The 1993 Home-Ed-Politics Debate (Part 3)





1. HSLDA - Reply
Doris Hohensee

2.The "Four Pillars" of Home Education
David L. Hanson

3.The Four Pillars-Questions
Stephen Pimentel

4.Four Pillars Article
Karl Pearson

5.DeJonge: Text of Opinion [translation - Craig]
Craig Peterson

6.The Four Pillars-Questions
Doris Hohensee)

7.The Four Pillars-Questions
David L. Hanson

8.The Four Pillars-Questions
Chris Coats

9.The Four Pillars-Questions
Doris Hohensee

10.The Four Pillars-Questions
Greg Wolff

11.The Four Pillars-Questions
David L. Hanson

12.The Four Pillars-Questions
Claude Anderson

13.The Four Pillars-Q&A
Doris Hohensee





Message 1

Subject: HSLDA - Reply
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 93 14:55:55 WET
From: doris (Doris Hohensee)
To: home-ed-politics@mainstream.com



1. Response to Scott Somerville's accusation that I, Doris Hohensee, am a "no-jurisdiction" purist.

No. If Mr. Somerville would review the legislation that I have helped to initiate in New Hampshire, he would see that I have consistently sought only to uphold "equal treatment" before the law for all educators and the recognition of parental "rights of conscience" with respect to education. Both of of these rights are enumerated in our state constitution. I am a "constitutionalist," not a purist.

Sorry to be a nit-picker, but even lawyers should be precise. This is exactly the problem I have every year with HSLDA: they lack information and accuracy in their legislative bulletins.

2. Response to Scott Somerville's suggestion that I would not accept a victory on First Amendment Rights.

Yes, I would, if there was a victory to accept.

As a constitutionalist, I recognize the First Amendment and appreciate all constitutional victories for home education.

I have only very limited information about the Michigan case cited by Mr. Somerville. I have not had the opportunity to read the entire brief as Mr. Somerville has. I will say that I do not understand the DeJonge case to be a broad victory for First Amendment rights. I don't see how it would help 90% of home educators in Michigan. Nor do I see how it would help me personally should I move to Michigan. It appears to be a very narrow ruling with no benefit to secular home educators. Perhaps Mr. Somerville could post the actual brief for all of us to review.

3. Response to Scott Somerville's suggestion that this is only two "New Hampshirites" in a personal squabble.

No. This is much more than that. He represents a well-funded organization which has intervened or interferred in home education in every state in this country. I represent a few families in N.H.: I do not presume to speak for people in other states. This is not a singular problem. Many other families across the country have also had their rights trampled on because of the actions of the organization he works for.

4. Response to Scott Somerville's emotional arguement that he has personally accepted a reduced salary and that his group represents many home educators "pro bono" as proof of the merits of his organization.

Irrelevant. This does not guarantee that the net impact of the organization is good. It merely emphasizes that he truly believes in his cause and is zealous in his endeavors. Don't forget though that over-zealous people can be very dangerous. Many times their mission becomes so all-consuming that they are completely blind to the havoc that they create.

I have very little doubt that Mr. Somerville is an honest man. It's probably the case that most, if not all, of the people associated with HSLDA are also honest persons. This is one of the most unfortunate things about the current situation.

5. Response to Mr. Somerville's statement: "HSLDA's goal is not to change America's laws."

Of course. HSLDA waltzed into many states, including mine, as legislative experts and effected home education laws *they* could live with across the country. Now the strategy for HSLDA appears to be to freeze those unconstitutional laws in place. They certainly don't need to lobby openly. They merely publish timely and biased bulletins encouraging their support groups to kill all new legislative efforts. Fear-mongering is the typical method. *Any* change from the status quo is painted as entirely too risky even to contemplate.

6. Response to Mr. Somerville's statement that he "can't figure out which side of the street Doris is working."

I thought I was quite clear. I'm not trying to *force* the legislature and the people they represent, via court order, to a particular course of action I happen to approve of. I'm trying to get them to agree with me: under pressure from their constituents perhaps, but agree none the less. I don't believe in judicial usurpation of legislative power. The classic example of that is Roe vs. Wade. Where has that gotton us? Violent polarization is where.

What's more, court decisions technically apply only to a single case. Hostile bureaucrats and lower court judges can and do bring charges and convict with full knowledge they will be overturned on appeal. They do this purely as a harrassment tactic. The classic example is continuing IRS enforcement of regulations previously thrown out by the courts. The only solution is to change the law. Mr. Somerville is a lawyer: he ought to know such things.

7. I would appreciate Mr. Somerville's addressing some of the substantive issues I raised in my previous posts. Most of his posts have consisted of red herrings (as in #1, #3, #4 and #6 above) or of setting up and knocking down straw men (as in #2 and #5 above).

-------------------------------------------------------------

I would recommend everyone reading the background information I've just posted concerning the "Four Pillars." It's a bit long, but I think it makes very interesting reading. The fact that it's two years old (just like Mr. Manville's work), is, of course, another red herring, and thus irrelevant. The past *is*. It influences the present and future, as long as we remember it.

Doris Hohensee
New Hampshire Alliance for Home Education




Message 2

Subject: RE: The "Four Pillars" of Home Education
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 1993 23:15:22 -0400
From: David L. Hanson
Reply-To: home-ed-politics@mainstream.com



This "Four Pillars" article is one reason why I don't subscribe to Home Education Magazine. I saw a description of it in their catalog and decided that this was the magazine for me. The people who wrote it have a very confused idea of Biblical Christianity.

The Teaching Home is our favorite magazine. We are thankful that they have a Biblical doctrinal position. We are also very thankful that there is a Christian homeschool organization in Illinois that organizes conventions that have helped us to grow as Christian homeschooling families. Frankly, homeschooling is a part of our service to the Lord Jesus Christ and it is intimately intertwined with our faith.

I can understand Scott's position better after reading this though. The Home Education Magazine article makes me appreciate HSLDA a little better.

[correction to first paragraph: this was NOT the magazine for me]

David L. Hanson
Naperville, IL
dlhanson@amoco.com





Message 3

Subject: The Four Pillars-Questions
Date: Thu, 7 Oct 1993 06:18:49 -0400
From: pimentel@sytex.com (stephen pimentel)
Reply-To: home-ed-politics@mainstream.com



I read with interest the "Four Pillars" article posted by Doris Hohensee, who had earlier piqued my curiousity by suggesting that all homeschoolers should read it. I found the statistics on actual prosecutions informative. That's always something to consider when buying any form of insurance. And the charges leveled against the legal competence of the HSDLA are serious, particularly if they do represent a pattern, as is suggested. The example of Wisconsin suggests that, at the very least, the HSDLA needs to work from better information and to cooperate better with the local homeschooling community.

The article raised some questions in my mind. I should say at the outset that I am pretty neutral on the HSDLA issue; we fully intend to homeschool our children, but as our eldest is just a little over 2, we are now in the research rather than the living stage.

The article states that

>Many new exclusive groups are being encouraged to
>"hide" their exclusivity, with the goal of appearing
>to have a much broader base of support. Many
>members of such groups are not even aware that
>their group is exclusive, or that they must sign a
>statement of faith to hold office within the group.


What do these statements of faith say? Are they denomination-specific? Do they require the statement of religious purpose in one's homeschooling?

Concerning the survey of the HSLDA's membership the article says:

>The population for this survey was limited to a
>very narrow segment of the homeschool
>community: those few homeschoolers who currently
>support the idea thatthe best legal protection is a
>central agency, and who fit HSLDA's membership
>criteria.

What is the HSDLA's membership criteria? I thought they took any homeschooler who applied?

Concerning the merging of the mission of HSLDA/NCHE :

>This type of brazen misrepresentation has
>prompted homeschoolers in state after state to
>protest the actions of HSLDA/NCHE. In our
>Nov/Dec, 1990 issue a homeschooling mother
>wrote, "I joined HSLDA for legal protection only. I
>did not ask to join NCHE. I do not want to be
>part of a discriminatory organization and I do not
>want them to claim they represent my views."

How does NCHE discriminate? (The answer, I suppose, may be the same as the answer to the question about the HSLDA's membership criteria.)

The article also states that HSLDA's efforts are putting a straitjacket on how children may be taught:

>HSLDA/NCHE not only actively fosters a
>dependency on their services, which undermines
>individual action and responsibility, but they also
>promote a clear perception that there is an
>'approved homeschool method,' defined in part by
>their membership application. This application
>requests information very similar to what we
>have come to expect from hostile school official:
>test results, curriculum, academic background of
>the parent, notification of previous contact with
>officials.

What is the homeschooling method approved by HSLDA? Is it explicit or implicit--ie, that asking for test scores, curriculum, academic background of the parent implies approval of testing, structured curricula, and support of "academic" qualifications to teach?

I hope someone who knows more about these things from experience will help me out. I'd be very interested in hear responses from both sides of this debate.

Thanks!

Rachel (I share this account with my husband...)

---
pimentel@sytex.com (stephen pimentel)
Access <=> Internet BBS, a public access internet site
Sytex Communications, Arlington VA, 1-703-528-4380




Message 4

Subject: Four Pillars Article
Date: Thu, 7 Oct 1993 14:57:48 -700 (MDT)
From: Karl Pearson
To: Doris Hohensee


I inadvertently deleted my saved version of the above mentioned article. Could you please resend just to me? Thanks.

