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Germany Jails Eight Christian Fathers for Removing Children from Sex-Ed Class

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LifeSiteNews.com

By Peter J. Smith

WESTPHALIA, Germany, December 11, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - At least eight Russo-German families in Salzkotten, Germany, have suffered heavy fines and now their fathers have been sentenced to prison, because they have refused to send their elementary school-age children to mandatory sexual education classes.

The International Human Rights Group, a Christian legal defense organization that defends religious liberty and the right to homeschool in Europe, reports that in addition to refusing to allow their children to attend sex-ed classes, the families also resisted having their children enlisted in a theatre production of "Mein Körper gehört mir" or "My Body Belongs to Me," which informs young children in how to engage in sexual intercourse.

With fines having failed to force the families into compliance, government officials have now sentenced each of the families' respective fathers to spend a brief time in prison. One father has already spent seven days in jail and was released Friday.
 
Instead of inflicting ordinary punitive fines on the families, the state has opted to impose a special fine called "Bussgeld," which IHRG European Director Richard Guenther explains literally means "repentance money" and is "designed to show contrition for a wrong behavior on the part of the person being fined."

The "Bussgeld" fines are significant, perhaps especially because they put the eight German families in an impossible situation: payment of the fines would imply an admission of guilt, but they believe that they have done nothing wrong.

"This type of persecution from German government officials against the Salzkotten 8 shows how committed the German system is to punishing home school families and others who do not comply with the compulsory education laws," said IHRG President Joel Thornton, "even when they are only removing their children from a single clearly objectionable class."

Thornton states that unlike much of the American education system, German officials "view the children as belonging to the State, particularly during the time they are in school" and for that reason parents' beliefs and authority over their children takes second place to the interests and mandates of the State.

Attorneys Gabriele and Armin Eckermann of the German homeschooling advocacy group SchuzH have intervened with IHRG to represent the Salzkotten 8. 

 
Thornton says that the situation in Germany has prompted IHRG to take a "more radical approach." This involves lodging a civil suit on behalf of a number of persecuted home-school families in order to force Germany's courts to recognize the rights of parents as the primary educators of their children.

Christians in Germany have faced enormous persecution from the German government for removing their children from the German public schools, either through homeschooling - an illegal act according to a law instituted during the Third Reich - or taking them out of select classes they deem harmful to their Christian values, which is also illegal.

The fact that these children often outperform their counterparts in state schools has little bearing on the matter for Germany; the government's stated public policy is to suppress the existence of Parallelgesellschaften or "parallel societies" based on "separate philosophical convictions" through the education system.

The Youth Welfare Office or Jugendamt - an institution similar to Child Protective Services - acts as the government's chief intervening instrument, and when prison and fines do not bend Christian families into compliance, they recommend that these Christians lose parental custody of their children.

In one case, the Jugendamt, accompanied by 15 heavily armed police, forcibly seized 15 year-old Melissa Busekros in the dead of night from her family in 2007 against her will. However, legal intervention ensured that Busekros was legally permitted to return to her family upon turning 16.

IHRG is currently representing Hans and Petra Schmidt, who are faced with a similar situation. They are fighting the state to retain custody of their 14-year-old son Aaron, who is homeschooled. The Schmidts so far have been fined 13,000 Euros (US $19,000) in home-schooling fines and have had a lien placed on their home by the government.

Some homeschooling families have fled the country, either into neighboring Austria or abroad. German homeschooling parents Uwe and Hannelore Romeike and their family fled into the United States last November demanding asylum, a move that finally brought the attention of Germany's media to the extreme situation faced by its estimated 300-500 homeschooling families.

German Embassy Contacts:

In the United States:

German Embassy

In Canada:

German Embassy
1 Waverley Street
Ottawa, ON, K2P 0T8
Tel.: 613-232-1101 Fax: 613-594-9330
Email: germanembassyottawa@on.aibn.com

In the United Kingdom:
 
Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
23 Belgrave Square
London
SW1X 8PZ
Phone: 020 7824 1300
Fax: 020 7824 1449

See related coverage by LifeSiteNews.com:

German Homeschooling Family Applies for Asylum in US 

Persecuted German Homeschool Family Facing September Custody Hearing 

German Homeschooler Melissa Busekros Home with Family after 3 Month Ordeal 

European Human Rights Court Rules State May Deny Parents Right to Home School Their Children 


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UK quietly opens the door to genetic engineering, ‘3-parent’ embryos

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By Hilary White

Last month the UK’s Department of Health quietly redefined the term “genetic modification” to open the door to allow certain kinds of modification of human embryos – thus potentially making it the first country in the world to allow genetic engineering.

