Congressional Republicans Believe Christian Homeschoolers Are A Persecuted Social Group

The author at the age of 14 while being homeschooled.

The author at the age of 14 while being homeschooled.

Did you know that folks who homeschool their children are a persecuted class of people who need asylum in the United States? I’ve never encountered any homeschoolers who were legitimately persecuted by the government, unless you count visits from Child Protective Services, but according to House Republicans they are. However, these aren’t American homeschoolers they’re talking about; they must be people from violent, impoverished war-torn areas like El Salvador or the Central Africa Republic where people are being murdered by the thousands for their choice to teach their children at home instead of sending them to school, right?


Wrong.

The bill (called the Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act) that Republicans are introducing is designed to grant asylum for people from places like Germany or Sweden, where you can face fines or prison time for not sending your kids to school – not losing your life, or at least an arm or a leg. Because heaven knows there’s no social group more persecuted and marginalized than homeschoolers, right?

The bill’s provision would grant asylum for up to 500 individuals “fleeing home school persecution” in countries where home schooling is illegal. The bill explicitly refers to home schooling as a “particular social group” and indicates that a person is eligible for asylum if he or she is “deemed to have been persecuted for failure or refusal to comply with any law or regulation that prevents the exercise of the individual right of that person to direct the upbringing and education of a child of that person.” The House Judiciary Committee approved the bill 21-12 last month.

The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), an organization which provides advocacy and legal representation for parents who choose to educate their kids at home, said that the provision was included in the bill “in light of HSLDA’s recent support of the Romeike family who fled from Germany to the United States in 2008 after being faced with fines and prison time for homeschooling their children.” (Source)

I’m sure that some people will ask why I’m opposed to individual liberties, but that’s a red herring argument here. I will say that for the vast majority of my childhood, I was one of those weird homeschooled kids and we were members of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). We even worked for the founding president’s (Mike Farris) lieutenant governor campaign in 1993, where he lost even though the other two Republicans won the governor’s and attorney general’s race, due to being seen too extreme – even by 1990s then-red state Virginia standards. Thanks to the HSLDA, my parents were able to opt out of any and all government oversight when it came to my education – and the fact that I know the Bible like the back of my hand but can’t do mathematics past the basic algebra level is proof of that.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) is this bill’s original sponsor. The people he’s designing this provision for aren’t being killed for their religious beliefs or dealing with violence from warring drug gangs, they’re simply being told that they’re welcome to teach their kids religion at home, but they have to send their kids to public school.

The German government’s philosophical basis is that homeschooling creates parallel societies that do not share common and essential German values and skills. The fear is that without public schooling, immigrants would not be able to integrate into German society, and that without full integration, the nation as a whole suffers.

Like the Dudeks, many of the families interested in homeschooling are deeply religious and feel it’s their duty to incorporate Christian teachings into the day-to-day lessons.

Andreas Vogt, a lawyer in Germany who represents more than a dozen homeschooling families, estimates more than 1,000 children are homeschooled in Germany. Some clients have fled to France, England and Austria to continue homeschooling. (Source)

So you get into trouble with your government for failing to send your kids to school, and that’s more of a pressing need to get into the United States than people who are facing certain death in Central America, Africa or elsewhere throughout the world?


Can you imagine the utter outrage from the same conservatives who are pushing this bill for Christian homeschoolers if the Muslims being massacred in Africa were given asylum here in the United States? Oh, they’re being murdered by Christian militias, so nothing to see here, move along. Let’s not also forget the people in Latin America, either:

Persecution of German parents who don’t abide by home schooling ruling results in prison time or foster care for their children. Persecution of Latin Americans who are denied asylum can result in death after deportation, as it did for at least five children who were deported back to Honduras earlier this year. A deported immigration advocate whose asylum case was denied twice was found shot and killed in Mexico over the weekend.

Honduras is the murder capital of the world, Guatemalan girls are especially prone to a culture desensitized by rape, and homicide victims in El Salvador are predominantly male teens. (Source)

So, once again we see Republican lawmakers throwing bones to the religious right and the fringe elements of the party. This is a party that’s more concerned with allowing reclusive religious nuts from other countries to shelter their kids from integrating with society than they are with the migrants who are trying to escape actual violence and persecution. Then again, does anything they do these days actually surprise you?




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  • Mark Stone

    Let’s see you are born gay & wtf its OK to be discriminated against, but choose to home school & you get special privileges? It never ceases to amaze me how far from stupid and I don’t mean towards smart,
    these nutjobs go with their warped “logic” to justify their warped belief system.