-=> Karl L. Pearson, President, Utah Home Education Association
-=> No Other Success Can Compensate For Failure In The Home - Harold B. Lee




Message 5 Subject: DeJonge: Text of Opinion [translation - Craig]
Date: Thu, 7 Oct 1993 17:29:21 -0400
From: craig@osf.org
Reply-To: home-ed-politics@mainstream.com



From SCOTT+aMEMBER%HSLDA@mcimail.com Thu Oct 7 10:58:32 1993
Received: by n8ino.mainstream.com (5.65/SMV5.67 Holiness to the Lord);
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7 Oct 93 14:37 GMT
Date: Thu, 7 Oct 93 14:40 GMT
From: Scott Somerville
To: HOME-ED
Subject: DeJonge: Text of Opinion
Message-Id: <12931007144021/0006047481ND2EM@mcimail.com>


Here is the official court decision in Michigan's DEJONGE case. A couple of points to note and things to look for as (if) you read through it.

1) The DeJonge's had a religious conviction that THEY must teach their own children. Since they were not certified, this translated into a conviction that a certified teacher must NOT teach their children. Under Supreme Court precedents going back to the Vietnam War draft dodger cases, this religious objection would be available to any person, whether theistic or not, for whom this conviction is a matter of "ultimate concern." This would probably cover a large majority of home schoolers.

2) Note several points in addition to the bottom line (home schoolers win). The court stresses the ORIGINAL INTENT of the Constitution. This intent was to ACTIVELY PROTECT, not just grudgingly tolerate, religious conduct. The court bases its holding directly on a US Supreme Court case, Smith II (the "Peyote Case"), which it says is "controlling." This means that this decision can be cited in every state. The court rules that the State must PROVE that it has a compelling interest at stake, not just say so; and that the State must PROVE that it is using the least restrictive means to achieve it, not just say so. The court says that any restriction must be ESSENTIAL. The court says that it is up to the conscientious objector to decide what seems to be more restrictive to him or her. Finally, the court stresses that the burden of proof is on the State. The State must prove that the law is constitutional, instead of forcing the conscientious objector to prove that it is unconstitutional.

Read it for yourself, and decide for yourself.

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179148-HOME SCHOOL


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COPYRIGHT (C) 1993 BY WEST PUBLISHING COMPANY. COPYRIGHT IS NOT CLAIMED AS TO ANY PART OF THE ORIGINAL WORK PREPARED BY A U. S. GOVERNMENT OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE AS PART OF THAT PERSON'S OFFICIAL DUTIES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. NO PART OF A WESTLAW TRANSMISSION MAY BE COPIED, DOWNLOADED, STORED IN A RETRIEVAL SYSTEM, FURTHER TRANSMITTED OR OTHERWISE REPRODUCED, STORED, DISSEMINATED, TRANSFERRED OR USED, IN ANY FORM OR BY ANY MEANS, WITHOUT WEST'S PRIOR WRITTEN AGREEMENT. EACH REPRODUCTION OF ANY PART OF A WESTLAW TRANSMISSION MUST CONTAIN NOTICE OF WEST'S COPYRIGHT AS FOLLOWS: "COPR. (C) WEST 1993 NO CLAIM TO ORIG. U.S. GOVT. WORKS". WESTLAW AND WESTNET ARE REGISTERED SERVICE MARKS OF WEST PUBLISHING CO. REG. U.S. PAT. AND TM. OFF.





CLIENT IDENTIFIER: DEJONGE
DATE OF REQUEST: 10/07/93
THE CURRENT DATABASE IS MI-CS
YOUR TERMS AND CONNECTORS QUERY:

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PAGE 1

Citation Rank(R) Database Mode
501 N.W.2d 127 R 1 OF 5 MI-CS Page
61 USLW 2757, 83 Ed. Law Rep. 773
(Cite as: 442 Mich. 266, 501 N.W.2d 127)
PEOPLE of the State of Michigan, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Mark DeJONGE and Chris DeJonge, Defendants-Appellants (After Remand).
Docket No. 91479.
Calendar No. 4, November Term 1992.
Supreme Court of Michigan.
Argued Nov. 10, 1992.
Decided May 25, 1993.


Parents were convicted in the Ottawa District Court, Richard J. Kloote, J., of violating instructor certification requirement for home schooling under compulsory education law, and the Ottawa Circuit Court, Calvin L. Bosman, J., affirmed. The Court of Appeals, 179 Mich.App. 225, 449 N.W.2d 899. After remand, 436 Mich. 875, 461 N.W.2d 365, the Court of Appeals, 188 Mich.App. 447, 470 N.W.2d 433, again affirmed, and parents appealed. The Supreme Court, Riley, J., held that state failed to show that certification requirement for home schooling was least restrictive means of achieving state's claimed interest, and thus, teacher certification requirement violated free exercise clause as applied.
Reversed.

[1] CONSTITUTIONAL LAW k84(1)
92k84(1)
Michigan Constitution is at least as protective of religious liberty as United States Constitution. M.C.L.A. Const. Art. 1, s 4; U.S.C.A. Const.Amend. 1.

[2] CONSTITUTIONAL LAW k12
92k12
Constitution must be interpreted in light of original intent and understanding of its drafters, and framers' intent must be understood in conjunction with intentions and understanding of Constitution held by its ratifiers.

[2] CONSTITUTIONAL LAW k13
92k13
Constitution must be interpreted in light of original intent and understanding of its drafters, and framers' intent must be understood in conjunction with intentions and understanding of Constitution held by its ratifiers.

[3] CONSTITUTIONAL LAW k12
92k12
Constitution can only properly be understood by studying its common meaning as well as circumstances surrounding adoption of constitutional provision and purpose sought to be accomplished.

[3] CONSTITUTIONAL LAW k14
92k14
Constitution can only properly be understood by studying its common meaning as well as circumstances surrounding adoption of constitutional provision and purpose sought to be accomplished.

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501 N.W.2d 127
PAGE 2
(Cite as: 442 Mich. 266, 501 N.W.2d 127)

[3] CONSTITUTIONAL LAW k16
92k16
Constitution can only properly be understood by studying its common meaning as well as circumstances surrounding adoption of constitutional provision and purpose sought to be accomplished.

[4] CONSTITUTIONAL LAW k14
92k14
Literal construction of words of Constitution, without regard to their obvious purpose of protection, is to make the constitutional safeguard no more than a shabby hoax, a barrier of words, easily destroyed by other words; constitutional limitation must be construed to effectuate, not abolish, the protection sought by it to be afforded.

[5] CONSTITUTIONAL LAW k13
92k13
Adherence to original intent in constitutional construction is crucial to ensure that courts cannot substitute their own pleasure to the constitutional intentions of the people.

[6] CONSTITUTIONAL LAW k84.5(3)
92k84.5(3)
Michigan's teacher certification requirement for home schools must undergo strict scrutiny to survive free exercise constitutional challenge. U.S.C.A. Const.Amend. 1; M.C.L.A. Const. Art. 1, s 4.

[7] CONSTITUTIONAL LAW k84.5(1)
92k84.5(1)
"Strict scrutiny" in resolving free exercise challenge is manifested in "compelling interest test," which is composed of five elements: whether defendant's belief, or conduct motivated by belief, is sincerely held; whether defendant's belief, or conduct motivated by belief, is religious in nature; whether state regulation imposes burden on exercise of belief or conduct; whether compelling state interest justifies burden imposed upon defendant's belief or conduct; and whether there is less obtrusive form of regulation available to state. U.S.C.A. Const.Amend. 1; M.C.L.A. Const. Art. 1, s 4. See publication Words and Phrases for other judicial constructions and definitions.

[8] CONSTITUTIONAL LAW k84(2)
92k84(2)
Parents, who testified that they taught their children at home without complying with certification requirement of Michigan's compulsory school attendance law because they wished to provide for their children a "Christ- centered education," established that their religious belief was "sincerely held," as required for free exercise challenge to law. M.C.L.A. s 388.553; U.S.C.A. Const.Amend. 1; M.C.L.A. Const. Art. 1, s 4. See publication Words and Phrases for other judicial constructions and definitions.

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501 N.W.2d 127
PAGE 3
(Cite as: 442 Mich. 266, 501 N.W.2d 127)

[9] CONSTITUTIONAL LAW k84(2)
92k84(2)
In resolving free exercise challenge to law, court must determine whether religious belief is sincerely held, not whether belief is true or reasonable; court must accept worshipper's good faith characterization that its activity is grounded in religious belief because it is not within judicial ken to question centrality of particular beliefs or practices to faith, or validity of particular litigants' interpretations of those creeds. U.S.C.A. Const.Amend. 1; M.C.L.A. Const. Art. 1, s 4.

