Posts Tagged 'European Court of Human Rights'

Germany’s Continuing Battle Against Home Schooling–the Schimdt Family Story

with Richard Guenther 

Hans and Petra Schmidt live in Bavaria, Southern Germany.  From their home, they have been teaching their children, Josua and Aaron, for 9 years, with great success.  Were they in America this would be considered an appropriate way to educate their children.  Unfortunately for the Schmidt family, they are not Americans.  Since they are Germans and are educating their own children in Germany, the Schmidt family is considered to be violating the law.

To date the Schmidts have been forced to pay nearly 13.000 Euros ($18,300) in home schooling fines.  Like most German home school families, they have a very modest income.  Needless to say, the position of the government against them pushed the Schmidts to their limits.  When the family could not pay all 26 of their fines the government placed a lien on their home.

During this time there were talks with the chief district administrator.  These talks were entered into by the Schmidts in hopes of arriving at some type of settlement that would permit them to finish educating their children at home without being forced into bankruptcy by their own government.  At the same time the children were tested by the school authorities.  Testing both children showed that they have extraordinary academic abilities.  The tests also showed the children to be social competent.  This is critical as the Germans still hold to the disproven belief that home school children are socially retarded.

The oldest son, Josua,, who is 16, was tested at a local high school and scored very high.  As a result, Josua was awarded his high school diploma.  These exams are required of all students upon completion of their last year in high school.  This shows that the Schmidts have done an excellent job of educating their children at home.  As he is through with high school, Josua is no longer subject of the compulsory school attendance.

Aaron, age 14, has just successfully completed an internship at the big Stuttgart zoo. He is still subject to the mandatory school attendance laws. The authorities are attempting to force the parents to place him in school.

At the beginning of this year, the family court set out to take the custody for Aaron from the parents.  The sole reason for this was that the Schmidts continue to home school Aaron, something that is illegal in Germany. Pursuant to this attempt to remove Aaron from the family home legal proceedings began early this year. Aaron is 14 years old.  He is looking to complete his school education in another two years.

Mr. Schmidt has a heart and passion for the disadvantaged.  So he works in a handicap workshop where the handicapped are trained in a vocation. Both parents are  devoted Christians and have it in their hearts to preserve their two boys from the secular, anti-Christian culture in Germany. They believe that sending their boys to school would be traumatic for the whole family.

Working with the IHRG, Armin and Gabriele Eckermann, both lawyers with the German Home School Association SchuzH, are helping develop the legal strategy to challenge this case in the courts.  Johannes Hildebrandt has agreed to help the Eckermanns and is taking the case as it goes into the court of first instance. He is a successful lawyer in family issues and in addition to his law degree, holds a degree in social development of children.  He saw Melissa Busekros returned to her family, defending her successfully in the courts

The International Human Rights Group is standing with these lawyers and the Schmidt family.  We are doing everything in our power to protect this family and see that they are permitted to educate their children according to the dictates of their own beliefs—something that is guaranteed by the German Constitution and the European Court on Human Rights.  We will be there all along the way to stand with them. 

Your prayers are an important part of this battle.  Without your prayers we cannot stand as strong.


How The Arrest Of Evangelists At Oslo’s Independence Day Parade Was Discriminatory


I have seen a lot of discrimination up close and personal.  As an attorney, I have represented evangelists for years after they have been threatened with arrest for sharing their faith in public places.  This is amazing considering that there is very little other activity that authorities care about in public places.  You can sale almost anything.  You can play music that borders on obscene, but do not read from a Bible or tell people how to become Christians.

 In Europe this is becoming even truer—Europeans are afraid to confront Muslims and the homosexual community in public places, but it is slowly becoming open season on Christians.

 In Oslo, Norway the discrimination currently seems to be limited only to large gatherings like parades.  Normal days come and go with no arrests.  Let there be a big event, like a Pride Parade or a parade celebrating independence and the rules are suspended.  The rules are not suspended because of any great theory.

 Before the Pride Parade in 2007, Petar Keseljevic and I spoke on the telephone regarding what his rights were in public places in Oslo.  I informed him that he had a right to be in public areas as long as he did not block the ability of people move along the sidewalks.  He should be careful not to block any vehicles.  Finally, he should not speak directly to individuals; rather he should speak to the group as a whole about the principles of eternal life he was sharing.

 For several days before the parade Petar asked local politicians and local police departments if he could get a permit that would allow him to be on the sidewalks during the parade.  He was told repeatedly that no permit was necessary for public speaking in public places. 

