In America and many other countries, we sometimes think that persecution against Christians is something that only occurs in Muslim lands or communist regimes. We know that millions were slaughtered by Stalin in Russia, Hitler in Germany, and by other antichristian forces over the years. But who would think that religious persecution would be rampant even in the West, where freedom has been the cry for hundreds of years.
Yet we must admit that the Bible plainly states that suffering for the cause of Christ and righteousness would be the common lot of those who would live for the Lord. Paul warns, All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12). He also warned the new believers in Galatia, Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22). At certain times in history, the state may be tolerate of those who would live for the Lord, but generally, through the centuries, those who call on the name of Jesus Christ have had to endure much suffering, even to the point of death.
Ive just read a news report that tells of intolerable persecution against Christian families. Where would this be perpetrated? Maybe Saudi Arabia? Maybe North Korea? Maybe China? Or maybe Vietnam? No, this is found in a couple of the most tolerant countries in the world. I refer to tolerance of all kinds of evilsexual immorality, abortion, and much more. If tolerance is so extensive in such countries, how could they be so intolerant of some families in their do? I refer to Germany and, now, Sweden! Notice the report that was sent to me:
Mike Farris says that Sweden will ban all home schooling except for children with medical exemptions and foreign workers with the appropriate work visas.
“That’s it. People who have religious convictions or are home schooling for religious reasons will not be given one of these very rare exemptions,” he points out. “And so for all intents and purposes, home schooling is going to be banned in Sweden. They’re following the German statute, following the German model.”
In Germany, parents face stiff penalties if they are caught illegally home schooling their children. The Romeike family recently left Germany and is seeking asylum in the U.S. after facing stiff fines and the potential loss of custody rights for home schooling their children. (onenewsnow.com/Education).
One source states that Sweden values frankness, democracy, and respect for other people. Yet Swedes are not a religious people. Although the state church, The Church of Sweden, continues to exist, it is liberal and more and more people are leaving it. At present, eight out of ten Swedes are members, yet only one in 10 Swedes considers religion to be important to his or her life! According to the above report, Swedes show little support for religion, family, and national identity.
Germany likewise has become a secular state, with little interest in religion. We can see how the government would not show an interest in Christians who want to educate their children in their home. They may reason that if the state is so secular and humanistic and lacks solid spiritual and moral values, home schooling is a virtual necessity. We would definitely agreeunless, of course, alternative Christian education can be found.
It may be difficult for Americans to understand how this kind of religious persecution can exist. In the United States, some 2 to 3 million children are taught at home rather than in the secular state educational institutions. We may wonder how anything could be otherwise. In Texas, where I now reside, home education is freely practiced, without interference by the state government or local school authorities. This is the way it should be.
If the state insists of taking the children of Christians in either Germany or Sweden, what is the conscientious, sincere, devoted follower of Christ to do? The Christian knows the answer. We must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29). Parents must not abnegate their responsibility to teach and train their children in the ways of God (Ephesians 6:4). They must not allow their precious and impressionable children to be influenced by secular and humanistic thinking, relativistic philosophies, pleasure-mad morals, sports and worldly entertainment, false religion, evolution, and much more!
The cost of such a decision to home school can be immenseespecially in Sweden and Germany! Can you imagine leaving family, friends, a job, and ones country because of Christian convictions? Yet this is what the Romeike family did as they deserted Germany because they were not permitted to offer Christian home schooling to their children. It is what other sincere families may choose to do as they weigh the options of either capitulating their responsibility to provide wholesome education for their children or taking the responsibility seriously by home educating them or perhaps seeing that they have Christian private education.
Are we willing to make this kind of sacrifice to follow Jesus?