Archive for the 'The Bigger Picture' Category

First, Lasting Impressions of South Africa

We just arrived a few days ago, after a 15 hour flight from Atlanta.  From the minute we sat down on the plane I knew this trip would be different.  Sitting between David and me was a South African man.  As we began talking he knew everybody we were meeting with in South Africa.  Imagine, three hundred or so people on the plane and God puts the one person who is connected with our work here in South Africa next to us.

             The country is beautiful; the people are friendly and open.  One of the most unusual things about this trip for me is that we are staying in the same hotel every night.  In Europe we are always in four or five cities and move from hotel to hotel; often a new hotel every night.   When we arrived at the bed and breakfast where we are staying we found the doors locked.  We rang the bell and no one answered.  After about two or three minutes a man popped his head through the curtain that covered the locked metal gate that provides security.

             We identified ourselves and he found our name on the registry.  “I am a guest here, too.”  Come around and I will let you in.  We followed him in and waited on the owner to arrive.  As we talked to this man we learned that, like us, he had chosen this hotel at “random.”  We sat out on the patio, under a thatched hut and spent the next hour talking with him.

             We followed that up with breakfast the next morning.  During breakfast we learned that our new friend, Enock, was a young Christian from Zimbabwe.  He is working on developing a foundation to help young people learn the value of getting an education and working hard.

             By the time breakfast was over I felt like I had known Enock my whole life.  He gave us a tour of the neighborhood where we are staying.  The Lord used us to encourage him in matters of developing your vision into a viable business or ministry.

             Over the next few days we spent more and more time with Enock.  Talking about ministry and how to develop a foundation to help young people in Africa get more involved in the daily life of their country.  His concern was how to motivate young people to take control of their own lives, gain a vision for the future, and even get involved in the political process by voting and working to influence policy at the local level.

             Enock really helped us get into the local culture; we went for a ride using the Soweto taxi system.  This taxi system is a series of vans with five rows of seats in them.  You flag down the taxi with a series of hand signals that let the driver know where you are going.  If it is the right taxi he pulls over and you get in.  The cost is about a dollar.  Through a series of transfers we made it to Nelson Mandela Square where there is a huge statute of Mandela overseeing the entrance to a brand new upscale shopping mall in the most exclusive section of Johannesburg.  Near the Mandela statute is a serious of eight foot soccer balls set up to honor the World Cup and other championships of World Football.

             From there it was off to another series of Soweto taxis so that we could go to the Rosebank African Market.  Stall after stall of native Africa crafts.  A huge sign hung from the roof.  “This is Africa—We bargain.”  And the games began. The crafts were awesome; the prices were fluid.  David was enjoying himself, I was a little nervous because I am not big on the bargaining.

             The next day we headed out to meet the Ultimate Goal Committee so that I could give them legal advice on outreach during the World Cup.  Here was a room full of brothers and sisters from South Africa and around the world.  They were working together with one common goal—how to turn the World Cup Soccer Tournament into a valuable outreach for the Kingdom and the Church.

             I have worked with some of these folks since the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece in 2004.  They are becoming old friends.  They always inspire me as they are working hard to finish strong.  They are giving up their homes to come to a foreign land and see the Kingdom built.  What a great calling!

             We left these two days of meetings with a mandate for preparing information for the Committee—something I am doing now that we are back.

             The greatest news of all, however, is what happened after these meetings.  David and I were spending a few more days before heading home.  On Thursday we were resting at the guesthouse when the owner told us that we had a couple of friends here to see us.

             Earlier in the week David had shared the Gospel with an African man named Josiah.  He left the first meeting telling us that he wanted to talk more about God and asking if he could come back on Thursday.  In the excitement we had forgotten.

             Here was Josiah, with his cousin Tich, looking to hear more about the Gospel message.  David sat down with them while I showered.  I was locked in our room as David took the key with him promising to return in fifteen minutes.  Over an hour later I was in a panic, not knowing if something had happened to David. 

