Alan Keyes
The dark cloud behind reprieve for homeschoolers
By Alan Keyes
March 11, 2014

"When you sit down to eat with a ruler, observe carefully what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to appetite. Do not desire his delicacies, for they are deceptive food." (Proverbs 23:1-3)

"Never look a gift horse in the mouth," the old saying goes. "The Trojans tried that," comes the reply. "The result was fatal." Some such exchange came to mind yesterday when I read of the reprieve the DHS granted to the Romeike family. I couldn't help but rejoice that these brave homeschoolers are being spared the persecution they will have to endure if they are ever deported to Germany. But when I considered the source of the reprieve, "a little a man's hand" (1 Kings 18:44), overshadowed my sunny predisposition. There came to mind the Bible's sager than ancient warning of the dangers of snapping at morsels served up by possibly lawless human government.

The DHS reprieve came barely 24 hours after the Romeike family's advocates failed in their bid to take their case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Obama's minions could celebrate the triumph of their deplorable, thoroughly anti-American position that, when it comes to education, the family is not endowed by our Creator with any unalienable rights governments are obliged to secure. "During the course of the case, Attorney General Eric Holder argued that homeschooling is a 'mutable choice,' meaning that government can force parents to do as it wishes without violating any rights."

As the case progressed through the courts, many people, especially in the homeschooling Christian community, showed strong support for the Romeike family, on human rights grounds. Despite the pressure of that public opinion, Obama and Holder were obdurate. But immediately after the U.S. Supreme Court lends passive-aggressive support to their denial and disparagement of the unalienable rights of the God-endowed family, they shrewdly release the family from immediate threat.

The episode reminds me of the famous case Zorach v. Clauson 343 U.S. 306 (1952), which promoted the patently unconstitutional jurisprudence by which the U.S. Supreme Court asserted the federal judiciary's authority over state governments in matters "respecting an establishment of religion." The immediate impact of the decision (upholding New York state's law allowing students in the public schools to be released during school hours to attend religious instruction classes) seemed favorable to religious interests. But the overall effect was to confuse and palliate principled opposition to the lawless jurisprudence used to promote the groundless fiction that "a wall of separation between church and state" is somehow mandated by the U.S. Constitution.

That fictitious principle has ever since been the siege tower from which the forces of judicial tyranny launch their assaults against the moral bulwarks of liberty in the United States. These assaults include the justly infamous decision Engel v. Vitale (1962), which eliminated prayer from government-run schools. The Romeike result looks like a similarly shrewd effort to construct an engine for executive tyranny based on the notion that the natural family has no unalienable rights government is obliged to respect. Obama's DHS grants the Romeikes an indefinite stay of execution, but only after a legal precedent has been established that disparages and denies the unalienable rights of the natural family.

The basis for the natural family's claim of unalienable right is the natural belonging (self-conscious recognition of individual ownership) that unites parents and their natural children in a God-endowed community of mutual obligation. Because it also defines the God-endowed community of human beings as a whole, this same natural belonging, based on fulfilling the mutual obligations of God-endowed right, is in principle the basis for the human claim to any and all unalienable rights. (I elaborate the reasoning that supports this observation in the companion piece for this article, posted today on my blog, entitled "Family Ties and the Natural Basis for Property.")

The natural family has the distinction, however, of being the first, the most tangible, and the most directly verifiable evidence of this claim. Induce people to disregard the unalienable rights of the natural family and, whether they know it or not, they have cut the ground out from under their ability to justify the claim to any unalienable rights at all. Only the acknowledgment of the Creator's authority is more critically important to the perpetuation of just and lawful human liberty.

It's telling that Obama and Holder held out against the Romeike family's plea for asylum until, with the passive-aggressive support of the U.S. Supreme Court, they had established a legal precedent upholding the administration's lawless view that an unalienable right of the natural family (rooted in the parents' obligation conscientiously to care for the upbringing of their children) is a "mutable choice" government is not bound to respect.

In fact, it is an unalienable right that, as the American Declaration of Independence says, governments are instituted to secure. This gives the Romeike family a basis in natural justice for their claim to asylum. But the unalienable rights of the natural family are also among the antecedent rights retained by the people which, by its Ninth Amendment, the U.S. Constitution forbids those acting on its authority to disparage or deny by any construction of its terms.

So, as we rejoice, and thank God for the Romeike family's reprieve from persecution, we had better condemn the tyrannical intention revealed by the cold-bloodedly arrogant, Obama-faction maneuvering that preceded it. It is further proof that Obama, Holder, and their collaborators mean to press their lawless assault against America's principles of rightful liberty until we all end up where the Romeikes now find themselves – living in the United States, but not in vindication of a just, reasonably argued, and respectfully granted petition for safe haven from tyrannical persecution (worthy of the government of a free people.)

Instead we will live by the self-serving "mutable choice" of a tyrannical government, one that refrains from doing today the injustice it asserts the freedom to do, without regard for right, tomorrow and on any day it pleases. On the days of favor, we may be understandably tempted to rejoice. But not when we consider what is proven on the days when tyranny strikes, denying the rights endowed by our Creator. On those days, I expect, we will realize that we have no freedom at all, except perhaps the freedom to "Be afraid; be very afraid." Not at all my idea of what it means to be free. Is it yours?

To see more articles by Dr. Keyes, visit his blog at and his commentary at and

© Alan Keyes


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Alan Keyes

Dr. Keyes holds the distinction of being the only person ever to run against Barack Obama in a truly contested election – featuring authentic moral conservatism vs. progressive liberalism – when they challenged each other for the open U.S. Senate seat from Illinois in 2004... (more)


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