing freedom for all. It actually gives rise to and a free reign to a totalitarian philosophy that is growing rapidly in Germany. This philosophy is allowed to be perpetrated in the German society without restraint. A former political editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the major intellectual conservative newspaper in Germany, in a meeting my wife and I had with him several years ago called it statism.

There is an old saying, “What goes around comes around”. If the German government is allowed to follow the course she is presently on, it is my opinion and the opinion of many others that this will eventually become the course of the entire European Union.

The proper arguments to ensure the right for educational freedom, which includes homeschooling, are parental rights and religious rights. These rights are supposed to be protected under the German constitution. Children’s rights are not. If our arguments stray from the constitution they cannot and should not be allowed to win.

Mike Farris’ position was always against the rights of children and un-schoolers. He firmly supports parental rights and parental teaching. He has done Germany a great disservice in many respects by toppling us, who stood as a stumbling block in the government’s way. Above everything else, Mike let the Christian community down after we had built up the name of HSLDA in Germany as being a trustworthy Christian organization. His touted strategy paper for Germany does not contain his own ideas. He rather high jacked this strategy from us even though it does not appear that he intends to implement it. It reads like our paper on Germany’s reads, which we delivered to HSLDA two years earlier. The only change seems to be that now diverse groups receive funds from HSLDA. “HSLDA Germany”, as HSLDA had sometimes referred to our organization, Schuzh is no longer treated as important. This proposed strategy cannot work unless the Smiths are on the ground in Germany.

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