             When I finally got out of the room by calling the owner on his cell, using my computer, I found David circled up under our thatch hut, holding hands with these two African men as he prayed for their salvation.

             Josiah told us that after he prayed he “felt like ice cream!”

             That was a fitting end to our time in South Africa.  Now we are preparing to make sure that all the missionaries and evangelists who show up for the World Cup are protected as they share their faith with others like Josiah and Tich.

             Thank you for your prayers and your support of our work!

Advertisements

Whatever Happened To America’s Moral Center?

            I believe we are in the midst of a crisis of conscience in this country.  What was once considered normal is suddenly considered abnormal.  What was once considered abnormal is suddenly considered normal.  It truly is a world turned upside down.  Matters that seemed unthinkable only a decade ago are suddenly becoming the standard by which we are measured in public.

            The biggest change we have experienced is a loss of our moral center.  Our founding fathers understood the moral center that comes from a biblical world view—even the founding fathers who were not Christians understood this value.  Our grandparents and our parents understood the value of the Ten Commandments.

            Benjamin Franklin summed it up when he said, “I believe in one God, creator of the universe; that He governs it by his providence, that He ought to be worshipped,…As to Jesus of Nazareth,…[I] have some doubts regarding Jesus’ divinity.”

            My point is this; Christianity was so prominent in our founding that even those who did not believe felt that there was a great value in the system of Christianity that allowed the governance through democracy in a republic form of government.

            We no longer have that moral center.  Now, we find ourselves in a culture that not only does not believe, but actually mocks belief in one God.  We have gone from the place where it is okay to make fun of belief in God in limited cases, like a Hollywood movie or a book.  At the same time, it was not okay to make fun of the core beliefs that surrounded the belief in God.

            Now we do not have the mockery limited to Hollywood, it is the core of how our average citizen thinks.  We cannot offer any type of spiritual help to struggling youth because we have no place for God in our schools.  We have nothing to base our moral core on because we suddenly do not believe in moral absolutes.

            Then we wonder out loud why it seems that evil is so much more present in our society.  Why is there a problem with drugs?  Why do we have an increase in out of wedlock pregnancy?  Why are we in a seeming downward spiral?

            I believe it is all tied into the fact that we no longer value the things that God values because we no longer really believe in God.  He was good for our ancestors.  He was okay for children, but we are enlightened and have no need for God.

            Where once we started with the understanding that Christian morals were valuable in the here and now because they were principles that permitted us to get along in society, we now believe that no man or deity has the right to set absolute standards that govern this world.

            Without the eternal value of life that Christianity embraces we find ourselves giving our moral core to meaningless things.  We are more concerned with protecting animals than we are with protecting human live.  We give our life to living “green” and ignore the devaluing of human life at every turn.

            What is the solution?  We, those who still believe in the value of God and His system of morals, must take a greater stand for the issues that matter here and now and the matters that are important for eternity. 

            We must be the leaders in cultural change.  We must be the ones who value individual rights.  It is the Christian who must fight for the right of the nonbeliever to not belief.  After all, who are we to condemn a right that God gave to us.  He has chosen to let us decide for ourselves—I will do no less.

            The church has to regain its moral center and return to doing His work, His way.  We have to be the standard bearers.  It is easy to point out sin.  The challenge is to offer real life solutions to the world’s real life problems—that is what we must be doing.

            While doing that I will also demand more of myself and those around me. I will demand more from a moral standpoint and more for the betterment of the world.

            It is a disgrace that those who have no faith offer more to the betterment of this world than those of us who know the key to understanding and living in eternity.

Suddenly, I Don’t Feel So Hot!

            Is anyone besides me glad to finally be getting some manner of the truth from the Global Warming Nuts?  It has been colder at my house.  Maybe we need to drive our cars more to heat up the climate so that we don’t have to wear our coats everywhere.

            I have to admit, it is tough giving up the dream of having my Georgia home become beach front property.  I guess we will still have to drive to Hilton Head, South Carolina for our traditional summer beach fun.  Now I have to live with my property values not getting spike.  Of course, this also means that I do not have to worry about hurricanes hitting the house some four hundred miles inland—so I guess it is a fair trade off.

            The trouble with the revelations of this week is that we are learning that the new religion, science is not as trustworthy as we have been lead to believe.  Remember when we were told that these folks did not have an agenda, except to find the truth and make life better for us all.

            In light of this past week’s revelations we have to ask ourselves what else we should not believe.  Maybe we should question the theory of evolution—like global warming, evolution has long been shut off from scientific debate.

            The most important thing we should to learn from this is that no one can separate their own beliefs from their science.  Also, we have learned that you can prove anything if you are willing to ignore critical facts and twist the data to your own ends.

            So, Al Gore, we apologize for judging your lifestyle in light of your ridiculous predictions for the future of our planet.  It turns out you knew more than we did and therefore there was no need to change you energy gorging lifestyle to match the one you demanded of us—the lesser folks.

            Here it is, on the Internet you invented:  Sorry Al, we will no longer judge your lifestyle—we now know that you were nuts all along and my mother always taught me to be nice to handicapped people.

Separating Culture and Church

            We live in a culture that sees a benefit in the individual over the group—at least it has been true until recently.  We seem to be going through a cultural shift that wants us to give up our individual approach to life and live for the group.

            We are also a nation that seems to believe that the Age of Enlightenment was a Christian movement.  The Declaration of Independence, that great American founding document, reeks of Enlightenment, yet it is most often used as proof of our Christian founding. 

            Therein lays the problem I see us facing today.  No where does the Bible declare that we have a right to life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness.  In fact, the opposite is true.  The calling of the Christian is to “lay down your life and follow me.”  One down.  Early Christians found themselves in prison, often with a death sentence over them.  Two down.

            As to the pursuit of happiness, that has never been considered a Christian principle—at least not before we got to this modern me first Christian generation.

            Not willing to stop here, I must look deeper into this “Christian” document.  The declaration does talk about ideas such as endowed by our Creator, giving the illusion of a Christian foundation.  Unfortunately, it later clears up the misunderstanding by naming that Creator as “the laws of nature and of Nature’s God.”  This sounds a lot like something more mystical than the God of the Christian Church.

            While we are busy tipping over sacred cows, let’s look at the concept that America has a special place in God’s heart and is inherently good.  This, to me, is the core of what is wrong with the American church.  We are looking to convert the lost to an American understanding of everything, including God.  Yet, God exists outside of time and space.  He is not a citizen of any one country.  He did not design the world on a model of America—in fact, America is late to the game, both our language and our culture.

            It is always a mistake to take our culture and try to fit the Gospel into it.  Our job is to take the Gospel and fit our culture into it.  Anything that does not fit must be discarded as not part of the true Gospel.

            We are not God’s special children, except that all men and women are created in the image of God and that makes us all special.  We are not immune from the problems of the world system—the last year has shown that to be true.  We are in need of God’s grace and love, before and after our conversion to Christianity.

            The only way we will become what we were created and called to be is to move away from the American approach to life and begin to live a truly Jesus centered approach to life.  I am not claiming to be there, I am merely looking at what seems to be obvious to me.  We are not living in a way that Jesus would be approve when we are living for ourselves without a thought to the world around us.

            We are also not living like Jesus would have when we are more loyal to our country than to our God.

The Gospel According To Harley Davidson

            You might not have been taught the price our Founding Fathers paid to be free.  You might not remember the price paid by the first century church to set the body of Christ into motion in a manner in keeping with the calling God had placed on the body.  That might be because you have been listening to the new Gospel with its new pricing program.

We suddenly live in a place where we do not want to pay a price for anything.  We want it and we want it now.  It would be okay if this were an indictment against the secular side of America.  Unfortunately, it is also an indictment against the spiritual side of America.

            If we were founding America it would look more like Disney World than the country we love—one price gets you into everything, except the food is specially priced just to make sure we got you one more time.