[10] CONSTITUTIONAL LAW k84(2)
92k84(2)
Religious orthodoxy is not necessary to obtain protection of free exercise clause; religious belief and conduct need not be endorsed or mandated by religious organization to be protected, and, because popular religious beliefs are rarely threatened by elected legislators, free exercise clause's major benefactors are religious minorities or dissidents whose beliefs and worship are suppressed or shunned by majority. U.S.C.A. Const.Amend. 1; M.C.L.A. Const. Art. 1, s 4.
[11] CONSTITUTIONAL LAW k84.5(3)
92k84.5(3)
Requirement of state certified teacher for home education imposed "burden" on exercise of parents' religious freedom, for purpose of free exercise challenge to state compulsory education laws; parents believed that word of God commanded them to educate their children without state certification, and they were prosecuted criminally for not complying with requirement. M.C.L.A. s 388.553; U.S.C.A. Const.Amend. 1; M.C.L.A. Const. Art. 1, s 4. See publication Words and Phrases for other judicial constructions and definitions.
[12] CONSTITUTIONAL LAW k84.5(1)
92k84.5(1)
"Burden," for purpose of free exercise challenge to law, may be shown if affected individuals would be coerced by government's actions into violating their religious beliefs or governmental action would penalize religious activity by denying any person equal share of rights, benefits, and privileges enjoyed by other citizens. U.S.C.A. Const.Amend. 1; M.C.L.A. Const. Art. 1, s 4.

[13] CONSTITUTIONAL LAW k84.5(1)
92k84.5(1)
Party must prove that he has been enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened, or otherwise suffered, on account of religious opinions or beliefs, to establish violation of free exercise clause; burden on religious liberty, however, need not be overwhelming, because even subtle pressure diminishes right of each individual to choose voluntarily what to believe. U.S.C.A. Const.Amend. 1; M.C.L.A. Const. Art. 1, s 4.

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501 N.W.2d 127
PAGE 4
(Cite as: 442 Mich. 266, 501 N.W.2d 127)
[14] CONSTITUTIONAL LAW k84.5(3)
92k84.5(3)
Michigan's teacher certification requirement for home schooling under compulsory school attendance law violated free exercise clause of First Amendment, as applied to parents whose religious convictions prohibited use of certified instructors. M.C.L.A. s 388.553; U.S.C.A. Const.Amend. 1; M.C.L.A.

Const. Art. 1, s 4; Art. 8, s 1.

[14] SCHOOLS k160
345k160
Michigan's teacher certification requirement for home schooling under compulsory school attendance law violated free exercise clause of First Amendment, as applied to parents whose religious convictions prohibited use of certified instructors. M.C.L.A. s 388.553; U.S.C.A. Const.Amend. 1; M.C.L.A.

Const. Art. 1, s 4; Art. 8, s 1.

[15] CONSTITUTIONAL LAW k84.5(1)
92k84.5(1)
Strict scrutiny under First Amendment free exercise clause demands that state regulation be justified by compelling state interest and that means chosen be essential to further that interest. U.S.C.A. Const.Amend. 1.

[16] CONSTITUTIONAL LAW k84.5(1)
92k84.5(1)
Compelling state interest must be truly compelling, threatening safety or welfare of state in clear and present manner, for restriction to survive free exercise challenge under First Amendment. U.S.C.A. Const.Amend. 1.

[17] CONSTITUTIONAL LAW k84.5(3)
92k84.5(3)
Michigan's interest in compulsory education is not absolute and must yield to constitutional liberties protected by First Amendment. U.S.C.A. Const.Amend. 1.

[17] SCHOOLS k160
345k160
Michigan's interest in compulsory education is not absolute and must yield to constitutional liberties protected by First Amendment. U.S.C.A. Const.Amend. 1.

[18] CONSTITUTIONAL LAW k84.5(1)
92k84.5(1)
State faced with free exercise challenge restriction must establish that enforcing requirement, without exception, is essential to ensure purported interest; if less intrusive means fulfills purported interest, then exception must be granted and alternative implemented. U.S.C.A. Const.Amend. 1; M.C.L.A. Const. Art. 1, s 4.

[19] CONSTITUTIONAL LAW k82(1)
92k82(1)

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501 N.W.2d 127
PAGE 5
(Cite as: 442 Mich. 266, 501 N.W.2d 127)
Citizens need not propose alternative to be afforded constitutional liberties, including rights guaranteed by free exercise clause of First Amendment. U.S.C.A. Const.Amend. 1.

[19] CONSTITUTIONAL LAW k84(1)
92k84(1)
Citizens need not propose alternative to be afforded constitutional liberties, including rights guaranteed by free exercise clause of First Amendment. U.S.C.A. Const.Amend. 1.
**129 *268 Ronald J. Frantz, Pros. Atty. for plaintiff-appellee; by Gregory J. Babbitt, Asst. Pros. Atty.
Christopher J. Klicka, Michael P. Farris, Home School Legal Defense Assn., Paeonian Springs, VA, David A. Kallman, Kallman & Cropsey, Lansing, MI, for defendants/appellants.
Frank J. Kelley, Atty. Gen., Thomas L. Casey, Sol. Gen., Paul J. Zimmer, Asst.
Atty. Gen., for Amicus Michigan State Bd. of Educ. Mark Brewer, Detroit, MI, Paul Denenfeld, Legal Director, ACLU Fund of Michigan, of counsel, amicus curiae brief of ACLU Fund of Michigan in Support of Reversal on the First Amendment Issue in DeJonge.

OPINION


RILEY, Justice.
At issue is the constitutionality of M.C.L. s 388.553; M.S.A. s 15.1923, which requires parents who conduct home schooling for their children to provide instructors certified by the state. We hold that the teacher certification requirement is an unconstitutional violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment as applied to families whose religious convictions prohibit the use of certified instructors. Such families, therefore, are exempt from the dictates of the teacher certification requirement.

I
Defendants Mark and Chris DeJonge taught *269 their two school-age children at home in accordance with their religious faith. The DeJonges utilized a program administered by the Church of Christian Liberty and Academy of Arlington Heights, Illinois. Because the DeJonges taught their children at home without the aid of certified teachers, the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District charged them with violating the compulsory education law, as codified in the School Code, M.C.L. s 380.1561(1), (3); M.S.A. s 15.41561(1), (3). This act requires parents of children from the age of six to sixteen to send their children to public schools or to state-approved nonpublic schools. [FN1] To qualify as a state-approved nonpublic school, students must be **130 instructed *270 by certified teachers. M.C.L. s 388.553; M.S.A. s 15.1923. [FN2]

FN1. M.C.L. s 380.1561(1); M.S.A. s 15.41561(1) mandates: "Except as provided in subsections (2) and (3), every parent, guardian, or other person in this state having control and charge of a child from the age of 6 to the child's sixteenth birthday, shall send that child to the public schools during the entire school year. The child's attendance shall be continuous and consecutive for the school year fixed by the school
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501 N.W.2d 127 PAGE 6
(Cite as: 442 Mich. 266, *270, 501 N.W.2d 127, **130)
district in which the child is enrolled. In a school district which maintains school during the entire calendar year and in which the school year is divided into quarters, a child shall not be compelled to attend public school more than 3 quarters in 1 calendar year, but a child shall not be absent for 2 consecutive quarters." M.C.L. s 380.1561(3); M.S.A. s 15.41561(3), however, crafts an exception to the compulsory school attendance law for state-approved nonpublic schools: "A child shall not be required to attend the public schools in the following cases: "(a) A child who is attending regularly and is being taught in a state approved nonpublic school, which teaches subjects comparable to those taught in the public schools to children of corresponding age and grade, as determined by the course of study for the public schools of the district within which the nonpublic school is located."

FN2. A "state approved nonpublic school," as defined in the School Code, is a nonpublic school which complies with the private, denominational and parochial schools act. M.C.L. s 388.551-388.558; M.S.A. s 15.1921- 15.1928. The act requires that all nonpublic school students in the State of Michigan be taught by certified teachers only: "No person shall teach or give instruction in any of the regular or elementary grade studies in any private, denominational or parochial school within this state who does not hold a certificate such as would qualify him or her to teach in like grades of the public schools of the state...." M.C.L. s 388.553; M.S.A. s 15.1923.

At time of trial, the prosecution never questioned the adequacy of the DeJonges' instruction or the education the children received. Michael McHugh, an employee of the Church of Christian Liberty and Academy, testified that his organization provided the DeJonges with "testing, individualized curriculum, and monitoring of the home school." Unpublished opinion of the Court of Appeals, decided August 8, 1989 (Docket No. 106149), p 2. [FN3]

FN3. McHugh explained the broad range of curriculum subjects: "[A]ll students in our Academy systems ... have a complete course of study which [includes] an area of Bible Studies, phonics, reading and literature ... spelling and vocabulary and penmanship ... language or grammar studies, mathematic studies, science, history ... music, arts and crafts and physical education. And we also do place a heavy emphasis upon character development within the studies and relate that directly to the bible studies...."

McHugh testified further that this educational program, in use since 1968, had been employed by "many of thousands of youngsters who have attended and successfully graduated from major colleges and universities throughout the United States...." Indeed, with respect to the DeJonge children, the trial judge noted that he was "very impressed with the support that they have, the credentials of the witnesses that have testified and *271 the reports that apparently are very, very favorable report on the education of the children."
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501 N.W.2d 127 PAGE 7
(Cite as: 442 Mich. 266, *271, 501 N.W.2d 127, **130)
The DeJonges testified that they began teaching their children at home in August of 1984 because they wished to provide them a "Christ centered education." The DeJonges believe that "the major purpose of education is to show a student how to face God, not just show him how to face the world." [FN4]

FN4. Mark DeJonge testified that Michigan's requirement that all children be taught by certified teachers violates their religious beliefs because the family "believe[s] that scripture is the complete and inherit [sic] word of God. That it specifically teaches that parents are the ones that are responsible to God for the education of their children. And for us to allow the State to insert [sic] God's authority, for us to submit to that would be a sin." McHugh also testified that many of the courses required by the state "are based upon a false and pagan religion known as secularism or secular humanism."

