Schmidt Family Update From The Road In Germany

Let me begin by saying that recently a new German friend of mine expressed concern that my reports on German home school families made it sound like I thought Germany was evil. 

Nothing could be further from the truth.  I have loved the German people since I was in the third grade, my next door neighbors were from Germany.  The father was a professor of German at Berry College and I learned to like the sound of English spoken with a Bavarian accent and the sharp sounds of German spoken by a native.

Germany has given much to the world, including the Reformation.  They are a wonderful people and I have never experienced anything other than great hospitality from the people and the government.

With that said, let me update you on our trip.

David and I landed in Stuttgart, Germany on Monday—just hours before a Lufthansa flight with 73 people on board made an emergency landing on the same runway.  No one was killed; one was injured, when the plane landed amidst flames without its landing gear.

We immediately began a four train trip to Otting, Germany where the Schmidt family lives.  In addition to the legal help the IHRG is giving to the family we have been blessed to work with CBN developing a television report on the plight of the parents and their youngest child.  Right now the family faces about 9000 Euros in fines.  Next week they have a hearing in family court where the Jugendamt, Youth Welfare Office is seeking to have legal custody of the 14 year old son of Hans and Petra Schmidt taken from the parents and given to the Jugendamt.  This is a legal tactic that has been used in Germany before.  In fact, if you remember Melissa Busekros, this is the same thing that happened in her case.

In Melissa’s case this lead to Melissa being taken from her family by the police and placed in a psychiatric ward and eventual a youth home for girls for nearly three months.  The parents had very limited access to their daughter until she returned home on her on.

The Schimdts are facing the same predicament.  If the court grants the transfer of custody to the State it means that at any time afterward the police could arrive at the Schmidt home, during the day or even in the middle of the night to take their youngest child away.

What a terrible pressure for parents to be forced to live under by their own government.  There are no accusations of child abuse, no accusations of neglect.  The only problem with the Schmidts is that they are exercising their constitutionally guaranteed right to control the education of their own children. 

In Otting this right is guaranteed by the Bavarian State Constitution, the German Federal Constitution, and the European Convention on Human Rights.  Three times it is guaranteed, yet here we are on the last leg of a lengthy legal journey.

I was surprised to find Hans and Petra peacefully dealing with their situation.  They have set their face like flint to stand strong no matter what happens.  With great resolve they told CBN that they will not retreat from their fight to raise their child according to their faith, without interference from the State.

Both Hans and Petra looked into the camera’s eye, with great effort to control the emotion rising in them, and told us that they knew that God would stand with them—no matter what happens next week or thereafter.

I wish I had that type of courage.  I am here as a Christian attorney standing with them, but my family is not on the line.  I will return home to my “normal” life.  They will stay home and fight.

One of the nicest benefits of my job is that for two days I was invited into the Schmidt home.  I was told to act like I was home.  I was given coffee, tea, Coke Light (the German version of Diet Coke), pastries, and a meal of sauerkraut and homemade bratwurst straight off the grill served with cheese, bread, and potatoes grow in their backyard garden.

I left, after two days, encouraged that we have brothers and sisters in our faith who calmly face the persecution of a government willing to take their children away.

I am returning next week to be there at the hearing.  Hopefully, the court will allow me to enter the courtroom and observe the hearing.  Regardless, I will be there to encourage the family and their attorneys.  We are helping with the cost of their legal defense.

Check back later for an update on this case.  Thank you for all you do, praying and supporting our work financially.  We really do understand that without your prayers and support we could not be there for these families in their time of great need.  Because of your prayers you are here with us, in spirit supporting us.


2 Responses to “Schmidt Family Update From The Road In Germany”

  1. 1 Caroline Moore 17 September 2009 at 7:37 am

    Tell the Schmidt family that I am praying for them. Especially their son Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness sake for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are you when men shall revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my name sake. Rejoice and be excedingly glad for great is your reward in heaven, for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

    May God give you strength, courage and grace to live by faith! Remember that there can be no great miricles without great trials.


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