            How do we move forward?  What can stop the slid into meaninglessness?

            There is really only one way—we have to get back to the basics.  We have to realize that we are not special; we are merely some of those called by God to a higher life, a life of giving and sacrifice instead of a life of taking and no pain.

            This also means that we have to quit talking the talk and start walking the walk.  We must find a way to live in the same manner as the Apostle Paul.  He counted all as loss.  The only thing that matter to Paul was the furtherance of the Gospel.  He could live in wealth and he could live in poverty—the moment does not matter, only eternity.

            We have to get past the pettiness of our culture and get back to real life.  That is one of the problems I see with the spiritual state of our world and especially our country.  We spend our time catering to the pettiness, how do we get more people to show up in the Church.  We spend our time trying to figure out how to get more people to raise their hand while nobody is looking. 

            In college we rewrote the lyrics to a famous hymn:  “Raise your hand, raise your hand for Jesus, put it down before anyone looks.  Praise God now you’re saved, your name is in the book.”  That sums up the current Gospel message.

            God wants you to have a Harley; He must because he gave me one.  No, wait, I am more special.

            We need to get back to living our life remembering that one day we will stand in front of God and give account for everything.  God might be love, but love is not syrup on your French Toast; love is justice.  Love is demanding of those to whom it is given.

            That might be a good thing to keep in mind the next time we are in the Harley shop thinking about living the good life.

New Ministry Book Available–People Making A Difference By Joel H. Thornton

Here is a sample chapter, you can buy this book directly from Joel by emailing him at jt1217@aol.com.  The book is $12, $15 including shipping.

INTRODUCTION TO THE WORK OF THE INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP

“Helping the helpless find justice—with you”

             Our work began from a bigger work that makes a huge difference in America.  While working for the American Center for Law and Justice (“ACLJ”) I realized that we needed to create a Christian religious freedom organization that concentrated primarily on Europe.  No one else was doing this; no one was giving the same standard of care to protecting religious freedom in Europe.

             I worked for 15 years with the ACLJ, working on cases from student-led Bible clubs on public school campuses in America, to pro-life cases, to the use of public buildings by religious organizations, and a number of other religious freedom issues.  During those years I was blessed to work with some of the most gifted attorneys in America and the world.  I was able to learn how to protect religious freedom through the legal systems of America and a variety of other avenues.  This included using the media to make sure that the discrimination and ultimately the persecution does not occur in darkness. Often the best solution to a problem involving religious freedom is simply to make the problem known.  No one wants to be considered a bigot.

             Pursuing my vision for Europe, the ACLJ set up the European Centre for Law and Justice (“ECLJ”).  I headed up their office in Strasbourg, France for over a year.  The ECLJ continues to concentrate primarily on political solutions to the problems facing religious people and institutions in Europe.  It is a valuable work, but it seemed to me that there was also a need for legal strategy along the lines that exists in America.

             So we stepped up and began to use the model we had learned and developed in America in Europe.  In these pages you will see the effects of this work.  You will see how we are working with some incredible people to do incredible things.

             I have had the pleasure of working with some of the greatest attorneys in the western world—both in America and around Europe.  It is always amazing to me that there are men and women who will take their vocation and make it their calling.

             I have made friendships and developed relationships that have changed how I view the world.  I have been given the honor of working with Christian lawyers from Russia, England, Norway, France, Germany, Greece, and a variety of other countries around Europe.  I have been permitted to look into these cultures in ways a tourist never gets to see.  Often they have invited me into their homes to share time with their families.  We have committed to pray for each other.  We are committed to work together to bring change to Europe where it is so vitally needed.

             After over twenty years in ministry, as a church planter, an associate pastor, and an attorney working for ministries, I have learned that it is not always the big things that make the biggest difference.  It is often the small things that make the biggest difference.  It is often a young girl standing firm in the face of great persecution.  It is just as likely to be someone you have never heard of doing nothing more than continuing to do what God has put before them.