That the DeJonges' opposition to the certification requirement was religiously motivated was beyond question. At the close of the proceedings, the trial judge concluded that he had no "question about the conviction or the sincerity of the DeJonges on this position," and that the teacher certification requirement conflicted with a "very, very honest and sincere religious conviction." Nevertheless, the DeJonges were convicted and sentenced to two years probation for instructing their children without state certified teachers. They were each fined $200, required to test their children for academic achievement, and ordered to arrange for certified instruction. The Ottawa Circuit Court affirmed their convictions, and the DeJonges appealed in the Court of Appeals, where their case was consolidated with People v. Bennett. [FN5] The Court affirmed both trial *272 court decisions, and reaffirmed their convictions on rehearing. 179 Mich.App. 225, 449 N.W.2d 899 (1989) (DeJonge II ).

FN5. The defendants in both the instant case and in People v. Bennett, 442 Mich. 316, 501 N.W.2d 106 (1993), maintained that the certification requirement infringed their Fourteenth Amendment right to direct the education of their children. We do not reach this issue in the instant case, but address the question in Bennett, supra.

In so ruling, the Court recognized that with respect to the DeJonges the "burden **131 of the state certification law on the belief is high, and there appears to be no room for compromise," DeJonge II, supra, 179 Mich.App. at 235, 449 N.W.2d 899. Nevertheless, the Court ruled that the certification requirement was constitutional as the least restrictive means to meet the state's interest. [FN6]

FN6. The DeJonges contend that adequate alternative means to the certification requirement exist that would meet the state's need to monitor the academic achievement of the children, while allowing the DeJonges to comply with their religious faith. The DeJonges specifically propose that their children be monitored by individualized standardized achievement testing, and note that such testing is the core requirement utilized in
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most other states. Indeed, the DeJonges note that the other forty-nine states in the Union use a variety of alternative means, including testing, standard core curricula, and minimum class hours or days, which serve those states' needs while protecting the religious freedom of its citizens. The Court of Appeals disagreed:
"[T]he state has a compelling interest which justifies the burden on the DeJonges' religious freedom imposed by teacher certification. Michigan has had an intense concern about the quality of the education of its citizens.... The teacher certification requirement is a backbone in the protection of this vital state interest." DeJonge II, supra, 179 Mich.App. at 236, 449 N.W.2d 899.

On October 17, 1990, this Court, in lieu of granting leave to appeal, remanded the case to the Court of Appeals for reconsideration in light of recent case precedent. [FN7] 436 Mich. 875, 461 N.W.2d 365 (1990).

FN7. Employment Div., Dep't of Human Resources v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872, 110 S.Ct. 1595, 108 L.Ed.2d 876 (1990), and Dep't of Social Services v. Emmanuel Baptist Preschool, 434 Mich. 380, 455 N.W.2d 1 (1990). In Smith, the Court created a new standard of review for most cases involving the Free Exercise of Religion Clause. In Emmanuel Baptist Preschool, the Court held that the state may not enforce the accreditation aspects of the program director qualifications rule regarding preschools and day care centers, since to do so would violate the free exercise of religious beliefs.

Following remand, the Court of Appeals again *273 affirmed the defendants' convictions. 188 Mich.App. 447, 470 N.W.2d 433 (1991) (DeJonge III ). The Court reiterated its prior findings, and added that "since Mr. DeJonge opposes all state involvement in the education of his children, this alternative [individual examinations] would impose just as great a burden on his religious beliefs. Accordingly, we reaffirm the DeJonges' convictions." Id. at 452, 470 N.W.2d 433. On appeal before this Court, the DeJonges contend that the certification requirement violates their First Amendment right of free exercise of religion, and submit that the Court of Appeals misapplied the compelling interest test by not requiring the state to establish that the certification requirement is essential to and the least restrictive means of achieving a compelling state interest.

II
[1] At issue then is whether Michigan's teacher certification requirement for home schools violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution as applied to the State of Michigan by the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. [FN8] The Free Exercise Clause proclaims: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...." [FN9]

FN8. Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution applies the First Amendment to the individual states. Everson v. Bd. of Ed., 330 U.S. 1, 15, 67 S.Ct. 504, 511, 91 L.Ed. 711
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(1947).


FN9. The Michigan Constitution is at least as protective of religious liberty as the United States Constitution. Article 1, s 4 of the Michigan Constitution declares:
"Every person shall be at liberty to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience. No person shall be compelled to attend, or, against his consent, to contribute to the erection or support of any place of religious worship, or to pay tithes, taxes or other rates for the support of any minister of the gospel or teacher of religion. No money shall be appropriated or drawn from the treasury for the benefit of any religious sect or society, theological or religious seminary; nor shall property belonging to the state be appropriated for any such purpose. The civil and political rights, privileges and capacities of no person shall be diminished or enlarged on account of his religious belief."

**132 [2] *274 Thus, we begin our analysis by considering the historical underpinnings of the First Amendment. This Court has long held that the constitution must be interpreted in light of the original intent and understanding of its drafters. [FN10] The framers' intent must be understood in conjunction with the intentions and understanding of the constitution held by its ratifiers:

FN10. Committee for Constitutional Reform v. Secretary of State, 425 Mich. 336, 342, 389 N.W.2d 430 (1986).

"The intent of the framers, however, must be used as part of the primary rule of 'common understanding' described by Justice Cooley: " 'A constitution is made for the people and by the people. The interpretation that should be given it is that which reasonable minds, the great mass of the people themselves, would give it.' " [FN11]

FN11. Id. at 342, 389 N.W.2d 430, quoting Traverse City School Dist. v. Attorney General, 384 Mich. 390, 405, 185 N.W.2d 9 (1971), quoting Cooley, Const Lim (6th ed), p. 81.

[3] A necessary corollary of these principles is that the constitution can only properly be understood by studying its common meaning as well as " 'the circumstances surrounding the adoption of a constitutional provision and the purpose sought to be accomplished....' " [FN12]

FN12. Id. 425 Mich. at 340, 389 N.W.2d 430. See also Kearney v. Bd. of State Auditors, 189 Mich. 666, 673, 155 N.W. 510 (1915).

[4][5] These rules of constitutional construction are indispensable because "[t]he literal construction of the words, without regard to their obvious purpose *275 of protection, is to make the constitutional safeguard no more than a shabby hoax, a barrier of words, easily destroyed by other words.... A constitutional limitation must be construed to effectuate, not to abolish, the protection sought by it to be afforded." Lockwood v. Comm'r of Revenue, 357
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Mich. 517, 556-557, 98 N.W.2d 753 (1959). [FN13] Hence, a thorough examination of the historical origins of the Free Exercise Clause is essential to the proper disposition of the case at issue, and more important, to the preservation of religious freedom. [FN14]

FN13. Contrary to the assertions of the dissent, such constitutional construction does not impose "doctrine" in lieu of "legal analysis." Indeed, adherence to original intent is crucial to ensure that courts do not "substitute their own pleasure to the constitutional intentions of" the people. Hamilton, The Federalist Papers, No 78, ed Kramnick (England: 1987 [originally published in 1788] ), p 440. FN14. "To determine the meaning of the religion clauses, it is necessary to see them through the eyes of their proponents...." McConnell, The origins and historical understanding of free exercise of religion, 103 Harv L R 1409, 1437 (1990). Indeed, "[n]o provision of the Constitution is more closely tied to or given content by its generating history than the religious clause of the First Amendment." Everson, n 8 supra at 33 (Rutledge, J., dissenting).

This American experiment [FN15] includes an unprecedented protection of religious liberty from tyrannical government action. Springing forth from this nation's founding principle that government is "instituted for [the] protection of the rights of mankind," [FN16] the Free Exercise of Religion Clause ensured protection from government interference as the first freedom in the Bill of Rights. [FN17]

FN15. Referred to by the Founding Fathers as novus ordo seclorum, a new order for the ages.

FN16. Gouverneur Morris, quoted in 2 Records of the Federal Convention of 1787 (Farrand rev ed, 1966), p 222.

FN17. The Founding Fathers proclaimed that "extending to its citizens all the blessings of civil & religious liberty" is the "great end" and the "object of our government...." Charles Pickney, quoted in 4 Records of the Federal Convention of 1787 (Farrand rev ed, 1966), pp 28-29.

The prominence of religious liberty's protection *276 in the Bill of Rights is no historical anomaly, but the consequence of America's vigorous clashes regarding religious freedom. The First Amendment's protection of religious liberty was born from the fires of persecution, forged by the minds of the Founding Fathers, and tempered in the struggle for freedom in America. [FN18]

FN18. For an exhaustive examination of prerevolutionary religious persecution, as well as the development of religious freedom in the colonies, see McConnell, n 14 supra at 1421-1430.