Scottish journalist Lori Anderson recently raised the alarm over the change in a column in the Scotsman, in which she alleged that the change is designed to “dupe” the British public into accepting “full-scale germline genetic engineering,” using human embryos as test subjects.

Anderson said that in July, the Department of Health “effectively re-wrote the definition of ‘genetic modification’ to specifically exclude the alteration of human mitochondrial genes or any other genetic material that exists outside the chromosomes in the nucleus of the cell.”

“The reason for doing this is that it believes it will be easier to sell such an advancement to the public if it can insist that the end result will not be a ‘GM baby’.”

This change follows a statement from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the government body that regulates experimental research on human embryos, approving the procedure to create an embryo from one couple’s gametes but with genetic material added from a third party donor, a procedure called in the press “three-parent embryos”.

Anderson quoted a statement from the Department of Health comparing this procedure to donating blood. The statement read, “There is no universally agreed definition of ‘genetic modification’ in humans – people who have organ transplants, blood donations, or even gene therapy are not generally regarded as being ‘genetically modified’. The Government has decided to adopt a working definition for the purpose of taking forward these regulations.”

This assertion was challenged by one of the UK’s leading fertility researchers, Lord Robert Winston, who told the Independent, “Of course mitochondrial transfer is genetic modification and this modification is handed down the generations. It is totally wrong to compare it with a blood transfusion.”

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The HFEA, which throughout its history has been known as one of the world’s most permissive regulatory bodies, has been working steadily towards allowing genetically modified embryos to be implanted in women undergoing artificial procreation treatments. In a document issued to the government last year, they called the insertion of mitochondrial DNA (mDNA) into embryos “mitochondrial donation” or “mitochondrial replacement”. mDNA is the genetic material found in the cytoplasm outside a cell’s nucleus, problems with which can cause a host of currently incurable genetic illnesses.

In the statement issued in June, the HFEA said the technique of inserting “donated” mDNA into already existing in vitro embryos, “should be considered ‘not unsafe’ for the use on a ‘specific and defined group of patients.’”

“Mitochondria replacement (or mitochondrial donation) describes two medical techniques, currently being worked on by UK researchers, which could allow women to avoid passing on genetically inherited mitochondrial diseases to their children,” the statement said.

The HFEA admitted that the techniques are “at the cutting edge of both science and ethics” and said that the results of a “public consultation” in 2012/13 were being examined by the government, which is considering “draft regulations”.

In June, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children echoed Lori Anderson’s concern, commenting that the HFEA is attempting to deceive the public. Paul Tully, SPUC’s general secretary, said, “Human gene manipulation is being sold to a gullible public on a promise of reducing suffering, the same old con-trick that the test-tube baby lobby has been using for decades.” 

Any manipulation of human genetics, always breaks “several important moral rules,” entailing the creation of “human guinea-pigs,” Tully said. “Human germ-line manipulation and cloning – changing the genetic inheritance of future generations - goes against internationally-agreed norms for ethical science.”

He quoted Professor Andy Greenfield, the chairman of the scientific review panel that approved the techniques, who said that there is no way of knowing what effect this would have on the children created until it is actually done.

“We have to subject children who have not consented and cannot consent to being test subjects,” Tully said.

Altering the mDNA of an embryo is what cloning scientists refer to as “germline” alteration, meaning that the changes will be carried on through the altered embryo’s own offspring, a longstanding goal of eugenicists.

In their 1999 book, “Human Molecular Genetics” Tom Strachan and Andrew Read warned that the use of mitochondrial alteration of embryos would cross serious ethical boundaries.

Having argued that germline therapy would be “pointless” from a therapeutic standpoint, the authors said, “There are serious concerns, therefore, that a hidden motive for germline gene therapy is to enable research to be done on germline manipulation with the ultimate aim of germline-based genetic enhancement.”

“The latter could result in positive eugenics programs, whereby planned genetic modification of the germline could involve artificial selection for genes that are thought to confer advantageous traits.”


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Cable series portrays nun as back-alley abortionist

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By Ben Johnson
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'To depict a nun who performs an abortion is a new low,' said Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

The Cinemax TV series The Knick portrayed a Roman Catholic nun as a back alley abortionist who tells a Catholic woman God will forgive her for going through with the procedure.