 After all, the logic went, Norway is a democratic country.  We permit free speech and religion.

 Yet, when the day in question arrived, Petar was arrested.

 The next year there was no point in asking whether he needed a permit.  So, on Norwegian Independence Day 2008 Petar and Larry Keffer showed up and began to share their faith.

 First they were merely asked to move somewhere away from the Palace of the King and Queen.  They complied, but because this was a day with a large public gathering they were arrested.

 Never mind the fact that one a couple of occasions Petar and Larry were accosted by “standers by.”  Both of these incidents occurred while the police were present, watching the evangelists work.  There were only two arrests—the evangelists.

 The discrimination in question took place when the police decided to target only Christian speech.  We are quickly moving toward a world where anything offensive is not permitted.  At the same time, we are moving toward a world where Christian speech is, by definition, offensive.

 This is a discrimination we cannot live with.  This would mean that only secularism or other, less insistent religions are acceptable.

 The European Convention on Human Rights and Norwegian law guarantee free speech and religious freedom to all people.  Yet, when the message is New Testament Evangelical Christianity those rights are suddenly not guaranteed.

 Not only were Petar and Larry arrested, but the Oslo Criminal Court ruled that they were rightly arrested.  The appeals court agreed, as did the Supreme Court.  Now, their fate is in the hands of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.

 This level of discrimination is just beginning for Christians in America and in Europe.  It is deep rooted and the roots are growing deeper as both Continents grow more and more secularized.

 If we are uncomfortable with this level of discrimination we are going to be even less happy with the levels to come.  Eventually, we will be going from discrimination to persecution. 

 Then we really are in trouble!

Why The European Court Of Human Rights Refuses To Hear The German Home School Cases

            Courts are hard to figure out.  That is true in America; it is even truer in Europe.  One of the problems with the European Court system—especially the international courts—is that they are very politically oriented.  There are a number of reasons for this sensitivity to the politics of the European Union and the Council of Europe.  These reasons lay the foundation for why the European Court of Human Rights (“ECHR”) refuses to hear a variety of cases; the most conspicuous of these cases is the German Home School cases.


            There have been literally dozens of home school cases brought to the attention of the ECHR.  The closest the court has come to looking at the cases is the Konrad case where the court issued a couple of pages praising the German courts and their thorough look at the case before the ECHR refused to hear the case.  Typically the court issues a couple of sentences declaring that they do not find an issue worthy of their time.


            Upon this pallet we look at the reasons for this consistent refusal to enter into an area of the law that is extremely straightforward.  Parents have the right to control the education of their children guaranteed by the German Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.  Furthermore, both instruments guarantee the right to freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.


            I have talked with people throughout Europe and Germany seeking answers to the questions of why the Germans fear home schooling so much and why the courts will not provide a fair hearing on the issue.


            Here is what I have learned as to the ECHR. 


            In the fall of 2000 I was at a reception in Strasbourg, France, the home of the ECHR.  At this reception were members of the European Parliament and justices from the ECHR.  The Clerk of the Court was also present.  During the course of the evening I was able to speak with the lady who was the clerk, she shared with me the greatest fear the court had at the time.


            The court, she explained, was fighting to keep its budget in tact from the Council of Europe.  At the time there were budget cuts going throughout the governments of Europe.  Many were declaring that the ECHR had outlived its usefulness and could easily be cut out of the budget.


            This fear alone is enough to create tension on the court when decisions are being made involving countries with great political and financial influence in the European Union and the Council of Europe.  Those countries are Germany, France, and England.


            These three countries provide the majority of the money to the Union and the Council.  These countries thus wield the most influence.  This is highlighted by the nature of the creation of the court.  The ECHR was established in a post World War II world where the greatest fears were human rights violations.  At the same time, the Soviet Union was creating political tension in Europe and the West wanted to show that they were champions of human rights.  Thus, the court was created. 


With the power to dry up the budget of the court and the threat, however subtle, to use the power, the countries of greatest influence further politicize the nature of the court.


            European courts are much more politically sensitive than our courts.  This sensitivity comes into play when the court is determining which cases to hear and what decision to give once a case has been accepted.


            In the case of the German Home School cases the decision is to not even accept the cases.  This keeps the court from coming into direct conflict with the German government on an issue that is extremely critical to them—the issue of home schooling which is primarily Christian based.