             I am not called to proclaim the Gospel message in foreign lands.  I understand that we are all called to share our faith in the places where God leads us, but I am talking about going to a foreign land for the sole purpose of serving as a missionary.

             At the same time, I am called to be a door keeper.  Our ministry keeps the door open in various places so that missionaries, pastors, and church planters can proclaim the Gospel message without fear of being arrested.

             There is a time coming when our work will not be able to keep the doors open for the proclamation of the Gospel.  There is a time coming when men and women will again be asked to pay the ultimate price for their faith in the western world.

             My calling is to hold that day off for as long as we can so that as many as can are able to easily hear the word that Jesus, God become man, has come to set them free from the futility of modern life.

             The same Jesus who turned the world upside down two thousand years ago is still working to turn the world upside down again.  It is not ours to judge the work; it is only our responsibility to do what God has called us to do.  It is our responsibility to use the talents He has given us to bring about whatever He wants it to bring about.

             It is an honor for me to serve in this ministry.  I never would have believed that God would use me in such a dynamic way to bring change to such a large area.  When I first decided to attend law school I had no idea it would lead here.

             Placing one foot in front of the other, I have arrived here.  Being as faithful as I knew how to be at what was placed before me, I have arrived here.  I am not the right one to judge the work of our ministry.  I do believe, however, that we serve as a great encouragement to a large number of people in America and Europe.  I believe we are making a difference, keeping the door open for the proclamation of the Gospel in America and Europe.

             Whether or not we ever bring the change we are fighting to bring about, we are doing what we believe we are called to do.  The victory is not ours, it is the Lord’s.  We will leave the heavy lifting to Him.

             It would be easy to take the judgment of man and decide that some of these matters are not important enough to make a difference.  It is more difficult to see the real impressiveness of the smallest obedience which leads to great breaks in the most difficult lands.  There are countries in Europe where Christians are beginning to experience more than discrimination.  There are places where these simple people of the ancient faith are facing persecution—the loss of their freedom, the loss of their families, the loss of great amounts of money—for nothing more than being true to their Christian faith.

             These people are our clients, and some of the people who work along side us at the IHRG.  These people really are modern heroes of the faith.  Faithful like the saints whose commitment is recounted in Hebrews 11—men and women of whom the world is not worthy.  They have counted the cost and stood when many of us would have found the price to stand too high.

             In many cases, they have laid aside their own dreams and ambitions and done the hard work the Lord has asked of them.  They are struggling forward without the benefit of seeing the end of their labors.  Many of them will find the day ends without seeing the objects of their faith.

             Yet, everyday they stand in the face of persecution.  I know there are many more standing than just those mentioned here.  Their courage is a source of strength for us as well.  These reports are meant to encourage you; to let you know about men, women, and children who are standing for their faith without regard to the price that has to be paid.

             These stories are not the end of the battle we are fighting around the world for religious freedom.  These examples are merely the beginning.  We need to see hundreds more standing strong for their faith without concern for their own wellbeing.  It is time we returned to New Testament Christianity.  A Christianity where believers are more concerned with the wellbeing of the church than they are with their own wellbeing.

             These are by no means the only ones out there fighting for the faith in Europe.  These friends of mine are not the only fighters.  There are many we have not met yet.  There are many we have yet to connect with in the ministry.  Their work is just as valuable as those whose stories are retold here.  These are the ones we have seen first hand.

             This is their story.  Without them our work would be meaningless.

  Melissa Busekros

“I am not leaving until I finish my breakfast and brush my teeth.”

             Melissa Busekros is an average 15-year-old German girl.  She comes from a good home; her parents have provided her with a strong family environment in which to grow.  Their values have left her protected from much of the moral vacuum created by the modern secular world that permeates Germany and western culture.  She is also normal in her schooling.  She is a good student, but she struggled with some of the advanced math—who among us does not so struggle—and she was failing Latin.