**133 As our history forcefully attests, the Founding Fathers envisioned the protection of the free exercise of religion as an affirmative duty of the
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government mandated by the inherent nature of religious liberty, not one of mere "toleration" by government. [FN19] Most significant in this history was *277 the dramatic confrontation regarding the proposed renewal of Virginia's tax levy for the support of the established church. [FN20] This embroilment bore James Madison's Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, [FN21] delivered in the Virginia House of Burgess in opposition to the levy, as well as Thomas Jefferson's Virginia Bill of Religious Liberty, enacted in the levy's stead. [FN22] Madison's Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments explained as "a fundamental and undeniable truth" [FN23] that religious liberty is a deeply private, fundamental, and inalienable right by which a citizen's religious beliefs and practices are shielded from the hostile intolerance of society, [FN24] while Jefferson's Virginia Bill for Religious *278 Liberty protected the right of the free exercise of religion, as well as barred state established churches. The Founders understood that this zealous protection **134 of religious liberty was essential to the "preservation of a free government." [FN25]

FN19. Jefferson explained that religious liberty is a fundamental freedom outside the legitimate sphere of government power unless threatening to harm another. Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, quoted in Padover, The Complete Jefferson (New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce, Inc, 1943), p 675. Madison echoed Jefferson by agreeing that religious liberty is immune "from civil jurisdiction, in every case where it does not trespass on private rights or the public peace." Madison, letter to Edward Livingston (July 10, 1822), quoted in Alley, ed, James Madison on Religious Liberty (New York: Prometheus Books, 1985), p 82. Indeed, this understanding of religious freedom was dominant in the state governments that ratified the Bill of Rights: "The Free Exercise Clause was patterned after the various free exercise and freedom of conscience provisions in then-existing state constitutions. At the time of the ratification of the Bill of Rights, twelve of the thirteen states had such provisions. Of those twelve, nine either explicitly or implicitly expressed the following belief: The free exercise of religion is protected unless it endangers the public's peace and safety.... This formulation was a precursor to the compelling-interest test and implies that the free exercise of religion was understood to include an exemption from generally applicable laws." McConnell, Should Congress pass legislation restoring the broader interpretation of free exercise of religion?, 15 Harv J of L & Pub Pol 181, 185-186 (1992). "Article LVI of Georgia's 1777 Constitution is typical: 'All persons whatever shall have the free exercise of their religion; provided it be not repugnant to the peace and safety of the State.' " Id. at 186, n 18. For a survey of all thirteen constitutions, see McConnell, n 14 supra at 1456-1458.

FN20. For an extensive discussion of the Virginia struggle for religious liberty, see Everson, n 8 supra at 34-39 (Rutledge, J., dissenting).

FN21. See Everson, n 8 supra, appendix at 63-73.

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FN22. Madison's Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments and Jefferson's Bill for Religious Liberty are well recognized in constitutional law as invaluable interpretative tools essential to achieving the necessary insight to understand the protections afforded by the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. See, e.g., Committee for Public Ed. & Religious Liberty v. Nyquist, 413 U.S. 756, 760, 93 S.Ct. 2955, 2959, 37 L.Ed.2d 948 (1973); Abington Twp. School Dist. v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203, 214, 83 S.Ct. 1560, 1567, 10 L.Ed.2d 844 (1963); Everson, n 8 supra at 13. Madison, of course, was the principal draftsman of the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment, as well as the floor leader in the House of Representatives in support of the Bill of Rights, and "[t]here is little doubt that the sentiments expressed in the final wording [of the Free Exercise Clause] conformed to Madison's basic principles." Alley, n 19 supra at 213.

FN23. Madison, Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, quoted in Everson, n 8 supra, appendix at 64.

FN24. Thomas Jefferson expressed a similar understanding of the nature of religious liberty: "The magistrate has no power but what the people gave. The people have not given him the care of souls because they could not, because no man has right to abandon the care of his salvation to another. No man has power to let another prescribe his faith." Jefferson, Notes on Religion, October 1776?, quoted in The Complete Jefferson, n 19 supra at 944. (Emphasis in original.) These views were representative of the Founding Fathers. See Howe, The Garden and the Wilderness: Religion and Government in American Constitutional History (Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 1965) pp 17-18.

FN25. Madison, Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, quoted in Everson, n 8 supra, appendix at 65.

The Founding Fathers then reserved special protection for religious liberty as a fundamental freedom in the First Amendment of the constitution. This fortification of the right to the free exercise of religion was heralded as one of the Bill of Rights' most important achievements. Indeed, Jefferson proclaimed that "[n]o provision in our constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority." [FN26]

FN26. Jefferson, Reply to Address to the Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church at New London, Connecticut, February 4, 1809, quoted in The Complete Jefferson, n 19 supra at 544. See also Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. ----, ----, 112 S.Ct. 2649, 2656, 120 L.Ed.2d 467 (1992) ("[t]he First Amendment's Religion Clauses mean that religious belief and religious expression are too precious to be either proscribed or prescribed by the State"); Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398, 413, 83 S.Ct. 1790, 1799, 10 L.Ed.2d 965 (1963) (Stewart, J., concurring) ("no liberty is more essential
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to the continued vitality of the free society which our Constitution guarantees than is the religious liberty protected by the Free Exercise Clause explicit in the First Amendment and imbedded in the Fourteenth"); Everson, n 8 supra at 34 (Rutledge, J., dissenting) ("[f]or Madison, as also for Jefferson, religious freedom was the crux of the struggle for freedom in general"); Howe, n 24 supra at 160, 164-165 ("the framers assumed that the realm of religious interests and religious convictions occupied a special constitutional status;" it is a "historically undeniable fact that religious interests seemed to the framers to deserve special safeguarding"); Tribe, American Constitutional Law (2d ed), s 14- 7, p 1189 ("[t]he Framers ... clearly envisioned religion as something special; they enacted that vision into law by guaranteeing the free exercise of religion but not, say, of philosophy or science"). Hence, this Court has "no loftier duty or responsibility than to uphold that spiritual freedom to its farthest reaches." West Virginia Bd. of Ed. v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624, 645, 63 S.Ct. 1178, 1188, 87 L.Ed. 1628 (1943) (Murphy, J., concurring).

*279 III
[6] In Employment Div., Dep't of Human Resources v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872, 881, 110 S.Ct. 1595, 1601, 108 L.Ed.2d 876 (1990), the Court ruled that the "Free Exercise Clause in conjunction with other constitutional protections, such as ... the right of parents, acknowledged in Pierce [v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 45 S.Ct. 571, 69 L.Ed. 1070 (1925) ], to direct the education of their children, see Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 [92 S.Ct. 1526, 32 L.Ed.2d 15] (1972)," demands the application of strict scrutiny. [FN27] Hence, Michigan's teacher certification requirement *280 must **135 undergo strict scrutiny to survive a free exercise challenge. [FN28]

FN27. We are not unaware of the criticism generated in reaction to Smith, which held that the First Amendment does not bar the "application of a neutral, generally applicable law to religiously motivated" conduct unless the Free Exercise Clause is in "conjunction with other constitutional protections...." Smith, supra, 494 U.S. at 881, 110 S.Ct. at 1601. See, e.g., Smith, The rise and fall of religious freedom in constitutional discourse, 140 U Penn L R 149, 231, 232, 233 (1991) (referring to Smith, supra, as "the virtual abandonment of the Free Exercise Clause," "reach[ing] a low point in modern constitutional protection under the Free Exercise Clause," "leav[ing] the Free Exercise Clause without independent constitutional content and thus, for practical purposes, largely meaningless"); McConnell, Religious freedom at a crossroads, 59 U Chicago L R 115, 140 (1992) ("Smith converts a constitutionally explicit liberty into a nondiscrimination requirement, in violation of the most straightforward interpretation of the First Amendment text"); Laycock, Summary and synthesis: The crisis in religious liberty, 60 Geo Wash L R 841 (1992) (summarizing a symposium of ten articles and finding that "[n]o one in this symposium takes seriously the possibility that Employment Div. v. Smith might be defensible"). Nevertheless, this Court must follow the interpretation of the Free Exercise Clause in the prevailing opinions of the United States Supreme Court, "even though we may COPR. (C) WEST 1993 NO CLAIM TO ORIG. U.S. GOVT. WORKS

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be in accord with the dissenting opinions in those cases." People v. Lechner, 307 Mich. 358, 360-361, 11 N.W.2d 918 (1943). On the other hand, we may certainly interpret the Michigan Constitution as affording additional protection to the free exercise of religion. However, because the ruling of Smith, supra, 494 U.S. at 881, 110 S.Ct. at 1601, commands that strict scrutiny be applied in the case at issue, we do not undertake to determine at this time the extent of the Michigan Constitution's protection of the free exercise of religion generally. We do hold, however, that the Michigan Constitution mandates that strict scrutiny as articulated in this opinion be applied in the instant case. Alexander v. Bartlett, 14 Mich.App. 177, 181, 165 N.W.2d 445 (1968) (art 1, s 4 of the Michigan Constitution " 'guarantees to every person the liberty to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience' ").

FN28. Although "[t]he Free Exercise Clause categorically prohibits government from regulating, prohibiting, or rewarding religious beliefs as such," McDaniel v. Paty, 435 U.S. 618, 626, 98 S.Ct. 1322, 1327, 55 L.Ed.2d 593 (1978), the case at issue involves more than government interference with mere belief; hence, the balancing approach of the compelling interest test must be utilized.

