Sunday, January 09, 2011

Religious Right Screaming Persecution Again

The Religious Right are screaming persecution again The Third Wave of Homeschool Persecution. Please people get a grip. There are secular humanist that homeschool, they treasure their homeschool freedoms as much as you do. Accusing a group of people of persecuting you because your religious views differ is idiotic and counter productive.

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  1. Alasandra, obviously you did not take the time to read the entire article. The people behind this agenda make it clear that they are not worried about Humanist homeschooling parents, but the "fundamentalist" Christian ones. We are singled out, IN THEIR OWN WORDS:

    In the May 2010 edition of the William and Mary Bill of Rights Journal, Catherine Ross, a law professor from George Washington Law School wrote:

    "the state can and should limit the ability of intolerant homeschoolers to inculcate hostility to difference in their children—at least during the portion of the day they claim to devote to satisfying the compulsory schooling requirement."

    She went on:

    "If a parent subscribes to an absolutist belief system premised on the notion that it was handed down by a creator, that it (like the Ten Commandments) is etched in stone and that all other systems are wrong, the essential lessons of a civic education (i.e., tolerance and mutual respect) often seem deeply challenging and suspect. If the core principle in a parent’s belief system is that there is only one immutable truth that cannot be questioned, many educational topics will be off limits. Such “private truths” have no place in the public arena..."

    And here is her solution:

    "I propose that we add to the civics education goals of the state, including lessons on mutual respect for diverse populations and viewpoints as a mandatory curricular requirement. As I observed above, some homeschoolers doubtless are committed to diversity, and this requirement would not conflict with their educational agenda, but this is not the group that concerns me. Imposing curricular requirements about respect for diverse viewpoints will be seen as undermining the most authoritarian conservative homeschoolers—those who believe in an absolute truth which forms the basis of the education they provide their children."

    As you can see, she is "not concerned" about secularist homeschoolers such as yourself, who probably teach what she agrees with. She wants curriculum requirements to impose her own "tolerant" worldivew on the children of whom she considers "authoritarian conservative homeschoolers - those who believe in an absolute truth".

    And she is not the only one. Professor Martha Albertson Fineman, from the Emory University School of Law, wrote in 2009:

    "The total absence of regulation over what and how children are taught leaves the child vulnerable to gaining a sub-par or non-existent education from which they may never recover. Moreover, the risk that parents or private schools unfairly impose hierarchical or oppressive beliefs on their children is magnified by the absence of state oversight or the application of any particular educational standards. . . [T]he more appropriate suggestion for our current educational dilemma is that public education should be mandatory and universal."

    Take a moment and imagine that the tables were turned, and the powers that be were fundamentalists Christians, and they were talking about the dangers of secularist parents teaching their kids that there is no absolute moral standard, and they propose REQUIRING you, by state imposed curriculum standards, to teach YOUR children to believe as they do. Would you not consider your parental rights to be under attack?

    Instead of attacking your fellow homeschoolers for supposedly overreacting, perhaps you can agree with us that EVERY parent - whether secularist or religious - should have the right to teach their children their own beliefs and values without interference or harrassment from the state.

  2. Rachael, I did in fact take the time to read the entire article. My point is that not ALL secular humanist would agree with Catherine Ross or Professor Martha Albertson Fineman's drivel, they too value their homeschooling freedoms. Ms. Ross and Professor Fineman are TWO people. They do not speak for all secular humanist anymore then you speak for all homeschoolers.

    The post The Third Wave of Homeschool Persecution blames all secular humanist for the mistaken views of Catherine Ross & Professor Fineman. This is not fair and makes your concerns appear paranoid.

  3. Once again, this is an example of how liberals want to shut down "fundamentalist" Christians AND have control over what kids are taught. It kills some people that we have freedom. The fact that we don't teach what's important to them (diversity and tolerance)is so appalling to them!

    Yet, in all their preaching about diversity and tolerance, they make themselves look like complete fools, because, they NEVER practice what they preach. They only tolerate those who agree with their rhetoric.

  4. Alasandra, the article does not blame ALL secular humanists, and neither do I. It simply points out that the people behind this threat have a secular humanist ideology and motivation, which is factually correct. You can't understand and defend against a threat until you understand the logic behind your opponent's views. To imply that it is "paranoid" to recognize that secular humanism is a factor in these people's logic is an unfair smear of homeschoolers who are simply trying to be aware and prepared for what is obviously going to be the next battle for our rights.

