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Some insight from the History of the Twelve Tribes in Germany, Part 2

In February 1994 several German families who are members of the Messianic Communities moved to a little village called Pennigbüttel in the state of Lower Saxony in the north of Germany and set up a household. These families came back to Germany after many years in France because they loved Germany, wanted to raise their children there, and wanted to demonstrate their common life of love in their homeland.

2000.09_ITN_PennibbuttelWedding

A wedding celebration in Pennigbüttel in the summer of 2000.

Before too long the fact that their children were educated by their parents at home became a concern of the local officials and school board, as it should be. Community parents welcomed them in, to see and observe the children. The parents continued the teaching of their children at home but at the same time respected the educational authorities. They made every effort to explain to them their beliefs. While everything was not perfect, there were peaceable and civil relations between the two. A mutual respect was established and continued to increase. (See note 1.)

Shortly after they arrived in Pennigbüttel, an evangelical pastor, Mr. Gert Glaser, began attacking the community in the media as well as distributing anti-religious and inflammatory information about the community to government officials. It is an ancient strategy of religious people to incite the governing authorities to suppress or destroy those they consider ‘enemies.’ Such behavior is the opposite pattern set by the Messiah. (Matthew 5:43-44 — “You have heard it said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy, but I say to you, ‘Love your enemies…”)

The education officials as well as the family judge involved with the Community did not respond to his efforts, stating that they were not interested in what supposedly happened to other Messianic Communities in the U.S. and Canada.

Thus, at this point, those authorities and that judge properly kept church and state separate, not allowing one man’s prejudice to affect their judgment.

In the meantime, a custody contest ensued between a couple when the woman joined the Community. The couple had already split up before she met us. While the mother had actual custody of the young girl, the father became concerned and fearful, based on things he did not understand about the mother’s faith and communal lifestyle. In his desire to find out the truth about the Community, he sought the advice of anti-religionist, Michael Kropveld of Infosecte Montreal. He provided the father a three page letter stating that his daughter would be subject to “serious emotional, maturational, educational and physical risk if she continues to be exposed to the Community.”

{Quoted below are the findings of the court in Germany from April 1994 concerning Inga, the couple’s daughter. The contrast is startling. It is the contrast between prejudice and fact.}

This letter, written in March 1994, is full of unsubstantiated misinformation about the practices and beliefs of the Community, not to mention lists of libelous statements claimed as fact attaching criminal liability to group members that are totally erroneous and contrary to available court records. (See note 2.)

Both the father and his lawyer trusted the “expert” opinions of Mr. Kropveld, using his letter, a letter from a Vermont state’s attorney, and a letter from a German anti-sect information agency in Stuttgart as “evidence” in the custody proceeding. (See note 3.) The result was that the father was given custody of the girl, even though the judge could find nothing wrong with the mother except that she did not send her daughter to public school. In fact his finding refuted the accusations against the community:

Up to now, Inga did not incur any damage in her soul or deficits in her personality. Also, no evidence was found of ’psychological brainwashing’ of her mother. The court has no right to judge the beliefs of the mother. This can obviously be contributed to the positive child rearing practices of her mother. In this aspect, she cannot be accused of any omissions.” {Schwiebert v. Schwiebert, 19th Civil Senate for Family Affairs, Superior District Court, Cello, 12 April 1994 (19 UF 131/93).}

In August of 1995 some members of the Community in Pennigbüttel moved to a small village in southern Germany called Oberbronnen. As soon as pastor Gert Glaser found out about this, he wrote a letter of warning to the local mayors, Evangelical and Catholic churches as well as the police. (See note 3.)

Herr Glaser was the “Commissioner of Worldviews” appointed by the Lutheran Church. Here again religious zealots sought to enlist the state in their fighting cause against “heresy.” Here again they sought to break down the necessary and essential barrier between church and state! If this barrier is not kept upright the inevitable result has always been persecution for cause of conscience, which always leads to tragedy and bloodshed.

Amazingly, the “sheep” of the state churches always eat the “wolves” of the heretical churches. Those with the “right doctrine” persecute, even to the point of bloodshed, those with “wrong doctrine.” How often this has marred the history of European nations, including Germany!