[7] This strict scrutiny is manifested in the "compelling interest" test, which is composed of five elements:
(1) whether a defendant's belief, or conduct motivated by belief, is sincerely held;
(2) whether a defendant's belief, or conduct motivated by belief, is religious in nature;
(3) whether a state regulation imposes a burden on the exercise of such belief or conduct;
(4) whether a compelling state interest justifies the burden imposed upon a defendant's belief or conduct;
(5) whether there is a less obtrusive form of regulation available to the state. Yoder, supra, 406 U.S. at 214-230, 92 S.Ct. at 1532-40; Dep't of Social Services v. Emmanuel Baptist Preschool, 434 Mich. 380, 391-396, 455 N.W.2d 1 (1990) (Cavanagh, J., concurring), at 430, 455 N.W.2d 1 (Griffin, J., concurring). [FN29]

FN29. In Emmanuel Baptist Preschool, supra, Justice Cavanagh, writing separately, joined Justice Griffin's concurring opinion, "to form a majority on the issue of the Free Exercise Clause standard of review" in accordance with Justice Riley's opinion in Sheridan Rd. Baptist Church v. Dep't of Ed., 426 Mich. 462, 574-578, 396 N.W.2d 373 (1986). Emmanuel Baptist Preschool, supra, 434 Mich. at 390, 455 N.W.2d 1 (Cavanagh, J., concurring).

A
The first element of the compelling interest test *281 is met by the DeJonges because their belief is sincerely held. "[W]hile the 'truth' of a belief is not open to question, there remains the significant question whether it is 'truly held.' This is the threshold question of sincerity which must be COPR. (C) WEST 1993 NO CLAIM TO ORIG. U.S. GOVT. WORKS

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(Cite as: 442 Mich. 266, *281, 501 N.W.2d 127, **135) resolved in every case. It is, of course, a question of fact...." United States v. Seeger, 380 U.S. 163, 185, 85 S.Ct. 850, 863, 13 L.Ed.2d 733 (1965). As noted, after extensive trial testimony, the trial judge concluded that "[t]he Court does not have any question about the conviction or the sincerity of the DeJonges on this position." Furthermore, the state does not contest the sincerity of the DeJonges' beliefs.

B
[8] Similarly, because the DeJonges' belief is religiously based, the second element of the compelling interest test is met. To be afforded the protection of the Free Exercise Clause, an individual's behavior must be religiously motivated, as the Court in Yoder, supra, 406 U.S. at 215-216, 92 S.Ct. at 1533, explained: "A way of life, however virtuous and admirable, may not be interposed as a barrier to reasonable state regulation of education if it is based on purely secular considerations; to have the protection of the Religion Clauses, the claims must be rooted in religious belief.... Thus, if the Amish asserted their claims because of their subjective evaluation and rejection of the contemporary secular values accepted by the majority, much as Thoreau rejected the social values of his time and isolated himself at Walden Pond, their claims would not rest on a religious basis. Thoreau's choice was philosophical and personal rather than *282 religious, and such belief does not rise to the demands of the Religion Clauses." [FN30]

FN30. See also Emmanuel Baptist Preschool, supra, 434 Mich. at 391-392, 455 N.W.2d 1 (Cavanagh, J., concurring).

[9] Thus, this Court must determine whether a religious belief is sincerely held, not whether such beliefs are true or reasonable. United States v. Ballard, 322 U.S. 78, 86, 64 S.Ct. 882, 886, 88 L.Ed. 1148 (1944). This Court must accept a worshiper's good-faith characterization that its activity is grounded in religious belief because "[i]t is not within the judicial ken to question the centrality of particular beliefs or practices to a faith, or the validity of **136 particular litigants' interpretations of those creeds." Hernandez v. Comm'r of Internal Revenue, 490 U.S. 680, 699, 109 S.Ct. 2136, 2149, 104 L.Ed.2d 766 (1989). [FN31] This must be so because "[m]en may believe what they cannot prove. They may not be put to the proof of their religious doctrines or beliefs. Religious experiences which are as real as life to some may be incomprehensible to others." Ballard, supra, 322 U.S. at 86, 64 S.Ct. at 886.

FN31. See also Smith, supra, 494 U.S. at 887, 110 S.Ct. at 1604; Emmanuel Baptist Preschool, supra, 434 Mich. at 392, 455 N.W.2d 1 (Cavanagh, J., concurring).

[10] Nor is religious orthodoxy necessary to obtain the protection of the Free Exercise Clause. Religious belief and conduct need not be endorsed or mandated by a religious organization to be protected. Emmanuel Baptist Preschool, supra, 434 Mich. at 392, 455 N.W.2d 1 (Cavanagh, J., concurring). Indeed, because popular religious beliefs are rarely threatened by elected legislators, the Free Exercise Clause's major benefactors are religious COPR. (C) WEST 1993 NO CLAIM TO ORIG. U.S. GOVT. WORKS

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(Cite as: 442 Mich. 266, *282, 501 N.W.2d 127, **136) minorities or dissidents whose beliefs and worship are suppressed or shunned by the majority. To hold otherwise would be to deny that "Religion ... must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man...." [FN32]

FN32. Madison, Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, quoting Virginia Declaration of Rights, Article 16, quoted in Everson, n 8 supra, appendix at 64.

*283 The DeJonges testified that they taught their children at home without complying with the certification requirement because they wished to provide for their children a "Christ-centered education." Because the DeJonges' faith professes "that parents are the ones that are responsible to God for the education of their children," they passionately believe that utilizing a state- certified teacher is sinful. Their faith, although unusual, may not be challenged or ignored. [FN33]

FN33. We note again that the state does not contest the religious motivation of the DeJonges' beliefs.

C [11][12][13] The third element of the test is also met because the certification requirement clearly imposes a burden on the exercise of the DeJonges' religious freedom. A burden may be shown if the "affected individuals [would] be coerced by the Government's action into violating their religious beliefs [or whether] governmental action [would] penalize religious activity by denying any person an equal share of the rights, benefits, and privileges enjoyed by other citizens." Lyng v. Northwest Indian Cemetery Protective Ass'n, 485 U.S. 439, 449, 108 S.Ct. 1319, 1325, 99 L.Ed.2d 534 (1988). Hence, "[a] claimed burden on religious beliefs may be deemed constitutionally in significant, but only (1) if the claimant's beliefs do not create an irreconcilable conflict between the mandates of law and religious duty, or (2) if the legal requirement does not directly coerce the claimant to act contrary to religious belief...." Emmanuel Baptist Preschool, supra, 434 Mich. at 393, 455 N.W.2d 1 (Cavanagh, J., concurring). Put simply, the petitioner must prove that he has been "enforced, *284 restrained, molested, or burdened ... [or] otherwise suffer[ed], on account of his religious opinions or beliefs...." [FN34] The burden on religious liberty, however, need not be overwhelming, because "[e]ven subtle pressure diminishes the right of each individual to choose voluntarily what to believe." Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. ----, ----, 112 S.Ct. 2649, 2665, 120 L.Ed.2d 467 (1992) (Blackmun, J., concurring). [FN35]

FN34. A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom, quoted in The Complete Jefferson, n 19 supra at 947.

FN35. Indeed, as one of the few comment





Message 6

Subject: Re: The Four Pillars-Questions
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1993 18:50:23 -0400
From: doris (Doris Hohensee)
Reply-To: home-ed-politics@mainstream.com



The Christian Home Educators of New Hampshire (CHENH) require the following "Statement of Faith" in order to become a member of their HSLDA-affiliated group:

"We affirm:

1) the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative, inerrant Word of God (II Timothy 3:15, II Peter 1:21).

2) there is one God, eternally existent in three persons - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:1, Matthew 28:19, John 10:30).

3) the deity of Christ (John 10:33); His virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23, Luke 1:35); His sinless life (Hebrews 7:26); His miracles (John 2:11); His vicarious and atoning death (I Corinthians 15:3, Ephesians 1:7, Hebrews 2:9); His resurrection (John 11:25, I Corinthians 15:4); His ascension to the right hand of the Father (Mark 16:19); His personal return in power and glory (Acts 1:11, Revelation 19:11).

4) the absolute necessity of regeneration by the Holy Spirit for salvation because of the exceeding sinfulness of human nature; and that men are justified on the single ground of faith in the shed blood of Christ and that only by God's grace and through faith alone we are saved (John 3:16, John 5:24, Romans 3:23, Romans 5:8-9, Ephesians 2:8-10, Titus 3:5).

5) the resurrection of the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrrection of damnation (John 5:28-29).

6) the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 8:9, I Corinthians 12:12-13, Galatians 3:26-28).

7) the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life (Romans 8:13-14, I Corinthians 3:16, 6:19-20, Ephesians 4:30, 5:18).

8) that children are a gift of the Lord and are entrusted to parents, who are accountable to God to provide them with godly training and discipline (Deuteronomy 6:1-9, Psalms 127:3, Ephesians 6:4).

I personally attended several local support groups meetings of CHENH in two different areas of New Hampshire. Neither their "statement of faith" nor their by-laws were ever discussed at these meetings.

It appeared to me that CHENH was a top-down organization. The leaders sent bulletins, including HSLDA material, and travelled throughout the state to instruct the local support groups.

When I asked to attend a state level meeting of CHENH, in order to discuss impending home education legislation with CHENH leaders, I was told that I could not attend their meeting.



The following are taken directly from a HSLDA application form:



Membership Application

Our purpose is to provide quality. low-cost legal defense for families who choose to exercise their God-given and constitutional right to teach their children at home. The information provided in this application will be used only to evaluate your home school for ACCEPTANCE [editor's emphasis] and to aid us in defending your home school should the need arise. We will treat this information as absolutely confidential.

