Friday, December 15, 2006

'Pesky religion freedoms obstruct German society'

From WorldNet Daily:
A nation where the law bans homeschooling, and police have been known to physically haul children from their homes to public school facilities, now has a judicial official who says those pesky religious rights are getting in the way of society.

Brigitte Zypries, who serves as the German federal minister of justice, has been quoted by ASSIST News Service as calling for limitations on religious freedoms, too.

"We should not place any behavior under the protection of this important basic right," she said in a Berlin speech about "Religious Policy."

The report said Zypries claims no religious affiliation and when the cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel was sworn in, she was the only person not to use the affirmation, "So help me God."

Decisions by the German supreme court in matters of religion, the 53-year-old said, have produced "a kind of freedom for all sorts of behavior."

Religious freedom needs to be defined far more precisely, she believes, to prevent citizens from trying to use those excuses to avoid following the general laws of the land.

She's also challenging churches' involvement in religious instruction in schools, saying those religious organizations simply cannot be allowed to claim a monopoly on teaching values.

Subjects like ethics, law – and politics – also could be used to teach those values, she said.

And that would put the definition of “values” under control of the Reich, where we all know they belong. How can you make good little fascists if those silly churches keep getting in the way.

And students in the mandatory public school system should be taught about all religions, she said, because only people who are informed about other religions can treat them with dignity.

Religious instruction is given in public schools in Germany's 16 federal states in partnership with churches, and separate classes are offered for Catholics and Protestants. About two-thirds of Germany's 82 million people profess church membership.

WND reported earlier that the European Human Rights Court had affirmed the German nation's Nazi-era ban on homeschooling, concluding that society has a significant interest in preventing the development of dissent through "separate philosophical convictions."

A number of U.S. jurists have made the claim that U.S. judicial decisions should be based on the “international consensus” on law. If thisi doesn’t scare the tar out of you, you are either old or have no kids. (Not that that makes you bad - it just takes away a stake in the future.)

The Strasburg-based court addressed the issue on appeal from a Christian family whose members alleged their human rights to educate their own children according to their own religious beliefs are being violated by the ban.

The specific case addressed in the opinion involved Fritz and Marianna Konrad, who filed the complaint in 2003 and argued that Germany's compulsory school attendance endangered their children's religious upbringing and promotes teaching inconsistent with the family's Christian faith.

The court ruled that their parental rights didn't extend as far as controlling the education of their own children.

The notion that children belong to the state is at least as old as Plato. The idea that the state should define religious practice is even older than that. The fascinating thing about our times is not “progress,” but that that which was old is new again. We seem to be hell-bent on reinventing the bad old days of pagan Imperial Rome.

I’m not really big on end-times hysteria, but it does all give one pause.

“… and the whole earth followed the beast with wonder. Men worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?" And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words…” (Rev 13:3b – 5a, RSV).