In spite of this unwarranted distribution of documents to stir up suspicion, fear and paranoia on the part of the local officials, the members of the Community in Oberbronnen contacted the local education officials, seeking to find a way to achieve official recognition of their parental rights and religious convictions to educate their children at home.

Rachel_2001.08.03

Summer of 2001 in Oberbronnen.

Community parents found the social service officials in their district open minded. The relationship was good, friendly, and there were visits. In time, media reports produced mounting pressure on the German officials in Oberbronnen and led to an investigation by the local Social Services/Youth Office (Jugendamt).

The report of this office was one which praised the Community stating: “the people at Oberbronnen are ’very sensible parents’ and (have) ’happy and lively children’ who live in a family-like situation that is next to exemplary.”

The local media report of this visit…

Translation:

Best Reference by the Jugendamt for the relationship between parents and children in the religious community at oberbronnen.

“All you can see is happy children”

[Concerning Oberbronnen] “…As the county youth welfare department of the Ostalbkreis county confirmed to the SchwaPo, the people at Oberbronnen are “very sensible parents” and have “happy and lively children” who live in a family-like situation that is next to exemplary.

In a dilemma

“From the point of view of the authorities, the only problem is compulsory education: the community in Oberbronnen refuses to send their children to public schools but insists on homeschooling them.

“Of course, this creates a dilemma for the Jugendamt theoretically, the children could be forced to attend school only if parents and children are separated — of course, this is absurd because the parents and children live in outstanding harmony. The authorities are trying hard to find a solution that would be acceptable to both sides. One “branch” of the religious Community located in Osterholz-Scharmbeck already carried this lawsuit over the District Government of Luneberg as far as the Department of Education and Art in Hanover — and the problem has still not been decided yet. The parents refuse to send their children to school on the grounds that they live a life that is strictly obedient by the bible and that the Old Testament says that father and mother are called to teach the children.

Rather open

“Aside from this however, according to an employee of the Jugendamt, the members of the religious community are known to be “rather open”, polite and friendly, you can only hear “positive things” about them, their doors are open to any visitor.

“The employee ended saying that, in his opinion the death of the children in southwestern France can only be “an unfortunate event” that has no connection with the community at Oberbronnen.

“By the way, the community in Oberbronnen when asked permitted the Schwäbische Post a visit, but wouldn’t give further information or even allow photos to be taken.”

(Translation ends.)

Both the education officials and the media report make it clear that the only problem with the Community is their non-compliance with the compulsory education law.

Just days after this favorable report in the media, a zealous reporter from the same newspaper decided to “investigate.” His ensuing series of negative articles relies heavily on anti-religious information, especially from A.D.F.I. of France, Michael Kropveld of Canada, and a letter from the American state of Vermont, from a State’s Attorney, Susan Davis. The information from Kropveld and Davis are verbatim quotes from their letters to Mr. Schwiebert in the custody proceeding in 1994. (See note 4.)

It is noteworthy of her open and official display of bias that as the State’s Attorney for Essex County, Vermont, where Island Pond sits, she states to Mr. Schwiebert “Most of these custody battles are decided against the parent who is a member of the cult….” (emphasis added)

She writes a two page letter offering her interpretation of members’ religious beliefs and practices which are misleading and inaccurate, and mostly prejudicial in their slant. The judicial thrashing Judge Frank Mahady gave state officials and prosecutors for Vermont’s “grossly illegal fishing expedition” (the 1984 Raid on Island Pond) was obviously still stinging! Sadly, some officials seemed to learn nothing from the Judge’s stunning, clearly reasoned, and constitutionally-based decision.

Indeed, taking vengeance in these petty but significant ways (because Attorney Davis was a public servant) crosses several professional and ethical lines, such as the separation of church and state, but always has the potential to devastate the little children, as Germany’s 5 September 2013 Raid would do.

It is interesting to note that the negative media reports came just two days after the same newspaper reported a very positive article about the Community in Oberbronnen. This change of position by the paper from “exemplary community” to “cult” did not come about by direct observation of the life of the Community members in Oberbronnen. Instead, it came about by the anti-religious, unsubstantiated information gathered by the reporter in his “investigation” of the community. These news articles served their purpose to put pressure on local officials to act.

