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Not so free in Germany

By JOSEPH QUESNEL, March 3, 2007

I will forgo the pleasure of drinking German lager and eating sauerkraut for the foreseeable future and I ask freedom lovers to consider joining me.

I am joining an international boycott of German goods because of that country's drift away from fundamental freedoms.

We in North America do not hear much about Germany, as our media focuses on exotic hotspots, but I have noticed a discernible trend suggesting people should pay attention to the loss of freedoms in so- called advanced Western democracies, like Germany.

The most ominous example is the Busekros family. An online petition is calling for a boycott of German products due to their treatment.

The horrendous crime of this family, and others across Germany, is they chose to homeschool their children, a right taken for granted here. Homeschooling is illegal there, and authorities seem out for blood.

It took 15 German officers to take 15-year-old Melissa Busekros from her home, as the German government began cracking down on these nasty enemies of the state. By court order, school officials ordered the breakup of a family with five children, after the state asserted its belief that Christian homeschooling is a "parallel culture" that Germany can do without.

One child was even placed in a psychiatric ward and her parents denied the location.

Homeschooling parents in Germany have been imprisoned for teaching their children in a Christian lifestyle. The Home School Legal Defense Association estimates there are 40 other ongoing cases in Germany against homeschoolers.

Homeschoolers do not get much attention because they are a minority, but it is this minority that needs the most protection from a majority willing to deny their rights.

The essence of a free state is the existence of pluralistic civil society where different choices are permitted. The German authorities apparently do not respect the convictions of religious communities which believe family ought to be the first teacher, not the omnipotent state. My parents considered homeschooling me out of concerns over the expunging of Christianity from public schools. I'm glad we did not live in Germany.

What is frightening is that the law forbidding homeschooling was adopted during the Nazi era on the grounds that the state needed to take control over every aspect of life.

One German homeschool advocate said, "We are not far away from an intolerant dictatorship. Parental rights are more and more abolished. If you do not educate the way the state wants, the so-called Judenamt [Freudian slip, should be "Jugendamt", youth welfare office. "Judenamt" means Jews' Welfare Office ] is quick to check out if they can take away the custody of your children."

If this was the only troubling sign from Germany, I would stop, but it is not. This attack on homeschooling comes on the heels of the conviction of Holocaust revisionist Ernst Zundel, who was sentenced to five years in prison for "denying the Holocaust," which is considered seditious in Germany.

Call me a fool, but ideas and thoughts should be challenged in the forum of open debate, not through criminal sanction. The Holocaust is one of the most documented [sic] events in history, so there is a reason Zundel is marginalized. (...)

As for me, I will be throwing out my Kinder Surprise eggs and asking the German Embassy to help stop the harassment of German families.



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Justizvollzugsanstalt Mannheim 
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D 68169 Mannheim 
Germany 

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