    This is not the mere isolated opinion of two misguided professors. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has been used by secular humanists in Europe to attack the rights of Christian homeschoolers, and in some cases, even to take children away from their parents. (This is not paranoid hearsay, but verifiable fact: If the UNCRC is ratified in the US, the same thing could happen here. I hope that secular homeschoolers such as yourself will partner with us in protecting the parental rights of ALL homeschoolers, not just secular ones.

  5. Rachel the post I linked to says
    "They can’t leave homeschoolers alone because to Secular Humanists, their god is the state. Since there is no other god in their view, your rights – including property and parental rights – come from the state."

    Which sounds as if the post writer is blaming ALL Secular Humanist, not just the few mentioned in the article. And perhaps you should learn more about secular humanism before you start putting it down.
    From the Council for Secular Humanism "One myth about secular humanism that we should deal with straight away is that it is a monolithic dogma. It isn't. There is no central authority and no process for indoctrinating or converting people to secular humanism. People come to secular humanism by following their own curiosity and reasoning.In fact secular humanism is not so much a body of beliefs as a method for reaching understanding. It is an approach to life that tries to be positive, rational, realistic, and open-minded. A common approach to issues often leads to common answers. Where we describe what humanists believe, we are not expressing a doctrine or view from on high, but doing our best to state the consensus shared by our fellow secular humanists. "

    Your characterization of most secular humanist, is appalling. Most secular humanist would defend your right to raise your children as you see fit. It would be like me saying ALL Fundamentalist Christians protest at military funerals and cause additional grief to the deceased loved ones. Instead of signaling out the small group from Westboro Baptist Church.

  6. Anonymous maybe they are just tired of the Fundamentalist Christians that try to ram their beliefs down others throats. You know like the ones that go around protesting at military funerals. The ones from Westboro Baptist Church.

    Now I know a lot of Christians are appalled by this groups behavior. Maybe a few Fundamentalist groups are also but they have yet to condemn it. So can you really blame another group for judging Fundamentalist Christians by this one Baptist Church's cruel behavior and thinking somebody should put a stop to the intolerance that finds it acceptable to cause additional grief to already grieving families.

  7. Alasandra, you misunderstand the statement. It points out the reasoning behind THESE secular humanists, who are specifically targeting religious homeschoolers. However, if it helps clear up confusion, I'll be happy to revise it.

    At any rate, the original point still remains: the idea that there is no Creator who endows mankind with unalienable rights inevitably leads (at least, with these individuals) to the assumption that rights come from the state. Rights that come from the state can just as easily be removed by the state. Again, these are not my words, but theirs:

    “States delegate power over children to parents—not vice versa.”

    These people believe that your parental rights come from the state, and they can rescind them whenever they decide they know better than you do. That is a frightening ideology that should give every parent pause. Obviously, not all secular humanists believe this, but the majority of secular humanists believe there is no creator. Without a creator, you have no unalienable rights - period.

    (Also, the Westboro psychos are neither Baptist nor a church. They are a cult, led by former three-time Democrat gubernatorial candidate Fred Phelps Jr. Only the ignorant would confuse them with fundamentalist Christians.)

  8. Considering that Fred Phelps calls his church Westboro BAPTIST Church, one can hardly blame people for associating him with Baptist. Granted if one does research one discovers it is an Independent Baptist Church.

    The Westboro Baptist Church is not affiliated with any known Baptist conventions or associations. The church describes itself as following Primitive Baptist and Calvinist principles.

    While you may not consider WBC to be a Baptist Church or it's members to be Fundamentalist Christians it is the face that most people associate with Fundamentalist Christianity due to its MEDIA exposure. And Certainly Phelps and the members of WBC consider themselves to be Fundamentalist Christians.

    Just like you are assuming that all Secular Humanist want to restrict your homeschooling freedom or that they think blah, blah, blah. Just because you read something Ross & Fineman wrote.

    Secular Humanists are staunch supporters of freedom of religion, belief, and conscience, as laid out in both the U.S. Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These rights protect the freedom of religious belief equally with the freedom of nonreligious belief, the freedom of religion equally with the freedom from religion.

    Secular humanists would actually oppose advocacy of their worldview by schools or the government because that would violate the neutrality of a secular society, and the rights of religious believers. Secular humanists believe that a healthy society supports a variety of worldviews, just as it supports a variety of political parties. We also believe that religious and philosophical views should be every bit as open to debate and discussion as political beliefs.

  9. Alasandra, your ridiculous argument about the Westboro cult is a straw man. They're a small group of idiots who make noise in public to offend, but otherwise have no power or influence over your life. In contrast, the UN Conventions on the Rights of the Child (written by those who hold the same worldview as the two professors quoted in the article) has HUGE ramifications for the rights of religious parents. IT HAS ALREADY BEEN USED TO PERSECUTE HOMESCHOOLERS - and even take their children away - in Germany, Sweden, and other countries, all in the name of promoting "tolerance". This is a reality YOU HAVE YET TO ACKNOWLEDGE. Are you honestly expecting me to believe, on your shallow reassurances, that these threats don't exist because YOU don't agree with them?

    As I've said repeatedly, I understand that not ALL secular humanists agree with this agenda (you obviously being one of them). But THESE secular humanists DO support this agenda, and they DO have the power to see it through. In their own words, they believe that parents who teach their children that there is such a thing as absolute truth are "intolerant", and they believe the state should FORCE parents to teach the "truth" that all beliefs are equally valid and should be given equal consideration (in a word - secular humanist ideology) onto other people's children. It's there IN THEIR OWN WORDS. For someone who purports to be led solely by facts and logic, you seem rather in denial about these particular facts.

    This is not just an annoying group of idiots standing on a street corner holding signs, but people who shape laws and serious national policies.

    You may say that since they are being so obviously, hypocritically intolerant, they must not REALLY be secualar humanists. If you want to believe that, fine, (even though their own words say otherwise, and the beliefs they are trying to push on Christian parents come straight out of the Humanist Manifesto). But instead of berating me over terminology and denying the fact that these people are secular humanists simply because they happen to be involved in an agenda you disagree with, I once again urge you to focus your efforts on joining the fight to make sure these people don't succeed. (And by the way, my primary source for secular humanist beliefs is the American Humanist Association, which is hostile to the Bible, Creationism and other beliefs which Christian homeschool parents teach their children, so feel free to argue with them all you like.)

    I really think you need to let this issue go. I don't troll other people's blogs for the express purpose of leaving snarky comments about their supposed ignorance and overreaction on issues I disagree with. Call me crazy, but I think that's a brand of "tolerance" we could all do well to follow.

    Court orders Christian homeschooled girl to attend public school

    Swedish court refuses to return homeschool boy to family

    US grants home schooling German family political asylum

    The Shocking Origins of Public Education

    Threat to Parents’ Rights a Bigger Issue than Rights of a Child

  10. Rachel, you are the one that keeps coming to my blog leaving comment after tiresome comment insisting that secular humanist are evil beings out to take your children away from you.

    As for the UN Rights of the Child "The Convention on the Rights of the Child sets out the rights that must be realized for children to develop their full potential, free from hunger and want, neglect and abuse. It reflects a new vision of the child. Children are neither the property of their parents nor are they helpless objects of charity. They are human beings and are the subject of their own rights. The Convention offers a vision of the child as an individual and as a member of a family and community, with rights and responsibilities appropriate to his or her age and stage of development. By recognizing children's rights in this way, the Convention firmly sets the focus on the whole child. "

    Exactly what do you disagree with?

    As for the cases in Germany & Sweden. Homeschooling is illegal in Germany and was banned in Sweden so those families were breaking the law of the countries in which they lived. While I disagree with the law it does not affect me as I live in AMERICA were Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states. Your claims that because something happened in a foreign country it could happen here is bogus.

    Thanks for the link to the the American Humanist Association. Although I didn't see anything on their site to indicate they were hostile to the Bible, Creationism and other beliefs which Christian homeschool parents teach their children. Not agreeing with your beliefs isn't being hostile to them.

    And by the way not that it is any of your business but I am a Christian not a Secular Humanist. You apparently find it very easy to label people.

    I have lots of Secular Humanist friends and they are much more accepting and tolerant then any Fundamentalist Christians I have meet.

  11. Alasandra, you first came to MY blog to tell me to "get a grip". YOU initiated this conversation, and I have been merely responding.

    The UNCRC sounds wonderful in theory, but in practice, it has been used in Europe to deny parental rights, especially of homeschoolers. The laws of Germany and Sweden which prohibit a parent's right to direct their own child's education are BASED ON THE UNCRC. If you read the links I posted, you would know that.

    You say you don't worry about it because you live in America, but right now there is a huge push in the Senate to ratify the UNCRC, the very treaty which is being used overseas to attack homeschooling rights. To say "it can't happen" here is naive, especially if we finally ratify the UNCRC.