The Jugendamt (Social Services/Youth Office) asked the Community to voluntarily submit to a medical examination of their children in order to quiet the public outrage and put to rest the flurry of accusations that were beginning to crescendo. The parents of the Community complied and even though the social services wanted the doctor to require the parents to sign a blank document that would allow the state to take custody of the children should any medical problem arise, the doctor would not require such a thing. He had never in his 30 year career as a medical doctor been asked by social services for such action. Instead, he examined the children and issued an excellent report on the health of all the community children.

1991.01-ITN_Oberbronnen

Community in Oberbronnen in 1999.You can see why the doctor had a good report!

During this same time period, a member of Parliament, Dr. Mauz, from the State of Baden-Württemberg addressed the Parliament and asked if the government is aware of the “activities of the sect” and if the answer is “yes,” what were they planning to do about it. (See note 5.) The Ministry of Education responded with a Parliamentary report relying on information from people such as pastor Glaser.

The Parliamentary response endorsed Pastor Glaser’s letter to them on this subject and was then published in the media, putting increasing pressure on local officials to take action. (See note 6.) These letters show how government officials in the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports and a member of Parliament relied on an Evangelical pastor for “expert” opinion concerning the Community in Oberbronnen. This is not very veiled religious persecution.

At the end of July 1997 one of the largest German TV stations (ZDF), presented the community as a sect. The German public was already sensitized to this subject due to the reports of the deaths of the Solar Temple members. One of the accusations was a piece entitled “Children in Sects,” which implicated the Community by association, but had no factual basis relevant to the Messianic Communities. It applied pressure by stating that the government was doing nothing. With these events, the pressure on the social services in Oberbronnen became unbearable.

So, in August of 1997, the Social Services took action and sent a letter to the local family court, asking if the children in the Community in Oberbronnen were in danger and if custody should be taken away from the parents. (See note 7.) Media pressure had changed the Social Services opinion of the Community from praising them in April 1997 to believing the anti-religious information and wondering if the Community is a child abusing, apolyptic sect by August of that year. Lies have amazing power, don’t they?

The fact that all the parents of the Community were under investigation by the family court reveals that it was not a school issue with the Community any more, but that the Community had become a “problem” to the government based upon the anti-religious distribution of untruthful data about us. Social Services, who had stated that the children were “happy and lively” and lived in an “exemplary environment” now asked the Family Court to have the children psychologically examined, raising the question of whether the parents should retain custody of their children, even after the medical doctor had given the children a clean bill of health.

At this point the Family Court Judge took responsibility for the issue and instead of trusting the Social Services to conduct a psychological examination of all the children, paid a surprise visit to the Community himself in August of 1997. He rendered a very positive report about the children and the living situation within the Community. (See note 8.) He did not see the need for a psychological examination but ordered an academic evaluation of the school aged children, thus putting the issue back to the question of compulsory education and the Community’s non-compliance. Since the judge is aware of the communication between the Community and government school officials, he is waiting to see how this situation is developing and has not made a final decision concerning custody of the children.

One set of parents sent a copy of the judge’s report to the Ministry of Education. He, in turn, gave these parents a meeting at which he gave them opportunity to talk about anything they wished. They made an appeal to this man from their heart and found him to be a man who listened to his conscience.

Very quickly he realized from the conversation that the issue was not whether children of the Community would be able to get a job if they left, as the social workers had claimed, but rather one of control: who has been given the ultimate right and responsibility of the child and therefore has the ultimate right and authority to control his or her education.

The official explained that, not only did the German government assume the right of compulsory education over the right of the parent, but also because of the history of Germany, which has left many people with great fears of any repetition of uprising from a charismatic leader (either political or religious) that could plunge Germany once again into ruin, the government takes the position that they have the responsibility to avoid such demagoguery in the future by educating “its” children to be critical thinkers and aware citizens.

In other words, he explained why the state ‘owns’ the child.

HitlerWithYouth(Girls)2Remarkably, other leaders of Germany have said the same thing before him!

How is it then that very different governments, allegedly espousing very different philosophies, come to such similar fundamental conclusions about how the state rules over families, individuals, and education?

