We have Tennessee neighbors who are in trouble, and it’s not because they have done anything wrong. It is because they did what is quintessentially American, and that is respond to Miss Liberty’s insistence that she be given the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” In 2010 the Romeike family legally arrived here seeking asylum from the German government. Why? Homeschooling is illegal in Germany, and there can be no mention of God in the public schools. The parents wanted what we often take for granted, the right to educate their children according to the dictates of their conscience, and they came here so their children could have a home-based Christ-centered education.
Uwe and Hannelore Romeike are evangelical (read that born again, Bible believing) Christians, and were alarmed by what their children were learning in the German public schools. They began to homeschool their kids in 2008, and sought asylum in America rather than have their children taken away from them.
They were granted asylum by the Justice Department, working hard as music teachers to support themselves, paid their taxes, followed Tennessee homeschool laws, and were the model of what American immigration is all about. They were not on welfare, trying to blow up runners or those cheering them on, and love this country. Uwe sacrificed his career and greatest temporal treasure to get here. He had a beautiful Steinway grand piano, which he sold, and he was a concert pianist by trade.
The Romeikes also have the distinction of being the first Western European family to seek political asylum in order to homeschool, and are being defended by the Home School Legal Defense Fund. Michael Farris, lead counsel and founder of Patrick Henry College, a Christian College in Virginia, recently said that it would be “over [his] dead body” that the Romeikes would be deported, and he will continue to defend them. Simply stated, this case is outrageous. Judges granted asylum, and are now taking it away, something that just does not happen. The Romeikes have legitimately experienced what America has to offer, and if the appeal is not granted, they go back to Germany, pay huge fines, and face having their children taken away from them. The parents also face going to jail. What is even more remarkable is that allegedly one of the reasons for the overturning of asylum status is that we are worried about offending Germany.
Twenty-five years ago, when I was a homeschooling parent, I met a woman from Louisiana who had spent two years in jail for homeschooling her children. She had hidden her children in an elaborate underground network during the time that she was imprisoned, and was finally freed and reunited with her kids. That happened here in America, and thankfully the story had a happy ending. I have never forgotten her quiet courage, and she demonstrated why we need to support our German Tennessee neighbors.
Whether you homeschool , send your kids to private school or use the public school option, it is your responsibility to be on the watch that our guaranteed freedoms are consistently upheld, and as was said by Edmund Burke, “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” For more information on how you can support the Romeikes, contact the Homeschool Legal Defense Fund at www.hslda.org.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner