Sunday, March 9, 2014

Today's Pilgrims, The Romeike Family

     The Romeike family has experienced their share of emotional roller coasters. The Romeike family came to America in 2010 to escape persecution in Germany. They were granted asylum because of Germany's harsh laws that make the fundamental right of homeschooling illegal.    They fled to this country for freedom much like the pilgrims did.  In Germany, they would be subject to heavy fines, possible jail time and lose of custody of their children.  Asylum was granted because of the family's religious views that caused them to homeschool, and the improper motivations of German authorities to suppress home-schooling as a social group.   This ruling was challenged by the Obama administration.    I think of the irony of this circumstance when I consider the words of Emma Lazarus that are inscribed on the Statue of Liberty. These words have been an expression of the hopes realized by so many people that came here for freedom: 
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to be free,
The wretched refuse of your teaming shore,
Send these, the homeless,  tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

     Is that golden door closed to homeschooling families?  What is very striking about this case is that asylum was granted by a judge, but the Justice Department, headed by Eric Holder, appealed the decision of the judge.  This is the same department that is well known for not enforcing a number of laws. Instead of going after those that had violated law, this department went after this hard-working and well-respected family.  This is the same department that allows millions of illegal immigrates through our borders with impunity.  The sixth circuit went along with the federal government.  The case was appealed to the Supreme court where the appeal was denied.  Public outrage was expressed and a Supervisor with Homeland Security contacted the attorneys of the home-school family and let them know the family had "indefinite deferred status."  This means the family should not be deported to Germany where they would lose custody of their children.  We rejoice that this family is allowed to stay here, but we also remember that the Romeike family is only one of many families in Germany that have been refused the basic right to raise their children as they see fit.

     Uwe Romeike, who is the father of the family, is a piano teacher.  He didn't  come to this land to just get a hand-out.  He has work and plans to keep working for a living. He's made it clear that he would stay in Germany if authorities would just leave their family alone and let them raise their children.  On the website of Home School Legal Defense, he is quoted as saying,

     “We are happy to have indefinite status even though we won’t be able to get American citizenship any time soon. As long as we can live at peace here, we are happy. We have always been ready to go wherever the Lord would lead us—and I know my citizenship isn’t really on earth.”

     When Uwe says that his citizenship is not really on earth, he is referring to heaven.  Uwe believes, as a Christian, he is just passing through this life to experience a life that is much greater after this life.  The Bible tells us that our citizenship "is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ." Philippians 3:20.
Uwe thanked all those that helped his family and said,

"I thank God for his hand of blessing and protection over our family. We thank the American government for allowing us to stay here and to peacefully homeschool our children—it’s all we ever wanted.”

     In this post I have compared this family to the pilgrims.  I believe that this is an accurate comparison.  One of the primary reasons the pilgrims came here was a concern for the influences on their children.  William Bradford, who was a historian and a leader of the original Plymouth colony, spoke of this concern in his book where he said that one reason they had to leave Holland was that their children were being "drawn away by evil examples into extravagant and dangerous courses."  Uwe and his wife, Hannelore were deeply concerned about the witchcraft and other immoral teaching their children would receive in the German government schools.  In another post on this blog, it was reported that another German family, the Wunderlich family, had their children taken from their home at gunpoint.  The Wunderlich children are now forced to attend a government school.  Seeing the evil that is taking place in Germany, the lawyer for the Romeike family, Michael Farris, made a promise to Uwe.  He said this:

“When we lost at the Sixth Circuit, I told Uwe that he would go back to Germany over my dead body. I’m glad that wasn’t necessary! This is a courageous family and one that deserves to stay here. They are modern day Pilgrims.”

     We are so glad that these modern day pilgrims are here to stay, but we must not forget the others that are being persecuted for homeschooling their children in Germany.  Our government made the right choice in letting the Romeike family stay here.  It is my hope that we see this good judgment with other families fleeing persecution and that others won't have to go through what the Romeikes did in order to stay here.
    To every believer in Christ there is a promise of a better country.  The Bible tells us of those that "died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city."  

     If you are a Christian, you are a pilgrim!
 (The following videos are dated, but give an understanding of the subject matter of this post)

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