             Gudrun Busekros has a college degree in Latin and she was confident that she could help Melissa in this subject.  Unfortunately, school officials were not willing to help Melissa overcome her difficulties.  The German school system is very complicated and it is closed to all but the top-level students.  The top level of the high school system is a college track; it is what we might call the accelerated program.  The middle level is designed for students who might still want to attend college but are not in the accelerated program for a variety of reasons.  The bottom level is for students who are on a technical track.  Students in the bottom level are not eligible to attend university in Germany by nature of their diploma.

             When Melissa first began having her problems she was in the top level.  School officials, refusing to work with this promising student, moved Melissa from the top level to the bottom level.  They could have placed her in the middle level and given her the chance to continue her education beyond high school at university, but they chose not to do that.  Melissa was suddenly being forced to give up her dream of going to university after she finished high school.  Her family was not satisfied, but they were not consulted in the decision by the German school officials.

             When Melissa’s father, Hubert, tried to get the school officials to help them keep Melissa on a university track, they refused.  All of their options were gone, so Hubert and Gudrun removed Melissa from the public schools and began a very deliberate home schooling program for her.

             Unfortunately, this is an unusual approach to children and parental rights in Germany.  The official law of the German Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights guarantees parents the right to control the education of their children.  The German courts have not treated these rights as straightforward as the law would suggest.

             In fact, in the past few years the German courts have chipped away at the rights of parents to control the education of their children regularly.  Sometimes we win the cases at the lowest court level; this requires a lot of legal maneuvering and there are exceptional German Christian lawyers who have proven to be very good in the courtroom.

             The movement to home school children is in its infant stages in Germany.  There are estimated to be about 400 children being home schooled right now.  That number is shrinking due to the persecution these families are facing on a daily basis.  In the past we have not used the word “persecution” in relationship to western Christianity because at best we have faced discrimination, not persecution.  That has changed with the battle the German government is waging against home-school families there.

             There has been a progression and slow increase of the pressure on home-school families.  Some of the first cases involved German judges removing children from the family home—using police officers to escort children to school and bring them home.  The first time this happened there was a public outcry that caused the court to immediately change their decision and leave the children at home after only one day of forced public schooling.

             The next step was to begin to levy fines against parents who refused to send their children to the public schools.  There is no law in Germany forbidding home schooling.  In fact, the law that exists is a compulsory education law like the law we have here in the States.

             Germany has an estimated 100,000 truant students inside the country at any one time.  That means that 100,000 children are not meeting the requirements of the compulsory education law and their parents are doing nothing to educate the children—or force them to attend school.  Yet, government officials have chosen to ignore this problem—spending their time trying to destroy the few families who are taking greater care with their children, sacrificing their life and time to see that their children receive a proper education.

             Then, the appeals courts or the Constitutional Court, the highest court on these matters in Germany, ruled that German culture requires, “for the sake of pluralism, the protection from parallel societies.”  Part of the problem with this logic is that pluralism is by definition the acceptance of parallel societies.

             Pluralism is the existence of more than one way of doing things within a society.  Parallel societies are cultures that exist side-by-side within one country or one region.

             Rather than let Melissa be moved into a track that would keep her from university, the Busekros family decided to educate her at home.  Their other school-aged children remained in the public school.  Virtually from the beginning, local school officials began to hassle the family.

             The Youth Welfare Office began to demand home visits to make sure the situation at home was up to their standards.  At one point they accused Melissa’s father of abusing her simply because the family was operating on the biblical model of father as the head of household.

             Distrusting the Youth Welfare Office, with good reason given some of the actions these government officials had taken against other families throughout Germany, the Busekros parents did not let officials into their house.  They were willing to submit their work to school officials for their review, but that was not acceptable.

             After months filled with attempts to resolve the situation, when the family was relaxing on January 30th at 7 in the morning, up to fifteen police officers surrounded the house and knocked on the door. 

             Melissa answered the door where several officers were asking if she was Melissa Busekros.

             “Yes, I am,” she replied.

