On November 26, the Supreme Court of the United States will grapple with three critical cases—cases that cut to the core of our American vision of religious freedom. The questions that are being asked of the Supreme Court are simple and fundamental:
- May the government order citizens to violate their sincerely held religious convictions?
- Does the free exercise clause of our Constitution mean anything anymore?
- Should the United States be a refuge for those fleeing religious persecution?
In Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood v. Sebelius, the Court will have to decide if religious freedoms are violated by ObamaCare. In Romeike v. Holder, Home School Legal Defense Association is asking the Supreme Court to uphold the principle that the United States is a land that will offer protection to a German family who faces certain persecution and violation of their fundamental human rights if they are forced to return to their homeland.
The statist mentality that makes homeschooling virtually impossible in Germany is growing in the United States. Some argue vehemently that the only form of education that should be tolerated in America is public education. Michael Farris of HSLDA recently wrote a 16-page article titled “Tolerance and Liberty: Answering the Academic Left’s Challenge to Homeschooling Freedom” for the Peabody Journal of Education, to respond to these strident voices and as a warning to all about this threatening trend. He has arranged to make it available for you to read free of charge.
Abstract: Millions of children in the United States are educated in the home. Millions more receive their education from private institutions. For parents, a common reason for seeking alternatives to public education is the desire to ensure that they receive instruction in accord with their religious beliefs. In many cases, these beliefs include exclusive claims about the nature of God, salvation, or morality. Recently, several scholars have argued that, to achieve a diverse and tolerant society, homeschooling and private education should be abolished or severely limited. They have contended that “a liberal multicultural education,” which will expose children to different ideas and perspectives, is necessary for the preservation of democratic values. Homeschooling, they claim, leads to close-mindedness and intolerance because children are taught to affirm certain beliefs which imply that not all other traditions are equally valid. The argument that homeschooling should be banned or severely restricted, however, relies on illiberal and intolerant premises that have already been discredited as inconsistent with our constitutional liberties. Although tolerance may be a valuable objective, it cannot be forcibly imposed by using the state’s power to create philosophical homogeneity. True tolerance and diversity require a constitutional commitment to liberty for all, not a “constitutional norm” of silencing the “intolerant.”