    If you want to live in a world where the United Nations tells you that the state has first rights to your children - that your parental rights are merely delegated by the state and can be rescinded at will - then by all means, continue to attack the homeschoolers who are fighting for your right to teach your child as you please.

    Also, I didn't "label" anyone as a secular humanist - THEY SAID IT WITH THEIR OWN WORDS. I really don't know what is so difficult about accepting people at their word about what they believe and what agenda they plan to push because of it.

    In the future, if you wish to avoid "tiresome" responses to your comments, it might be best to leave your commentary on your own blog instead of mine.

  12. As a Native Woman I agree that tolerance of diversity should be a mandatory part of schooling.

    Racism and bigotry is alive and strong in North America and the only way that will ever change is if children are taught about other cultures, beliefs, peoples and lifestyles as equal.

    As a Native Woman I (along with my family) follow our spiritual beliefs. We are considered a very traditional family in our community. We follow even the strictest teachings that many no longer follow. And we bring our children up in this way. BUT knowing how racism feels on a personal level we are also strongly convicted to teach our children that all peoples are equal. There is no one right way. There is a right way for us, and another right way for others. That we are equal in our differences!

  13. Rachael, you said
    "As I've said repeatedly, I understand that not ALL secular humanists agree with this agenda (you obviously being one of them). "

    Labeling me a secular humanist which I am not as I believe in a God and an afterlife. Which secular humanist do not believe in.

    I am far more worried about Generation Joshua enacting laws pushing Fundamentalist Christian beliefs on the rest of us then I am about the UN. In fact I see the UN as protection against Fundamentalist Christians that would take us back to the Dark Ages.

  14. Ina,
    I love this
    "There is no one right way. There is a right way for us, and another right way for others. That we are equal in our differences!"

    I do wish other people could understand that what is right for them may not be right for someone else.

    Thank you so much for commenting it is refreshing to hear from someone who believe in tolerance.

  15. Ina, how can you say "There is no one right way. There is a right way for us, and another right way for others," and then turn around and call for MANDATORY teaching of YOUR VERSION of "tolerance" and "diversity" on OTHER PEOPLE'S CHILDREN?

    TRUE tolerance involves a voluntary exchange of ideas, NOT FORCE. Whenever you start to force your ideas on others, ESPECIALLY using the brutal force of the state to impose it against their will, you can no longer claim to be "tolerant".

  16. Alasandra, forgive me for assuming you were a secular humanist, but after vigorously defending their beliefs, and then sharing how your own beliefs coincided, you gave me no indication to think otherwise.

    You still have refused to acknowledge two simple facts: 1) that the UNCRC has repeatedly been used as a weapon against homeschoolers around the world, and 2) that the justification for doing so (from their own lips) is that children need to be taught that all beliefs are equally valid - the cornerstone of secular humanist belief, as opposed to the "dangerous" Christian idea that there is such a thing as absolute truth.

    Until you are willing to acknowledge these simple facts, it is impossible to have a logical debate on this issue.

  17. Racheal: only a bigot would make such a comment. For it is only bigots who wish bot to teach tolerance of all peoples. Trust me, I have felt the hatred of such types daily. I have Been beaten by such types. Not hired by such types. Insulted by such types. My children have been bullied by the children of such types (why we homeschool, it is hard to learn inan atmosphere of intolerance). I could go on but I am sure it falls on deaf ears.

  18. Alasandra: Thanks. It is nice to be reminded that there are tolerant people :)

  19. Ina, I am sorry for the abuse you have suffered at the hands of bigots, but kindly refrain from accusing others you don't know simply because they disagree with you. After all, that's what "tolerance" means.

    Attacking the messenger instead of respectfully debating the issue is called an "ad hominem" attack, and you're better than that.

    You don't know anything about me. I've lived all over the world, and have studied many different cultures, religions and beliefs. My children will have the same privilege If I have anything to say about it.

    And that is the only argument I'm making - that NOBODY - not even some bureaucrats at the UN - has the right to dictate to other parents what, when, where or how they should teach their children.

    Understanding a person's viewpoint and respecting a person's right to disagree is true tolerance. But by definition, forcing a parent to teach something which contradicts their faith or values is NOT respecting their right to disagree, and is NOT tolerance.

    To forcefully impose your beliefs on others is wrong. It's wrong if Christians do it, and it's wrong if secular humanists do it.

    May we all respect one another's right to guide our children and pass on to them our values and beliefs, without interference or harrassment from the state or anyone else. After all, that's why most of us chose to homeschool in the first place.