            Their refusal to accept any of these cases further emboldens German authorities and they have, as a result, declared a war of sorts on home school families in Germany.


            I firmly believe that if these cases were coming from former Soviet Bloc countries the court would have already accepted a case and ruled in favor of the parents.  If the court continues to refuse to protect the rights of parents, they will embolden other countries and we will eventually have a case from one of the Soviet Bloc countries on which to test my theory.

2008, A Quick Look Back

This has been a very busy year for me.  I have managed to work on a variety of cases, with very little expenses. 


Your prayers and your support made this possible.  So, let me begin by saying thank you!  Your partnership has made all the difference in the lives of a number of people in America and Europe.


That’s right!  We have worked on a variety of cases in America.  At the same time, we have done what no one else has been doing in Europe; we stood up for religious freedom across the Continent!


It is important to give praise for the success we have had.  That is part of how we prepare for moving forward.  2009 looks to be every bit as busy as 2008.  We will look to 2009 soon, for now I want to take a few minutes and review our work this year.


One easy, cost free way you can also help us is by using GoodSearch for your Internet searches. Go to and enter International Human Rights Group as your charity to begin supporting the ministry through GoodSearch.


Battles won in America


In the States we worked on a number of different cases and issues.  I want to talk about a couple of them that you probably heard nothing about because we handled them quietly to protect the reputation of our clients.


In Atlanta we worked for over two years to resolve free speech issues in the areas surrounding the Georgia Dome, Centennial Park, and the Philips Arena.  There are a number of groups that provide security and they played off of each other to hinder free speech on public sidewalks.


Earlier this year I met with attorneys for one of those groups and finalized the negotiations whereby everyone has now agreed that evangelists have the right to share their faith on the sidewalks surrounding all of these public arenas.


It was a hard fought victory and required a lot of time and energy, but we persevered and won the rights that are guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States.


Thank you for standing with these evangelists through the IHRG!



The Gentleman Evangelist, Bill Adams, sharing his faith at an Atlanta Falcons football game!


We also worked with a large church in a southern city.  For the sake of the church and the community I am not at liberty to share the name of the church or the city and state.  This church has an outreach that is changing the way Christians look at the arts.


The church was looking to erect a large cross on property they own in a rural area.  The property is used for sports outreach and special church programs.  County officials refused the church the building permit required to erect the cross because they said it violated their local sign ordinances.


I was invited down to meet with county officials.  We spent over an hour discussing the fact that the Constitution and other laws protect the right of the church to erect religious worship symbols on their property for the purpose of religious expression.


Then, our local attorney took the county attorney by the property and let him see for himself the rural nature of the property.


After several weeks, the county relented and the cross has been erected.


Our International Work


I made six trips to Europe this year working on cases involving religious freedom.  While this may sound like nothing but fun it means that I was away from my family for over 70 days this year.  It means that I missed some of those moments that make up our private lives. 


Don’t get me wrong, this is what I am called to do and I do it gladly.  It does not, however, come without costs.


First case of 2008 filed in Strasbourg, France


My first trip to Europe in 2008 found me filing a case before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.  This court is the equivalent of the Supreme Court of the United States for issues involving human rights and religious freedom.


This case involves Petar Keseljevic who is an evangelist from Oslo, Norway who was arrested for sharing his faith on public sidewalks in Oslo.  You might remember that in August of last year we were in Oslo at Petar’s trail.


In near record time, Petar’s case went through the entire system in Norway.  A ruling from the ECHR will set a precedent for the entirety of Europe.  Please pray that the court will accept this case and give us a chance to present Petar’s case for freedom of expression.


From Strasbourg, we traveled to a meeting with the Robinson family in Nürnberg, Germany where Clint Robinson is the English language pastor of a Baptist Church.  We spent a considerable amount of time last year working on the Robinson family’s case.  We were able to resolve their case so they remained in Germany ministering through the end of 2008.  Now, the Robinson family is back in the States on furlough preparing to return to Europe and plant a new church.


Your prayers and partnership helped in both of these cases.  Please continue to pray for Petar and the Robinson family.  Pray that they will be able to continue their ministries in Norway and Germany/Austria.


We also met with Mosaic and Samhol ministries in Iceland.  We have partnered with these ministries to support their outreach in Iceland.  These two dynamic ministries are making a huge difference in Reykjavik.  Mosaic is a local evangelical church that began this Easter.  Already they have one hundred members, many of them street people who have come to the Lord through the ministry of the church and Samhol.


