The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued an order that the Department of Justice must respond to a rehearing request regarding the legal status of a German homeschooling family. The Sixth Circuit’s order was done on behalf of the Home School Legal Defense Association, which is presenting the Romeike family. James R. Mason III, senior counsel with the HSLDA, told The Christian Post that the court’s order was “a step in the right direction.” “Most requests for en banc rehearing are summarily denied without any further action,” said Mason. “Here, the court has requested that the Justice Department respond, indicating that the court is taking our petition seriously.” The Romeikes—Uwe, Hannelore, and their six children—opted to homeschool because they felt German public schools were teaching their children values contrary to their evangelical Christian beliefs. In 2008, the Romeikes fled Germany in response to possible punishments over homeschooling. While first granted asylum in 2010, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement appealed the decision in 2012 and was supported by the Board of Immigration Appeals. The Department of Justice sided with BIA, arguing against the reasons for granting asylum to the Romeike family. Last month, a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit ruled against the Romeike family. Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton wrote the opinion. “There is a difference between the persecution of a discrete group and the prosecution of those who violate a generally applicable law,” said Sutton. Mason of HSLDA said, “Germany is a party to treaties that say that parents have the right to direct the education of their children and the U.N. has criticized Germany for violating its treaty obligations by outlawing homeschooling.” In contrast to the Obama administration’s non-support of the Romeike family, politicaloutcast.com notes the Obama administration is pushing to allow 11 million illegal aliens to remain in the US and eventually be granted citizenship.
- The Family Research Council announced today that Josh Duggar will head its legislative arm, which lobbies on pro-life and pro-family issues, reports lifenews.com. Josh is the oldest child of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, whose family stars in the TLC show 19 Kids and Counting. Josh has been interested in politics since he was young, when his father was a two-term Arkansas state representative and a candidate for U.S. Senate. In 2006 Josh founded a part-time consulting firm called Strategic Political Services. During the 2012 Republican presidential primary, Josh served as a surrogate for former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA). Josh and Anna married in 2008. They have three children including their two-week-old son, Marcus.
- Thirty missionaries from the Truth in Love Ministry are in Utah this week, knocking on doors to “talk positively about Christianity” with Mormons, sltrib.com reports. “This is our first day out on the street, and it’s going really good,” said Pastor Mark Cares, president of the nondenominational group based in Nampa, Idaho, which has members across the country. “People were very nice and kind as they listen to our message. Some won’t agree, but 95 percent of the time they are very courteous. We have been getting into a lot of conversations.” In the past week, the privately funded group placed half-page ads in both The Salt Lake Tribune and LDS Church-owned Deseret News, 11 ads on bus shelters in West Valley City and Taylorsville and mailed out 20,000 slick brochures. All carried the same message: Eternal life is a gift from God, so believers don’t have to worry about being worthy. “You have recently been told at [LDS] General Conference that if you love God, trust him, believe him and follow him, that you will feel his love and approval,” it says in the brochure. “But what if you are doing all that and still don’t feel God’s love or approval?” The brochure and ads don’t take direct aim at the Utah-based LDS faith, but they do subtly contrast Mormon teachings about grace and works with traditional Christian emphasis on grace alone.
- The bipartisan Kline-Hunter-Andrews-Polis Amendment has been added to the National Defense Authorization Act to ensure that homeschool graduates who wish to enlist in the armed forces are not required to score higher on the military’s initial enlistment test than public or private school graduates. William A. Estrada, esq., director of federal relations with the Home School Legal Defense Association, said to supporters, “Thanks to your calls, the amendment was unanimously added to the NDAA. It was included in the final bill that passed the House last week and was sent to the U.S. Senate. Your calls made the difference!”
- A new survey from Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism examines the coverage of gay marriage among the media. The big takeaway: almost every outlet presented more supportive statements in favor of gay marriage than opposing statements against gay marriage, including every TV news outlet, mediabistro.com reports. Pew looked at every segment on gay marriage from March 18–May 12, and classified every statement made on the issue as being supportive of gay marriage, opposed to gay marriage or neutral. As a whole, the network morning shows presented 44 statements in favor of gay marriage, none opposed, and 56 neutral. The network evening newscasts presented 46 statements in favor of gay marriage, none opposed, and 54 neutral. Each cable news channel was broken down individually. Given the three very different programming strategies of the channels, it was an interesting move, as all three presented far more supporting arguments than opposing arguments.
- Some have declared that the Internal Revenue Service’s Tea Party targeting scandal is over, but nothing could be further from the truth, according to cbn.com. New complaints have been pouring in to the American Center for Law and Justice, which is already representing two dozen clients who faced IRS badgering. ACLJ Executive Director Jordan Sekulow said that since they filed a lawsuit last week on behalf of 25 organizations, they’ve been bombarded with requests for help. Sekulow saids the ACLJ may have about 100 new possible cases of IRS discrimination. That includes reports of viewpoint discrimination by the IRS, with tax agents harassing a pro-life group, telling them their beliefs were not scientific. Sekulow believes the widespread IRS campaign against conservative groups was being directed by Washington, possibly by White House officials.
- For the second time since the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi attacks, the four-star general in charge of U.S. military assets in the Africa region will testify before Congress about what happened that night, Fox News reports. The hearing has been scheduled for June 26 at 9:00 a.m. ET and will be held by the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Although the hearing will be closed to the public, retired Gen. Carter Ham will be questioned about his oversight of military assets in the region while dozens of Americans battled extremists for nearly eight hours in Benghazi on Sept. 11 and 12. No U.S. military assets other than an unarmed drone were ever provided to assist in the fight.
- A West Virginia eighth-grader who was suspended from school for refusing to change his National Rifle Association T-shirt faces up to one year in jail and a $500 fine after being formally charged with obstructing an officer, Fox News reports. Jared Marcum, 14, appeared before a judge Monday and was hit with formal charges. The Logan County Police Department initially claimed that Marcum was arrested April 18 for disturbing the education process and obstructing an officer. His father said that officers even went as far as threatening to charge Jared with making terror threats. “In my view of the facts, Jared didn’t do anything wrong,” Ben White, Jared’s attorney told WTRF. “I think officer Adkins could have done something differently.” Arresting officer James Adkins claimed that Marcum’s refusal to talk obstructed his ability to do his job, while White argued that Adkins never made reference to any violent acts or threats in his petition.