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    • Creeayshun Sighuntist

      great story and I love the way you tell it.

  • strayaway

    At my local public school board meeting, a homeschool family asked permission for their son to take a public school driver education course. It was denied even though they were taxpayer residents of the school district. As one board member put it, “If the rest of our courses aren’t good enough for them why should we let them pick and choose which courses to take?” The use of district school buses was also denied home schoolers even if it didn’t lengthen the bus route.

    The author of this article was right that this isn’t the same measure of persecution being dealt some third-worlders in their own countries but it at least measures a level of contempt and lack of toleration for some people not buying into government education.

    • Creeayshun Sighuntist

      poor persecuted christians….why don’t they just pick themselves up by their bootstraps and have their stay at home parent take them? Seems like the crazy christians are the ones with contempt for the entire public school system and are doing their best to undermine, defund and privatize at every opportunity. But now they want to whine about this when they could just take their rugged individualism to the local Juco and pay for the same class. Just another publicity stunt so libertards can shout about defunding the Dep of Ed this next cycle.

      • strayaway

        Sounds like you have an ounce or two of hatred to shake off. No wonder they feel persecuted.

    • Creeayshun Sighuntist

      the scarey thing is, since christians like to screech that the US is a christian nation, the board members you are referring to are probably christian as well, just not doomsday bunker christians. I’m guessing you don’t think 85% of the population self identifying are not enough christians to put your fears to rest. Just stop whining for once please

      • strayaway

        You are probably right about the Board officials considering themselves Christian too. I wasn’t whining; just trying to put things in perspective. There was an animosity demonstrated toward home schoolers in my District. That’s a fact. Maybe it is the only such incident in the Country but I doubt it judging from the venom in your other rant.

    • Ceci Pipe

      Why would home schooled kids use the bus? By definition they don’t leave their house to go to school. Unless you mean going to another families house with a bunch of other kids? That isn’t home-schooling, that’s a private school wanting to use public school funded facilities in order to cut costs.

      Animosity because they can’t Scrooge their way into free bus rides? Go to hell

      • strayaway

        Since homeschoolers’ parents also pay taxes to support public schools, why shouldn’t they be provided with the same services whether drivers’ ed class or school bus pickup if the bus doesn’t have to go out of the way? Public schools should, it seems, put the education of children paramount to turf wars with a small minority of competition. Besides, why shouldn’t these children be provided with equal protection e.g. learning to drive safely or be protected from the elements on the way to their class?

        Nor shall any State . . . deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
        — Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

      • Jen

        My retired in-laws pay taxes for schools, should they get to ride the school bus and take drivers ed too? Public School services are for children who are ENROLLED in Public School.

      • strayaway

        That’s a fairly good point. I don’t see why public school buildings, pools, busses and so forth should be off limits to the public. Many or most public schools accommodate voting and other non-public school use of public school property. But here the subject is homeschoolers and whether they are being discriminated against. I brought up a real life situation in which they were unnecessarily discriminated against in my local school district. I don’t see how the public was served in not allowing home schoolers to receive driver’s education lessons and being bussed to their school without lengthening the bus route especially in light of the spiteful comment made by a board member. Those actions didn’t address the spirit of equal accommodations or the equal protection clause. Do you have an axe to grind against home schoolers?

      • Jen

        No axe to grind, and I have no problem with a Homeschooler either riding the bus (if there is room and the bus doesn’t have to go out of the way) nor with taking driver’s ed (again, if there is room in the class, etc) The problem that I DO have is that I don’t believe that not being permitted these things is DISCRIMINATION. Families who homeschool their children made a CHOICE to not enroll their children in Public Schools. Services offered to Public School children are based on the number of children enrolled in a particular school, the number of seats available on the busses, the numbers of books ordered, number of staff hired, etc.

        I have a sister who teaches instrumental music at a public school. From time to time, she gets a student from a homeschooling family. She says those students are usually very well behaved, practice regularly and are contributing members to whatever groups or ensembles they play in. She believes (as do I) it is a benefit to both the homeschool student and the public school students for the homeschoolers to be able to participate in this way. However, in the district in which she teaches, the families are required to provide their own transportation.

      • strayaway

        I can’t find anything to disagree with you about in your last post except maybe where to draw the line on defining discrimination. I cited a case in which a Board member made hostile remarks in giving reason to do nothing for home schoolers.

      • Jen

        Being rude to someone is not the same as discrimination.

      • strayaway

        Maybe, but i wouldn’t suggest promoting that thought to other minorities.