One hundred members doesn’t sound like a big church by American standards.  You have to realize that the largest evangelical, non-state church in Iceland has only four hundred members to see what a huge start this is.  This country is like the rest of Europe, hardened to the Gospel in many ways.  Yet, in Reykjavik Christian men have dedicated their lives and ministries to seeing revival in the Icelandic people.


Samhol is a ministry to the street people and addicts of Iceland.  They work to not only bring these hurting souls to the Christian faith; they are also working at the street level to free them from the chains of addiction.  Their program is simple.  They help them physically defeat the addiction and then they counsel them through the emotion and mental difficulties of returning to normal, productive lives.


Mosaic and Samhol are changing Iceland, one soul at a time.  We are proud to be partnered with such dynamic ministries.



An inside look at the work of Samhol in Iceland


Please continue to pray for these two dynamic ministries to have greater influence in Iceland and beyond!


This is a different fight for the IHRG.  Religious freedom is currently strong in Iceland.  Here we will support the local work of these two ministries and others.  We will support their leadership with legal counsel as they grow and have a greater reach into the cities and villages of Iceland. 


Second and Third Case of 2008 Filed Before ECHR in Strasbourg


We filed our second and third applications of 2008 before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France on behalf of the Plett and the Pauls families.  (To understand why I consider religious freedom in Europe so important please see a recent article of mine that was published in The Voice Magazine.  You can see the article by clicking here.


The Plett and the Pauls familes are home schooling their children for religious reasons.  Their right to control the education of their children is protected by the German Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.  Unfortunately, the German school authorities have refused to grant these rights to the parents and have persecuted the parents for home schooling their children.  And the German courts agreed with the school officials.


This persecution included removing the custody of the children on questions of where the children live from the parents and giving it to the Youth Welfare Office.  They levied fines against the parents of thousands of Euros, they showed up at the family home unannounced to take the children from the parents. 


One family eventually fled to Canada to try and stay together while they continue home schooling.  The other family fled in part to Austria to continue home schooling.  The European Court of Human Rights is these families’ last hope for justice and we are there to help fight for justice.


Please pray for these families and their cases!  Pray that the court will grant justice in instances where they have refused to enforce the law on behalf of parents and their children who are seeking to raise their children according to the dictates of their faith.


Criminal Trial in Oslo, Norway



Norwegian attorney, Joel, and Petar Keseljevic after criminal trial in Oslo in July


In July I was in Oslo, Norway.  For the second time in a year police officers in Oslo arrested an evangelist for sharing his Christian faith in public.  This time, Petar Keseljevic was joined by Larry Keffer, an American evangelist.  These two men were in public areas of Oslo on May 17, 2008 sharing their faith when they were arrested.  The criminal hearing was in July and I was there representing Larry Keffer.


I read Larry’s fact statement into the record.  Then I cross examined a police officer.  Then I presented a closing argument based on the international law that protected the rights of Petar and Larry.


The prosecuting attorney told me after the trial that she believed this was the first time in Norway’s history that an American had participated in a criminal trial.  That seems a bit much to me, however, it was certainly an honor to be able to represent such an important case before the court in Oslo.


Both Petar and Larry were found guilty.  We appealed Larry’s case to the Norwegian Court of Appeals.  They denied the appeal and Larry’s appeal is currently pending before the Norwegian Supreme Court.


Please continue to pray for Larry.  We are prepared to file the final appeal in Strasbourg, if the Norwegian Supreme Court does not rule in Larry’s favor.  This is a critical case on free speech issues that could affect all of Europe and ultimately America.


We were also able to work with German lawyers to protect the rights of parents to choose the education of their children.  We spent time in the Czech Republic where we made key contacts that will be very important in the coming year.


There is more we have done, but time and space concerns need to keep this shorter. 


Please continue to pray for our work!  Please continue to pray for those we represent and their families!  They are the true heroes of our faith!


Thanks for standing with us!

Help Me Stand With Larry Keffer

When American missionary Larry Keffer began street evangelism in Oslo, Norway he knew the cost would be great!  He knew that he could be arrested!  He knew that he could find himself in court and possibly even in jail! 


He went anyway!  And he shared his faith in public places.  He did this because he knows how important it is to continue to try and reach the world with the Christian faith.  Larry also knows the importance of bringing the Gospel message to Europe—the spiritually dark continent. 


