By BosNewsLife News Center
BERLIN/BUDAPEST (BosNewsLife)– A Christian father spent another day in a German prison Saturday, March 26, after refusing to pay a fine for not allowing his children to attend government-run “sexual education” classes, his lawyers said.
Eduard Wiens is now serving a 40-day sentence that will end April 23, said the U.S. based Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), an international group of Christian attorneys.
The ADF said Eduard Wiens is one of several Christian parents being prosecuted by German authorities over the controversial sex-classes, adding that it asked the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to quickly review appeals filed last year on their behalf.
Eduard and Rita Wiens, along wih Arthur and Anna Wiens, chose to keep their four children–a 9- and 10-year-old from each family–from attending obligatory “sexual education” in the town of Salzkotten that they believed taught students “an unbiblical view of sexuality,” ADF said in a statement.
“They were subsequently fined and sentenced to prison after they refused to pay. Arthur Wiens served two jail terms totaling 10 days last year. Eduard Wiens served five days last yearand is now serving a 40-day sentence,” the group explained.
Anna Wiens’ and Rita Wiens’ 43-day sentences were postponed, “due to the former’s pregnancy and the latter’s nursing of her newborn,” the ADF said.
The troubles began in 2006 when the four parents, active members of the Christian Baptist Church, objected to their children’s attendance at both a mandatory stage play and four school days of so-called “sexual education” classes.
“Each parent believed the programs contradicted their sincerely held religious beliefs. The Wiens’ kept their children at home during the programs and instead instructed them in their own Christian values on sexuality,” the ADF said.
A lower court disagreed and in June 2008 fined each parent 2,340 Euros (some $3,250).
Children are not allowed to opt out of classes or school activities and homeschooling is illegal in Germany since Adolf Hitler outlawed it in 1938.
Yet, the parents refused to pay the fine on what they called “legal and moral grounds”, a move that led to the jail sentences.
German school officials alleged that the purpose of the compulsory play “Mein Köper Gehört Mir” (‘My Body Is Mine’) was to introduce preventative measures for sexual abuse amongst children.
ADF attorneys argued that the play and “sexual education” lessons promoted a view of sex and sexuality that “strongly contradicts” the Wiens’ Christian beliefs.
“Also, the Wiens’ contend that the programs didn’t deter sexual abuse, but instead taught children to become sexually active, ultimately teaching that if something feels good sexually, then it was an acceptable practice,” the ADF added.
The group said it has three similar cases before the ECHR, involving the imprisonment of six Christian parents, that “violate” international human rights treaties signed by Germany.
“Parents, not the government, are ultimately responsible for making educational choices for their children, and jailing them for exercising this universal right is ridiculous,” argued ADF Legal Counsel Roger Kiska.
The imprisoned Eduard Wiens “was well within his rights under the European Convention of Human Rights to opt to teach his children a view of sexuality that is in accord with his own religious beliefs, instead of sending them to classes and an interactive play that they found to be objectionable,” Kiska added.
The cases could have wider implications, he warned. “The ADF also wants to head off any opportunity for activists in the United States to cite foreign court decisions as patterns to follow.”
Christian rights groups view the German prosecution of parents as part of efforts by several governments and employers in Europe to pressure devoted Christians to follow regulations that do not adhere to their Biblical principles. (With editing and reporting by BosNewsLife’s Stefan J. Bos).