The Bavarian Family Court and Jugendamt took all the children of the Twelve Tribes into state custody with no warning on the suspicion of evidence of child abuse. On the day of the Raid, 18 months ago, they found no evidence of abuse. They have kept those children for a year and a half with no evidence, using them as “pieces of evidence” hoping to salvage their ill-fated plan to destroy their parents’ religion. Is this the government’s policy: to take children away from their parents permanently without any evidence of harm?
The evidence found by examining the children of the Twelve Tribes on the day of the Raid was very clear…no signs of physical abuse, nor psychological abuse. The parent-child relationships were normal and intact. This is the real evidence of the well-being of the children on September 5, 2013, the day of the raid.
These 40 children were spanked by loving parents as part of the overall educational child training method adopted by the parents that produced in those children the evidence of good behavior, good grades in the Twelve Tribes school, good attitudes, enthusiasm about life, respect towards adults and teachers, openness and friendliness toward outsiders, all of which was undeniably evident in all those children on the day of the Raid. These facts were evidenced by countless positive evaluations by school psychologists, medical doctors, friends, neighbors, and family members outside the community in Klosterzimmern and Wornitz for many, many years in Germany.
The basis for the parents’ child-rearing methods is the clear instruction in the Bible – but not merely the Proverbs that advise the use of the rod and reproof to correct, educate and discipline, but also understanding the character of God the Father who loves and protects his children so that they become upright and God-fearing. On February 4, 2015, Pope Francis described the justification for spanking well as in the account by the National Catholic Reporter:
Pope Francis told parents it is OK to spank their children to discipline them – as long as their dignity is maintained.
Francis made the remarks this week during his weekly general audience, which was devoted to the role of fathers in the family. Francis outlined the traits of a good father: one who forgives but is able to “correct with firmness” while not discouraging the child.
“One time, I heard a father in a meeting with married couples say ‘I sometimes have to smack my children a bit, but never in the face so as to not humiliate them’,” Francis said. “How beautiful.” he added. “He knows the sense of dignity! He has to punish them but does it justly and moves on.”
The Rev Thomas Rosica, who collaborates with the Vatican press office, said the pope was obviously not speaking about committing violence or cruelty against a child but rather about “helping someone to grow and mature”.
“Who has not disciplined their child or been disciplined by parents when we are growing up?” Rosica said in an email. “Simply watch Pope Francis when he is with children and let the images and gestures speak for themselves.”
In contradiction to the Pope, Family Court judges Frau Roser and Herr Kruger write long opinions full of their theories condemning all spanking as child abuse based on their wrong perspective of the parents’ religious beliefs about how these children were treated, but where is the evidence to support such theories? The judges’ theories might be supported by evidence in some cases before them but not in the case of these children. In the case of these Twelve Tribes children in Germany, they are spanked and the evidence that they are well-parented and well-adjusted children is overwhelmingly evident to all. Why don’t the authorities care enough about the children to take an honest look at what is going on here? These children don’t look abused, don’t act abused and in fact are not abused.
German law and the Jugendamt handbook written by one of the foremost psychologists in Germany, Herr Heinz Kindler, allows for reasonable physical spanking of children by parents.
“Körperliche Bestrafungen von Kindern sind in Deutschland nach § 1631 BGB untersagt. Jedoch sind körperliche Strafen, die mit einem geringen Einsatz von Zwang oder Gewalt verbunden sind, kein Verletzungsrisiko bergen und für das Kind erkennbar erzieherischen Zwecken dienen, von körper-lichen Kindesmisshandlungen deutlich zu trennen.”1
“Corporal punishments of children are forbidden in Germany according to § 1631 BGB. But not every physical penalty that is connected with minor use of force or violence and does not include any risk of injury and serves for the child obviously as educational purposes are to be clearly differentiated from physical child abuse.“2
This is recognized as legitimate, not harmful, and within the boundaries of the law. When parents of Klosterzimmern admitted to Herr Alfred Kanth, head of the Jugendamt, in 2009 that they spanked their own children in the family, it was judged by the officials to be within the boundaries of the exercise of proper parental authority. The same was found by Judge Ilg in 1998 and 2000 in Oberbronnen. The practices of the parents did not change between 2009 and September 5, 2013 and neither did the positive evidence in the children.
All one has to do is read the excerpts of the school files to see the glowing evidence clearly observed by the school officials, Jugendamt head, Herr Kanth, the school psychologist and everyone else who observed the children to know these children were not abused up until they were forcibly and violently ripped away from their parents by massive police force.
That was just the beginning of a collective strategy to separate these children from their parents and to undermine the child training methods in the minds of the children, the same child training methods that made them such outstanding and special children in the first place.
But now the evidence in the children of being in state custody for eighteen months is first of all mistrust, disrespect, and a mindset of self-centeredness and self-gratification. This is the real crime that has been committed against these children and their parents. It is an atrocity and an act of genocide3 to deliberately and purposefully attempt to destroy a valid witness of a wonderful way of life — patterned after people who love God and their children enough to obey His Word.
Who would want to destroy something so precious, so hopeful for all to see here in Germany? Who would attempt to blackmail the parents by telling them: “you can have your children back if you leave the Twelve Tribes”?4 Why would the officials say that the individual parents are “good and caring parents” yet collectively take all of their children into state custody? This is clearly an assault against beliefs and not evidence of abuse. It is about destroying a religious group the state doesn’t like.
There are eleven more Twelve Tribes communities around the world. The parents raise their children with “loving discipline.”5 They have two generations of children who grew up here and are now responsible adults who have no physical nor psychological damage in their soul. They run successful businesses both inside and outside the communities and are good citizens. They are vibrant and intelligent full of zeal and purpose. They are not on welfare and understand their freedom to choose their religion and the way they want to raise their children. But one thing they don’t understand is why this freedom is not being protected in Germany since there is no evidence from how they turned out as adults that condemns their parents’ way of life.
Of course it is true that not all the parents obey the teachings in the loving spirit they were intended, nor do the parents claim to be perfect in parenting. We do not believe that we are above the law. If there is evidence of abuse by individual parents, treat them like you would everyone else – as individuals. But do not condemn a whole group of people because they believe in the Word of God.
- Auszug aus: „Handbuch Kindeswohlgefährdung nach § 1666 BGB und allgemeiner sozialer Dienst (ASD); Anmerkung 8, Kapitel 5-3; Kindler, Lillig, Blümel, Meysen, Werner (Hrsg.)) ↩
- Excerpt from: “Manual child endangerment under § 1666 of the Civil Code and general social service (ASD); Note 8, Section 5-3; Kindler, Lillig, Bluemel, Meysen, Werner (ed.)) ↩
- Genocide is here used because one of its definitions, according to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Article 2, genocide is to “d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;” and “e) forcibly transferring children of the group to another group,” thereby, with regards to the Twelve Tribes in Germany, accomplishing “c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;” not to mention the second part of “b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;” ↩
- And then treat those who do so shamefully. See the post, “The Sword of Damocles.” ↩
- Gerhard Willms in “Die wunderbare Welt der Sekten” , herausgegeben von Vandenhöeck & Ruprecht, S.84. ↩