Something must be working in Germany that is not easily seen…maybe no one wants to see it. But as the prophet Amos asked long ago, ‘Can two walk together except they be agreed?’ (Amos 3:3)

No one denies, including us, that German values are different than they were seventy years ago. But is the spirit different? There’s the rub: the values change…but the spirit remains the same! The children belong to the state…not you, the parent.

The same spirit leads very different governments to the same conclusions about what makes Germany secure. This shadow lies heavily on the nation…

but it is more pleasant to ignore it than to think about it.

The response of the parents then was that it is a shame that those parents who are conscientious and who have conviction and purpose in laying hold of their parental right and responsibility to educate their children, would have to leave the country. This would leave behind only those who have to be forced to go to school. And why would a nation resort to force, as Germany does, to get its children to go to its government-run schools?

The parents asked the official, “How could such a policy be good for Germany?” A week later, the Supreme School Board in Stüttgart gave Community parents one year to come up with a solution. So the legal issue of the parents’ right to follow their conscience and educate their children according to their religious belief versus the extent of control the state can exercise over that education continued in the courts and between the parties.

Community parents acknowledge the State’s right to know that their children are educated and have no problem submitting to state supervision to that extent.

Then the court allowed a time interval during which both sides can communicate and work towards a solution that would accommodate the needs of both the state and the families involved, so as not to trample their religious liberty. Such liberty needs to be safeguarded for those who practice a religion other than the two favored state dogmas of Evangelicalism and Catholicism.

So with the Twelve Tribes we have the state favoring religion by persecuting a minority group, one whose devotion to Messiah exposes the deadness of mainstream German religion. And we have religious figures, so-called “anti-cult experts” aiding the state in the past by passing on sensational, religiously-biased testimony against us, too. And this they repeated even in hearings of September 2013 about our children and parents. And they believe in this they do the children and God a favor (John 16:3).

Church and state work well together in Germany keeping everyone lukewarm…

Lukewarmness

Translation: “I am in your midst.”

One could say that lukewarmness is the purpose of the marriage of church and state.

 

This comes from the larger paper, “The Messianic Communities in the European Union: An Issue of Parental Authority.” Refer to it for sections on the Twelve Tribes in France as well, using examples from Canada and the United States as further examples of illegal, unconstitutional, and immoral collusion of church and state.

Notes

Note 1: “Letter from Mrs. Scholl, Regional Director of County of Lünenburg, to Klaus and Annette Schüle; re: education in the Community in Pennigbüttel, 9 September 1995; “Children Are Kept Away from School,” Weserkurier Bremen, 10 September 1995, article reports that authorities are “looking for compromise” to avoid forceful measures…” School officials “have hope that a solution for the good of the children will be found.””

Note 2: “For example, Kropveld cites six named cases of kidnappings and promotes the concept that it is an acceptable practice in our Communities and advocated, which it is not. The fact is there has never been even one kidnapping conviction of a community member. In any case that has made it to the court, the Community member has been found to have had custody at the time, and law enforcement had been persuaded by the anti-religious propaganda fed to them by the non-community parent. See The Queen v. Dawson (Section IV, and to see the decision itself, connect here) for a graphic example of the damage done.”

Note 3: Letter from Pastor Gert Glaser to Evangelical and Catholic parishes in Wört and Stödtlen, 30 September 1995.

Note 4: Letter from Michael Kropveld to Volker Schwiebert, March 18, 1994; Letter from Susan Davis, State’s Attorney for Essex County, Vermont, 7 January 1994; Expertise on Children Growing Up in Cults, Evangelical Central Office for Worldview Questions, Stuttgart, 22 March 1994.

Note 5: Letter from Dr. Mauz to Parliament of Baden – Württenberg, “Minor Address,” 22 May 1997.

Note 6: Response of Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports, “Response,” 11 June 1997.

Note 7: Letter from Landratsamt Ostalbkreis District Youth Office (Mr. Fisher) to the Custodial Court, District Court, Ellwangen, 5 August 1997.

Note 8: Letter from Family Judge, Custody Court, District Court, Ellwangen, 5 August 1997.