             “Why are you hiding in the basement every morning?”  Clearly they had had the family home under surveillance for a number of days to learn Melissa’s morning ritual.  “Are your parents forcing you into the basement as punishment for something?”

             Melissa, calmer than any of us would have been, looked at the officers standing at her family home door and said, “every morning I practice my piano.  The piano belongs to the church and they keep it in the basement.”

             “We have come to take you for psychiatric evaluation in Nuremburg.”  The officer’s began to work their way into the family home.

             “Not until I finish my breakfast and brush my teeth.”  The idea that this young lady, who was, according to government officials, socially backwards and incapable of interacting with others appropriately, could stand up to this show of force is something that continues to give me chill bumps to this day.

             With the officers standing in the doorway, Melissa shut the door and returned to the breakfast table.  She finished eating, brushed her teeth, told her family good-bye and was escorted, like a criminal, to the Psychiatric Hospital in Nuremburg where she was subjected to nearly two hours of examination by a doctor Melissa had never met.

             Melissa did not know at the time that she was meeting with a doctor who was specifically selected because he was quick to separate children from their parents.  This step of the process was important because, until recently, the German government was required to have the approval of a licensed psychiatrist before they could remove children from their family.  Now the Germans have corrected this problem and removed the need for a psychiatrist’s evaluation before taking children from their parents.

             Like a common criminal, Melissa was led to a police car and escorted to the Nuremberg Psychiatric Hospital.  She was taken to a secure room and there she waited for someone to come.  At this time she did not know what was going to happen to her.  She did not know what the plans were for her.  She only knew that she was separated from her family and that she was going to be examined.

             The examination lasted about an hour and a half.  The biggest concern from the examiners was that Melissa did not have the right amount of separation from her family as they thought a 15–year-old girl should have.  Her answers on matters of moral and philosophical beliefs were in keeping with those of her parents.  The examiners felt this was strange because at fifteen Melissa should have been more independent in her thinking.  After all, her parents are Christians and that type of thinking is troubling in the modern German world.

             After this evaluation Melissa was brought home.  She was dropped off with her parents and nothing more was said by state officials about the events of the day.

             The next day, unknown to Melissa or her parents, the Youth Welfare Office, their attorney hired to represent the interests of Melissa, and the State-appointed psychiatrist appeared before a family court judge and had custody of Melissa transferred from her parents to the Youth Welfare Office.  All of this happened in a closed courtroom without anyone representing the interests of the parents.

             While the idea that the state takes children into custody, even in America, when the family is proven to be dangerous for the child is not unheard of, the standard for danger in Germany is so low that we must be careful not to justify these actions as necessary.

             We have to remember that the only reason for these actions is the state does not tolerate home schooling for any reason.

             Why does the German government work so hard to stop persecution?  How do 400 children present a threat to the sovereign nation of Germany?  Those are the questions I would most often face when sharing about our work fighting to protect the right of parents to exercise their freedom of religion to control the educational choices of their children through home schooling.

             Several experts in Germany have told us that they believe there are government officials who do not want strong, independent families such as those created by home schooling.  One of the greatest benefits of home schooling is that it builds strong emotional and familial ties.  Children taught by their parents have great bonds strengthened by the time they spend being taught.  Remember, most of our founding fathers were home schooled.

             Like most government school systems, the German school systems are designed to educate the children in the basics.  They are also designed to teach conformity to state standards—more so than American schools.  A large part of the mission of the German schools is to teach students how to be obedient members of the state.

             Then, to go one further, the German schools are also used by left over radicals from the Sixties, known as the School of 68 or the 68ers, to indoctrinate all the students on sex education issues and religious issues.  The message of the 68ers is that religion does not have a place in the modern world and sexual morals are dependent on the individual.

             As a result of the secret court hearing, the Youth Welfare Office was illegally granted custody of Melissa.  This is not the first time custody has secretly been taken from parents and given to the government—sadly it is also not the last time.  This has become a natural way for the government, particularly the Youth Welfare Office, to take children from home-school families.