Instructions

Answer EVERY question and do so as completely as possible....

PARENT INFORMATION

1. EDUCATION. Place the *number* in the blank that indicates the hightest grade level finished by each parent.

ELEMENTARY HIGH SCHOOL COLLEGE GRADUATE SCHOOL
12345678 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

___Mother ___Father ____Other (please explain)

2. DEGREES. Indicate the highest *degree* earned by each person. Do so by placing the appropriate *letter* in the blank.

___Mother A. No Degree B. GED C. High School Diploma
___Father D. Associates Degree E. Bachelors F. Masters
___Other G. Doctorate NA. Not Applicable


If a college degree has been received, please specify who earned it and his/her major field of study._____

3. EMPLOYMENT SCHEDULE. For each person involved in teaching in your home school, provide inforation about his/her place, hours, and days of employment in the space below. (This includes those self-employed for profit within their own homes.)

Place of Employment: (Check box) In the space below indicate the hours of the day worked: (e.g. 9-5)

Not In Out of
Employed Home Home M T W Th F Sat. Sun.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mother | | | | Mother | | | | | | | |
Father | | | | Father | | | | | | | |
Other | | | | Other | | | | | | | |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------


4. INSTRUCTOR. Please indicate below the % of instruction done by each person in a *typical* week of home schooling. (Must add up to 100%)

___Mother ___Father ___Other (please explain)

NOTE: Parents themselves must do *at least* 50% of the home schooling in order to be ELIGIBILE [Editor's emphasis] for membership.

STUDENT INFORMATION

5. SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN. List all school-age children in your home. indicate which ones are being (or will be) home schooled during the current school year, and specify the current grade level of achievement for each. Then provide background information on each child by indicating the years each has been home schooled (if any), the name of the school each child last attended (if any), the years he or she attended the school, and whether that school was public (PB) or private (PV).



*If applying in summer, indicate the grade level of the following year.

If you eventually plan to home school any of the children attending public or private school, please indicate whom and when.

6. PARENT/CHILD RELATIONSHIP. Are any of the children being home schooled the offspring of parents who are divorced? Y or N If YES, please furnish us with a copy of the divorce or custody decree. (Unless a specific provision limits or prohibits home schooling, divorce will not affect ACCEPTANCE [editor's emphasis].)

7. HOME SCHOOL STUDENTS. Are there any students in your home school who are NOT members of your immediate family?
If YES, list their names and relationship to your family. On a separate sheet of paper, explain the reason why each student listed attends your home school.

NOTE: Normally, HSLDA extends its membership services *only to children who are members of your immediate family.*

HOME SCHOOL INFORMATION

8. STARTING DATE. Please CHECK which of these statements is true of your home school starting date for the current school year and fill in the blank with the appropriate date.

We began home schooling on this date: ____
We plan to begin home schooling on this date: ____

9. PRIVATE SCHOOLS. Are your enrolled in a home schooling program offered by a local private school? (This information is particularly important for residents of Alabama and California.)

If YES, please give its full name, address, and phone number.

10. CURRICULUM TYPE. Do you use a complete curriculum package from a correspondence course?
If YES, give its name: ____
If NO, please list below the subjects covered and books used for each student.

NOTE: HSLDA does not promote any particular curriculum, nor do we recommend one type (i.e. parent-planned or package) over the other. Choose what is best for your family.

11. SPECIAL NEEDS. Are you home schooling any children who have special learning needs? HSLDA believes that parents have the right to home school children with special needs and we are committed to helping these families. In order for us to adequately defend this right we need families to inform us of their situation. If YES, please provide all of the following information on a separate piece of paper:
a. Which child has the disability, what is the disability, who diagnosed it and when?
b. What is the difference between his/her level of achievement and the level expected at his/her age?
c. What public programs are you utilizing to help you meet this child's needs? *If you have an Individual Education Program (IEP) or similar commitment, please provide information explaining this arrangement.*
d. What private help are you currently receiving for this child, if any?
e. How do you plan to accommodate the special needs of your child? *If you have a child with special learning needs, we will send you a copy of our "Special Needs Policy" explaining what you can do to assist us in defending your home school.*

12. GROUPS. Do you belong to an organization that has a group program with HSLDA?
If YES, please give the full name and address.________ NOTE: We send group program administrators periodic reports (that include your name, membership number and date) confirming HSLDA membership for their group members.

13. CURRICULUM STATUS. Please CHECK the statement that *best* describes the status of your curriculum, and supply the requested information in the appropriate blanks. a. We have received all of our curriculum.
b. Our curriculum is on order. We expect it to arrive on (date) ___
c. We have received approximately __% of our curriculum. We have yet to receive (what materials?) ________but we expect to receive these materials by ____.
d. We have *not* yet ordered our curriculum. We plan to order it on _____ and receive it on ______
e. We have not yet received our curriculum, but plan to begin home schooling prior to its arrival by using the following materials:______ Our ordered materials should arrive on ______
f. Other (please explain): ______

NOTE: We cannot approve your application unless you have received your curriculum. (During the months when your local school district is not in session we will waive this requirement as long as you indicate that you will receive your curriculum prior to the commencement of the traditional school year.)

14. TIME AND DURATION. Please give the following information on how you plan to operate your home school: Hours of the day during which your children will be intructed? (e.g. 8:00 am to Noon) Number of months per year you plan home school.

NOTE: Although the number of hours may vary greatly, we recommend that formal instruction take place some time during typical school hours.

15. Briefly explain your reasons for home schooling. ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

16. DAYCARE. Do you operate a day care center in your home? If YES, please explain on a separate sheet of paper the number of children involved, the hours you have them, and how you plan to operate your home school around your day care responsibilities.

LEGAL INFORMATION

17. CONTACT. Have *you contacted OR have you been contacted by* any local school district, social worker, or any other government official concerning either your children or your home school?
If YES, on a separate piece of paper explain what contact has been made, by whom, and when.
If NO, but you plan to inform then concerning your home school, HSLDA recommends that you *do not* contact them or transfer records from them *until* you receive your acceptance letter and instruction sheet from us. *However,* if your state has a filing deadline to meet, *do not* miss this deadline while waiting for HSLDA to approve your application.

NOTE: IT IS ALWAYS BEST TO APPLY TO HSLDA WELL IN ADVANCE OF A STATUTORY DEADLINE.

18. Has any legal action been threatened or brought against your home school or anyone associated with it concerning its operation? If YES, describe in detail the nature of the threat or legal action on a separate sheet of paper and attach copies of all correspondence, legal pleadings, etc.

19. Have you ever been investigated for or charged with child abuse or neglect or any other related charges? If YES, please explain fully on a separate sheet of paper and include copies of any court documents.

20. Have you ever been a member of HSLDA or applied for membership? If YES, when?_____

MEMBERSHIP AGREEMENT

HSLDA Members

We agree to do the following during the full duration of our membership in the Association:

1. Exercise diligence in teaching our childdren in a responsible way.

2. Use an organized curriculum and a clearly recognizable program of education to instruct our children.

3. Keep minimal records of each child's educational progress.

4. Notify the Association promptly of any threatened or actual legal papers received by us related to our home school.

5. Cooperate fully in the defense of any legal action (threatened or otherwise) which may be brought against our home school and to provide any and all information and assistance to the legal counsel who are appointed by the Association to defend us.



IF your membership was ACCEPTED by HSLDA, the following benefits of membership would be yours, according to HSLDA:

"Quality Legal Representation"

"Court Report Subscription" published six times a year "focusing on legal news and other matters of councern to home schoolers."

"Satisfaction of Helping Others"

"National Center For Home Education" is "designed to assist state home schooling organizations and their leaders by providing services that are difficult for many organizations to provide for themselves: a network for cooperation and communication between state-wide organizations; a source of information on state and federal legislation, noting proposed bills which would impact the home schooling community; and a presence in both the state and federal capitals, promoting legislation favorable to home schoolers. Armed with these resources, state organizaitons are better able to assist home schooling families in their own states."



HSLDA's view of home schooling is uniform and rigid. They require a very structured educational program, i.e. a curriculum. They endorse testing as a valid tool in their legislative efforts and offer a service to provide annual testing for your child. (Actually, they have nearly cornered the market on testing as many nationally recognized standardized testing outfits will no longer send tests individually to families, only HSLDA. But that is another lengthy story.)

Families who choose to "unschool" their children do not fit the HSLDA profile. They do not qualify for protection from HSLDA. Nor can they comply with HSLDA-approved laws.

Some parents do not use curriculums, an institutionally designed tool in their private homes. They teach their children individually, one-on-one, not in groups of twenty or thirty, where a curriculum may be useful.

Some parents do not endorse testing as a valid or useful measurement tool. For some parents testing is seen as invasive and damaging to the learning process. They do not need testing, as they always know the child they are teaching, unlike a teacher in a larger setting. They feel that testing interferes with learning.

In New Hampshire, the former president of CHENH, the HSLDA affiliate, spoke at a public hearing before the state legislature stating that some home educators do not do a good job home educating their children. He was referring to unschoolers. He was criticizing fellow home educators before the state legislature. He was also trying to indicate why the state needed to keep the existing HSLDA-approved law from any changes that might have helped the unschooling population.

