With certain forces in Birmingham stirring up a rebellion against sexual orientation an gender identity education at school, it might be time to remember a certain German precedent. However, there is pretty sparse reporting of that precedent in English, and ,much of what does exist comes from bigoted sources. So I decided to make a summary, based on both English language and Russian language sources. Of course, someone who can read German could probably do a better job, but in the absence of that, I hope this one will suffice.
The start were eight families in Salzkotten, Westphalia, Germany. All “Russian German”, the descendants of German colonists in Russia. The colonists were deported to Siberia in Soviet times (mostly during the Second World War), and many of them developed a strong and conservative Christian faith as either conservative Lutherans or Baptists. As far as I can understand these particular families were Baptists.
There is a claim, attributed to one of the fathers, that the first “conflicts” between parents and the school started in 2005. The parents objected to “Sexual Erziehung”, sexual education, lessons.
I could not get an exact date of when “push came to shove”. IT happened when the school wanted to involve all the children in a theatrical production called “Mein Körper gehört mir” – “My Body Belongs To Me”. The bigoted sources claim the production was “teaching young children how to engage in sexual intercourse”. I would surmise a somewhat different meaning from the name of the production.
The parents pulled their children out of the lessons and production.
The local authorities fined them for truancy.
The parents refused to pay the fine, claiming they were acting justly.
And then Germany showed what it can do. It JAILED them. I could not find the actual jail terms, presumably rather short.
The parents sued, and it went all the way to the highest Federal German court – which stayed the line, making a clear statement that would not be out of place in British ears right now. Namely, that the state has an interest in using the education system to suppress development of of Parallelgesellschaften or “parallel societies”.
(Caveat: I’m using secondary sources here and the term “suppress” might not be an exact reflection of the ruling).
The parents went on to the European Court of Human Rights. And that court ruled in favour of the German state, saying the complaint was “manifestly ill-founded”.
They tried public protests too, especially in 2014 when what they call “gender ideology” (sexual orientation and gender identity) was added to the sexual education. The police did not suppress the protests but it is claimed police turned a blind eye while the local LGBT activists did some direct action. The highest claimed number at a protest I could find was 500, in Cologne.
Germany stood fast. Germany won. Even with the recent arrival of many migrants, everyone knows you send children to sex education as ordered. Or else.
In fact, in 2017 another Russian-German family, named Martens, apparently with all of 10 children, ended up leaving Germany for Russia because of “immorality” of sex education. Two months later they went back as they could not handle the material realities of life in a Russian village, but then in later 2018 they went back, as this time they were offered a good house to live in. For all I know they are still in Russia.
I say, learn from Germany. Rely on the ECHR precedent. And if anyone wants to go live in Russia or in Lebanon, they are very welcome to do so; nobody (except those convicted, or being prosecuted/tried, for major crimes – of which truancy is not one) should ever be prevented from leaving a country
English-language sources (all fairly dubious in ethical positions)
The following links are to RUSSIAN-LANGUAGE sources, again many of them of questionable ethics