             This move was illegal because, at the time, the law required a government-mandated psychological evaluation that met a high standard.  In this case, the state did not meet the existing standard and the court should have refused to shift the custody under the existing law.

             Since the time of Melissa’s case, this standard of evaluation has been lowered by the German Parliament so that it is easier for the government to take children from their homes and put them into state-run homes.

             Yet I digress.  On the day following the secret-court hearing, officers again showed up at the Busekros home.  This time they took Melissa and put her into the Nuremberg Psychiatric Clinic.  This clinic houses young people with a variety of serious psychological problems.  There are suicidal youth here.  There are young people with serious drug addictions here.  Mental patients and gothic youth can be found inside the locked doors of this mental hospital or clinic.

             The Youth Welfare Office’s evaluation of Melissa determined that she should be taken from her parents because she had “school phobia” and was “too close to her parents.”  In the mind of the German government, it is problematic that a girl of fifteen would share religious beliefs and a worldview with her parents.  Because of this she was taken from her parents and put into state custody.

             This is where Melissa suddenly found herself—ripped from her loving home.  Her siblings and parents were not allowed to see her without permission from the guards at the clinic.  This was given sparingly, leaving Melissa more isolated than ever.

             Yet, Melissa held firm to her convictions.  She shared her faith with her doctors.  She held firm to the belief that God was in her and with her and had not abandoned her.  Darkness would have covered most of us from head to toe.  Maybe it is Melissa’s inner peace and relationship with God that brought her here.  Jesus promised that we would never be given more than we could bear and Melissa was proving herself capable of bearing what few adults could bear.

             For twelve days Melissa was kept in the Psychiatric Clinic.  She was kept with young ladies who had serious issues, even though her only problem was that she was home schooled.

Socialism Equals Racism?

            I miss the good old days when socialists were white, mostly Europeans or even Russians.  Those days also included Orientals.  Man, those were the days.  Then we could be against socialism and not be accused of being racists.  Then we could talk about the evils of socialism without the argument deteriorating into accusations that we were just using cover language for racism.

             Maybe I slept through a couple of years of history, but when did everything become a racial issue?  And why is it that I can vote for Barack because he is black and not be considered a racist, but if I vote for someone running against him who is not black I am a racist?

             I miss the days when we were honest about our politics and not hiding behind the politically correct nonsense to stop those we disagree with.  Let me say it on the record, when I am against a policy of Barack Obama I could care less that he is a black man.  If he were white I would still disagree with policies with which I disagree.  I know it seems like a circular argument but that is what we are reduced to making.  I used to believe that Jimmy Carter was the worst President we ever had.  Take heart Jimma, your incompetence is being challenged.

             I know there are some who will consider me a racist because I do not blindly follow my leaders, and now my leader is a black man.  I guess because he is black I should change my approach to government and trust him.  After all, because he is black he cannot be a racist and therefore I should trust him to look out for me.

            Let me be perfectly clear, I am against socialism.  I do not care what color you are.  I do not care if you are Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Canadian, African, or German, I do not think socialism is a good idea.  If that qualifies me as a racist, then it seems we have redefined racism.

            Green is the new red.  Atheism is the new religion. Socialism is the new racism. 

            Somewhere, George Orwell is rolling over in his grave with one thought on his mind—when I wrote 1984 I was not aggressive enough.  I should have had more insight or more courage.  What a fool am I?

            Well, George, you might have foreseen it, but we have to live with it.  Pray for us!


Books Worth Reading

C.S. LEWIS--Mere Christianity; CLAIRE BERLINSKI--Menace in Europe: Why the Continent's Crisis is America's Crisis, Too; BRUCE BAWER--While Europe Slept: How Radical islam is Destroying the West from Within; DAVID LEVERING LEWIS--God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215; THOMAS SCHIRRMACHER--The Persecution of Christians Concerns Us All; PHILIP JENKINS--God's Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe's Religious Crisis

Top Clicks

  • None