In the midst of calmly sharing his message Larry was arrested.  I represented Larry at trial.  He was convicted because the Norwegian police law actually carries more weight than the right to freedom of speech and freedom of religion.  In America Larry might have been arrested, but as soon as we went to court he would have been found not guilty.


Now Larry has lost his case at the Norwegian Court of Appeals and we are preparing to take his appeal to the Supreme Court of Norway.  From there, if we lose we will go to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France in our quest for justice for Larry.


Stand with me as I stand with Larry in the courts of Europe.  Together we can make a difference!  Together we can keep the door open for the proclamation of the Gospel in Europe!


You can stand with Larry, the IHRG, and me by going to our website.  Your tax deductible gift will help keep the door open for Christians in Europe who are fighting to bring freedom.

Why Europe Matters To America

We live in an increasingly smaller world. Information travels at the speed of the Internet. One of the questions I am asked as I speak to people in churches around the country is why does Europe matter to us at all?  People are genuinely concerned that any attention we give to Europe keeps us from solving the problems of America.  I believe that many people in the church are guilty of seeing the pie as already made with no possibilities of a new pie or increasing the size of the pie.  We have to understand that in the spiritual world we have barely scratched the surface of our potential.  This means that we must be concerned with more than one country at a time.


Europe and America are tied together in a number of ways.  I want to look at our ties.


Patriotism is a great emotion.  It is important for us to feel good about our country.  It is important for us to bloom in the land where God has planted us.  At the same time, it is important for us to align ourselves with proper Christian principles for living.


There is no doubt that America plays a great role in world events.  It is even more true that America plays a great role in spiritual events.  This is why we must be vigilant in our pursuit of spiritual matters in America and around the world.


There are a variety of important reasons why what happens in the rest of the world, most particularly in Europe, matters to the church in America. Perhaps the primary reason that must be central to our thinking is that as Christians we have a charge to reach the world.


Jesus commanded us to reach the world by beginning at home.  He was not telling us to only work at home when he said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.”  (Matthew 28:19.)  Jesus made sure we understood the details of His commandment in Acts 1:19.  “You shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”


While it is great to love our country and commit ourselves to the spiritual awakening of our country, we must look further than our own doorsteps.  We must work in the remotest part of the earth as well.


The late Keith Green summed it up well, “Jesus commands us to go; it should be the exception if we stay.”


As a group of lawyers and legally-minded lay people, we stand on the front lines against the tide of secularism that is growing stronger around the world. We fight to maintain the open doors for the proclamation of the Gospel. This fight often involves battling with government officials to keep public places open for the expression of religious belief. We can no longer afford to look at our world as only America. We live in a larger place and this larger place must include the entire world and the legal work that must be done there to protect religious liberty.


A simple example of why it matters is found in an exchange I had with a lawyer and local Parliamentarian in Holland in 2001.  We had just fought off the push of the same-sex marriage agenda in Hawaii and Alaska.  In both of those states the voters voted against legalizing same-sex marriage by near equal percentages in the general election—this is the most liberal and most conservative state.  As a result the battle was withdrawn from America and taken to Europe.


In May of 2001 I was working in Holland.  One day we were talking about the fact that Holland was going to legalizing same-sex marriage.  When we walked away from the conversation my wife turned to me and said, “Thank God we will not have to fight that fight in America.  There is no way same-sex marriage will ever be legal in America—our Christian foundation is too strong.”  We were not naïve; in fact, we had been very involved in the fight in America.


The most amazing fact of all is that less than two years later the fight for same-sex marriage returned to America and the results have been harmful to our culture.


America is a world leader in a number of fields. We must lead in the field of religious freedom. To do that, we must help train and develop a network of Christian attorneys, around the world, who are capable of standing up for repressed minorities in their own countries. If we do not do this, one day we will find that our own freedoms are shrinking further in the tide of lost religious freedom elsewhere.


            This principle has become truer since the Supreme Court of the United States has recently turned to the European Court of Human Rights to find the legal answers to questions of moral importance to us all.  If Christians do not fight for the same religious freedoms in Europe we will find the courts here using legal precedents that are not influenced by Christian morals to reshape our Christian foundations.


We live in a circular world, spiritually and legally.  What happens in America will eventually happen in other key areas of the world.  Just as true is that what happens in key areas around the globe will eventually happen in America.  We cannot simply turn our back on what happens in the courtrooms and parliamentary halls of other countries and hope that we will not be affected by the outcome of their debates over the moral and legal issues of our day.  We must be proactive around the globe, just as we are proactive in America.