In its latest episode, which aired Friday night, the series showed Sister Harriet (an Irish nun played by Cara Seymour) telling a Catholic woman named Nora, “Your husband will know nothing of it. I promise.”

“Will God forgive me?” Nora asked, adding, “I don't want to go to Hell for killing a baby.”

“He knows that you suffered,” the sister replied, before performing the illegal abortion off-screen. “I believe the Lord's compassion will be yours.” 

The period medical drama is set at the Knickerbocker Hospital (“The Knick”) in New York City around the turn of the 20th century, when abortion was against both civil and ecclesiastical law.

“It is no secret that Hollywood is a big pro-abortion town, but to depict a nun who performs an abortion is a new low,” Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, said. “The only saving grace in this episode is the real-life recognition of the woman who is about to have the abortion: she admits that her baby is going to be killed.”

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The series is directed by Steven Soderbergh, known for such films as Erin Brockovich, the Oceans Eleven franchise, and Sex, Lies, and Videotape. More recently he directed The Girlfriend Experience, a film about prostitution starring pornographic actress Sasha Grey.

Critics have hailed his decision to include a black surgeon in circa 1900 America. But after last week's episode, the New York Times stated that The Knick has chosen to “demonstrate concern for other kinds of progress,” citing the depiction of the abortion. 


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Balcony of the Grandmaster Palace in Valletta, which houses the Maltese Parliament. Shutterstock
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Catholic Malta enacts ‘transgender’ employment discrimination law

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By Hilary White

An amendment to Malta’s Employment and Industrial Relations Act means that employment “discrimination” against “transsexuals” is now officially prohibited in the Catholic country. The provision, which was quietly passed in May, came into effect on August 12th.

The law allows those who believe they have a complaint to make a case with the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality, with an industrial tribunal or the courts. A government spokesman told local  media, “Employees do not need to prove that their employer has discriminated against them.”

“They only need to provide enough evidence pointing to a likely case of discrimination. The employer will then need to prove that discrimination has not taken place.”

The amendment defines illegal discrimination against “transgendered” people as, “in so far as the ground of sex is concerned, any less favourable treatment of a person who underwent or is undergoing gender reassignment, which, for the purpose of those regulations shall mean, where a person is considering or intends to undergo, or is undergoing, a process, or part of a process, for the purposes of reassigning the person’s sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex.” 

Silvan Agius, Human Rights policy coordinator with the Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties, told Malta Today newspaper that the new amendment brings Maltese law into harmony with EU law.

“This amendment is continuing the government’s equality mainstreaming exercise. The inclusion of gender reassignment in the Act also brings it in line with the anti-discrimination articles found in both Malta’s Constitution and the Equality for Men and Woman Act,” Agius said.

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Agius is a key member of the homosexual activist apparatus in Malta’s government working to entrench the ideology of gender in law in Malta and elsewhere. In June, he was a featured speaker, with the notorious British anti-Catholic campaigner Peter Tatchell, at a Glasgow conference organised by the Edinburgh-based Equality Network, a group that helps organise and train homosexualist campaign groups.

The amendment to the law follows promises made recently by the country’s equalities minister, Helena Dalli, to a “transgender” congress in Hungary in May. Dalli, who brought forward Malta’s recently passed same-sex civil unions bill, told a meeting of gender activists in Budapest that while her government’s focus had been mainly on homosexuals, that she would shortly be turning her attention to “trans” people.

“The next step now is a Bill towards the enactment of a Gender Identity law. A draft bill has been prepared and it has now been passed to the LGBTI Consultative Council for its vetting and amendment as necessary,” Dalli said.

“Some of you may be thinking that we are moving forward quickly. I have a different perspective though. We are doing what is right, what should have been done a long time ago,” she added.

Since the legalisation of divorce in 2011, Malta has been remarkable for its rapid adoption of the gender ideology’s agenda. In 2013, Malta was named the “fastest climber” on the Rainbow Europe Index, a survey organised annually by ILGA Europe, the leading homosexualist lobby group funded directly by the European Union.

The ILGA Europe report notes (p. 114) that Helena Dalli Helena “was one of 11 EU Member States’ equality ministers to co-sign a call for the European Commission to work on a comprehensive EU policy for LGBT equality.” The report also noted that although the new Labour government has proved cooperative, the Christian Democrat Nationalist Party has “progressively proved more receptive to LGBTI issues, including same-sex unions.”


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