  20. Rachel,

    According to a NEWS REPORT
    "No U.N. treaty will ever usurp the national sovereignty of this country," said Meg Gardinier, chair of a national coalition backing the treaty. "Ratification would boost our credibility globally."

    "The reality is that no country that is a party to the convention has seen parental rights encroached," said Jonathan Todres, a law professor at Georgia State University who has worked with Gardinier's coalition.

    Todres also noted that while U.N.'s expert committee monitoring the treaty can make recommendations to governments that have ratified the pact, there are no enforcement mechanisms or penalties.

    A treaty supporter, professor Linda Elrod of Washburn University School of Law, said critics ignore the treaty's strong support for the role of families and parents.

    "What makes me the most mad is the assumption that to give children rights takes away somebody else's rights," she said. "It should be three-pronged: Parents have a right to raise their child, the state has a right to protect the child, and in some instances the child might have an independent right. ... Why can't a child have a voice?"

  21. I have already provided evidence to prove that parental rights HAVE been encroached in countries where the UNCRC has been ratified, and the UNCRC has been used as the legal basis of the charges. Their statements ring hollow when the facts say otherwise.

    Also, while the UN cannot enforce the treaty, our constitution REQUIRES judges to consider any international treaty as the the law of OUR land. OUR OWN JUDGES would be enforcing international law, overriding all local and state laws and protections (which we, the voters, have put in place).

  22. There's a good documentary that just came out about this, called "The Child":

  23. Rachael, the evidence you provided does not PROVE anything about the UN Rights of the Child Treaty other then that the countries are still free to follow their OWN LAWS. Homeschooling has been illegal in Germany since 1871. n September 2006, the European Court of Human Rights upheld the German ban on homeschooling, in a religious-freedom case that began in 2003. The European court argued that parents can’t use religion to justify homeschooling in Germany. (Under German law, parents can decide whether or not their offspring will receive the religious instruction offered in German schools.) So the European court merely UPHELD GERMANY'S LAWS.

    Sweden enacted laws banning homeschooling, this has nothing to do with the UNCRC. You have yet to site ONE example where the UNCRC itself was hostile to homeschooling. Have you EVEN READ the UNCRC for yourself?

    BTW this is the reason a Swedish official gives for the law. Anna Neuman, press secretary for Education Minister Jan Bjorklund, said home schooling is unnecessary in her country.
    "Since all teaching in Swedish schools is both comprehensive and objective, there is no need for home schooling with reference to religious or philosophical reasons, and this is why this is not an option in the new Education Act," she said.

    According to a Swedish Homeschooler
    Jonas Himmelstrand, president of the Swedish home-schooling organization Rohus, said his family is currently fighting in court for the right to home-school their own children. He said that Sweden's government is not based on a constitution and inalienable rights, but has always been quite socialist.

    And even HSLDA agrees it is the Swedish Law that is the problem.
    Sweden's laws, according to Mike Donnelly, a lawyer with the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, are even contrary to the European Convention, which states that families have the right to school within their own religious and philosophical convictions.

    If you want to be taken seriously you might try citing sources other then youtube and WND.

  24. Swedish family and schooling policy is in conflict with Human Rights as per the European Convention (1950), established after the experience from WW2.

    The Human Rights not respected are:

    Article 2 (first amendement protocol):
    No person shall be denied the right to education. In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religions and philosophical convictions.

  25. Alasandra, it's true that the laws in these countries are the problem, but the LAWS ARE BASED ON COMPLIANCE WITH THE UNCRC. Even in Germany, where homeschooling has been been banned for years, THE UNCRC IS STILL CITED AS THE AUTHORITY AND JUSTIFICATION for denying homeschooling rights in these legal cases.

    It was cited by the judge Botswana:

    It was cited by by the Swedish authorities who took a homeschool boy away from his family:

    It was cited by the Secretary of State in Britain:

    And there are other examples:

    There really is no point in denying that the UNCRC is being used as a weapon against homeschoolers in courts around the world, unless you are already ideologically predisposed to embrace it.

    But the real question is, where do your rights come from? The UN's position is that rights are delgated from the state, therefore parental rights are secondary to whatever the state decides is in the "best interest of the child". Politicians are being given the right to override and dictate your parenting choices, including education, vaccination, and other areas. That's the real issue with the trojan horse they call the UNCRC.

  26. Those countries had those policies BEFORE they ratified the UNCRC.


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