In both the United States and in the rest of the world, the clear end goal of many political forces is a purely secular society that is based on the acceptance of all lifestyle choices, except Christianity, and the concept that science should be the determiner of the national moral structure rather than religion. These views include the belief that the government is in a better position to determine what our children learn than are parents.  Therefore we cannot wait until the change comes and hope to battle the forces of change.  We must begin to stem the tide now.


            Europe cannot be ignored.  We have a great relationship with the countries of the European Union and many within the Council of Europe.  To begin with, we come from similar political philosophies.  American concepts of freedom and individual responsibility were born from the Age of Enlightenment which was sweeping through Europe at the time of our founding.  Additionally, we have treaties with the countries of Europe for security purposes—NATO is the key to these treaties which bind us to the common defense of the western world.


            More importantly, Europe is one of our greatest trade partners.  The past few weeks have shown us that we live in an economic system that is truly global.  While we remain one of the most vibrant economies in the world, our economy is still tied to the rest of the world.  Life as we know it is determined by Europe and, to a lesser extent, the rest of the world.


            We owe a great debt to Europe.  Europe is the birthplace of the Evangelical Church.  It was in the 1500s that the Protestant Reformation began in Germany.  From the Reformation most of our religious traditions were birthed.


            Now Europe stands in need of America for spiritual awakening.  We need to see new churches planted in Europe.  We need churches that bring real change to the lives of their people; change to the countries where they minister. 


            Additionally, we need to bring legal change to Europe; legal change that respects the religious freedom that is guaranteed by the laws of every country in Europe.


            We cannot afford to be passive in our approach; that is why we are standing for religious freedom in the courts of Europe.  

American Jurisprudence Under Obama

The photo above shows you the new seat of power in America, the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.


I do not believe in conspiracies—it takes too much human intelligence to carry them off, especially when moving from one generation to the next.  They make for great novels and great movies, but reality is far from conspiracies.


            Now that the election is over I think the whole country is in for a rude awakening.  Though there is no conspiracy, we are set for liberals in the government to drag us much further to the left than most of us find comfortable.  I believe we are country just to the right of center—not far to the right.


            At the same time, we are country that prides ourselves on our independence.  We are not moved by cries that other countries are not doing things the way we are.  For years now we have lived in a world where we are the lone voice in a variety of matters.  One of the most negative consequences of the Iraq War is not that the rest of the world is not happy with our role in Iraq.  The reality is that the world does not like our power, the Iraq War is just a great way to put a title on the hatred.


            I think the most negative consequence of the Iraq War is that from it we have come to believe that we should learn to live according to the dictates of world opinion.  This past election was partly about getting in step with the world.  How many times did Obama tell us that he would restore our favor around the world?


            “Restore our favor around the world,” that seems a fairly tall order.  How did we loose our favor?  What was our favor before we lost it?  The fact of the matter is that for decades now Europe has been drifting from God at such a rapid pace that it is probably more accurate to say that they are racing from God.  Europeans have looked at the American world as old fashioned and mind-numbingly moral.


            The only way we are going to find Europe aligned with America is for us to move to their view on same-sex marriage, religion, free speech, catering to Islam, and government entitlement programs.  We will only find ourselves the object of European affection if we become part of the European Union, a European State.


            In other words, we will find favor in Europe if we surrender our sovereignty to the European Union.  If we become a nation of no consequence in the world we can be seen favorably by the world.  That is hardly what we are accustomed to as a nation.


            One of the places where this will show up first in an Obama world is in our courts.  One of the purest powers of the presidency is the appointment of judges to serve lifetime appointments in the federal courts.


            In recent years we have Supreme Court Justices who have started turning to our more enlightened brothers in Europe to help them determine the best way to rule in cases of moral consequence like same-sex marriage issues.  They actually ruled against American legal precedence based on the holding of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.  This is particularly troubling because the American Court acknowledged that they were ruling against our law based on the enlightened view of the older culture of Europe.


            The federal courts, thus, are surrendering our sovereignty to Europe.  We can expect more of that under Obama.  We should not expect it to be a slow turning, but a rapid turning.


            I personally think America being more internationally minded is a good thing.  I do not however, believe that we should surrender our sovereignty to the rest of the world. One of the greatest gifts we offer the world is the gift of freedom; freedom is never found in surrendering your sovereignty.

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

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