I ask you how can these two home schooling groups, HSLDA-approved home educators and unschoolers, peacefully co-exist? It is more than a minor disagreement of educational philosophies. It is totally unacceptable for HSLDA and its affiliated groups to force conformity, thereby undermining unschoolers. Unschoolers want broader laws with more latitude for individualized education. That would not undermine HSLDA-approved home educators, but it might undermine the urgent necessity for HSLDA.




Message 7

Subject: Re: The Four Pillars-Questions
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1993 22:38:16 -0400
From: David L. Hanson
Reply-To: home-ed-politics@mainstream.com



Mrs. Hohensee,

Your write that CHENH is an HSDLA-affiliated group. In what way are they "affiliated"?

Also personally, I completely agree with CHENH's statement of faith and we would not be part of a Home School organization that did not have a statement of faith that same or very similar to these. These are the fundamentals of the Christian faith.

David L. Hanson
Naperville,IL

(You do know that I have some sympathy with the unschoolers but for different reasons.) [for the unschoolers]




Message 8

Subject: Re: RE: The Four Pillars-Questions
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1993 13:17:49 -0400
From: Chris Coats
Reply-To: home-ed-politics@mainstream.com



Pardon my ignorance, but what exactly is "unschooling"? (which I presume is what "unschoolers" are about...)

Thanks. - Chris

Chris Coats < coats@uthscsa.edu






Message 9

Subject: Re: The Four Pillars-Questions
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1993 15:41:02 -0400
From: doris (Doris Hohensee)
Reply-To: home-ed-politics@mainstream.com



1) CHENH is an HSDLA-affiliated group. In what way are they "affiliated"?

* The Teaching Home publishes CHENH's newsletter to N.H. home educators as an insert to parent organization's magazine. (Only one state-wide group in each state has such an affiliation.)

* CHENH relies heavily on the counsel and bulletins from HSLDA. For all practical purposes, CHENH is a satellite of the parent organization, HSLDA.

2) "Also personally, I completely agree with CHENH's statement of faith and we would not be part of a Home School organization that did not have a statement of faith that same or very similar to these. These are the fundamentals of the Christian faith."

I am not trying to discriminate "against" or "for" any particular beliefs. My problem is that CHENH purports to represent ALL Christians when addressing the legislature when, in fact, some Christians have a problem with their "statement of faith." Thus, CHENH misrepresents itself. It is actually a very exclusive Christian organization.

Although their remarks have never been made with regard to my beliefs, I find CHENH offensive and discriminatory when I listen to CHENH members call certain other Christian religions: "cults."

3) What sympathy do you have for "unschooling" families?

Doris Hohensee




Message 10

Subject: Re: The Four Pillars-Questions
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1993 16:04:31 -0400
From: "Greg Wolff, 297-6421, S&M IM&T 14-Oct-1993 1546"
Reply-To: home-ed-politics@mainstream.com



I've just joined this list, so I don't know what went before, but this post contains a clear mis-representation that I'd like to address.

First, I live in MA and am not a member of CHENH.

The post in question says:

> 1) CHENH is an HSDLA-affiliated group. In what way are they
> "affiliated"?
>
> * CHENH relies heavily on the counsel and bulletins from HSLDA. For
> all practical purposes, CHENH is a satellite of the parent
> organization, HSLDA.

This is incorrect. No state organization is "affiliated" with HSLDA. HSLDA is an organization of lawyers who attempt to defend the rights of _families_ to home school their children. Individual _families_ become members and then can draw on the expertise of HSLDA when it becomes necessary. Hopefully it never becomes necessary!

CHENH, like all of the other state organizations, was founded and built by the _families_ that live in the state.

HSLDA supports all of the state organizations with information and assistance. The mere fact that "The Teaching Home" publishes the HSLDA information in the local state organization news letters does not mean that "The Teaching Home" or the local state organization is a "satellite of the parent organization, HSLDA." The one does not follow from the other.

People who are pursuing common goals tend to work together. At least they should...

Greg Wolff




Messge 11

Subject: Re: The Four Pillars-Questions
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1993 16:21:22 -0400
From: David L. Hanson
Reply-To: home-ed-politics@mainstream.com



Mrs. Hohensee writes:

> David Hanson writes:

>>1) CHENH is an HSDLA-affiliated group. In what way are they
>>"affiliated"?

>* The Teaching Home publishes CHENH's newsletter to N.H. home
>educators as an insert to parent organization's magazine. (Only one
>state-wide group in each state has such an affiliation.)

The Teaching Home is not part of HSLDA as far as I know. Some of the information which they print is from HSLDA but this does not mean that HSLDA controls the Teaching Home magazine or vice versa.

>* CHENH relies heavily on the counsel and bulletins from HSLDA. For
>all practical purposes, CHENH is a satellite of the parent
>organization, HSLDA.

Do they have the same officers?

I think affiliated is too strong of a term since it implies control or a very close association. Since the state home school leaders do not consider themselves to be legal experts, they may take advice (and follow it) from HSLDA. Both of these are private organizations and there is nothing sinister in them doing so.

>>2) "Also personally, I completely agree with CHENH's statement of faith
>>and we would not be part of a Home School organization that did not
>>have a statement of faith that same or very similar to these. These
>>are the fundamentals of the Christian faith."

>I am not trying to discriminate "against" or "for" any particular
>beliefs. My problem is that CHENH purports to represent ALL Christians
>when addressing the legislature when, in fact, some Christians have a
>problem with their "statement of faith." Thus, CHENH misrepresents itself.
>It is actually a very exclusive Christian organization.

People who don't agree with CHENH certainly have the right to tell their state representatives that they don't, right? I am sure that CHENH doesn't block their phone calls or their letters.

>Although their remarks have never been made with regard to my beliefs,
>I find CHENH offensive and discriminatory when I listen to CHENH
>members call certain other Christian religions: "cults."

CHENH is a PRIVATE organization made up of private individuals. If people don't agree with their doctrinal position, they are free not to join.

>3) What sympathy do you have for "unschooling" families?

While I very much disagree with the methods used by unschooling families, I fully support their right to use those methods. I abhor state testing requirements and curriculum requirements because in doing so the state is setting itself up as a god in place of the true God. Both of these requirements are onerous to people whose Christian convictions are on the line. They are also a severe challenge to the unschooling family. (And I am not necessarily implying that these two can not be the same.)

David L. Hanson
Naperville, IL




Message 12

Subject: Re: The Four Pillars-Questions
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1993 16:44:15 -0400
From: Claude W. Anderson
Reply-To: home-ed-politics@mainstream.com



I know nothing about CHENH other than what has been said in this group, so I won't argue with anything that you said, Doris, but I think some of your rules of "evidence" border on ludicrous:

> 1) CHENH is an HSDLA-affiliated group. In what way are they
> "affiliated"?
>

> * The Teaching Home publishes CHENH's newsletter to N.H. home
> educators as an insert to parent organization's magazine. (Only one
> state-wide group in each state has such an affiliation.)

Ah! Just because TTH publishes stuff from CHEHN, and TTH publishes articles by HSLDA people, that means that CHEHN must be affiliated with

HSLDA? Logic 101 at work!

Newsweek gives regular space to George Will, and to a number of liberal columnists as well. This has to imply that George Will is "affiliated" with liberal orginizations, right?

> * CHENH relies heavily on the counsel and bulletins from HSLDA. For
> all practical purposes, CHENH is a satellite of the parent
> organization, HSLDA.

As a college professor, I rely heavily on books published by McGraw-Hill. If students want remain members of my CS 304 class, they must agree to read

a couple of McGraw-Hill books. So I must be a satellite of McGraw-Hill? Of course not. McGraw-Hill (for a fee) is providing a service to my organization, and I decide whether to use it. Would they like to have a monopoly? You bet they would! But the only way they can get it is by providing the best resources available and convincing professors that theirs are best!

Who is the satellite of whom?

> 2) "Also personally, I completely agree with CHENH's statement of faith
> and we would not be part of a Home School organization that did not
> have a statement of faith that same or very similar to these. These
> are the fundamentals of the Christian faith."

> I am not trying to discriminate "against" or "for" any particular
> beliefs. My problem is that CHENH purports to represent ALL Christians
> when addressing the legislature when, in fact, some Christians have a
> problem with their "statement of faith." Thus, CHENH misrepresents itself.
> It is actually a very exclusive Christian organization.

Again, I can't judge that. But I would think that this "exclusive" statement of faith is within the limits of almost all Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox denominations for the past 2000 years, so it is pretty broad.

I think it is terrible when a group labels another group a cult just because they don't agree on some fine point of doctrine. But that statement of faith hardly deals with fine points of doctrine! I think it is reasonable to say that the statement of faith you listed is pretty close to the essence of what separates historical Christianity from what are commonly known as "cults".

The above is my non-expert opinion. I am not a church historian.

> Although their remarks have never been made with regard to my beliefs,
> I find CHENH offensive and discriminatory when I listen to CHENH
> members call certain other Christian religions: "cults."

And because some members do it, that means that this is the official position of the organization? Sure! (I'm not saying that it's NOT the official position, see my disclaimer at the top of this article. But I am saying that to judge an organization by the behavior of a few members is very dangerous).

We saw the disaster that happened when a few members of our government labeled the Branch Davidians as a cult (again, I don't have enough info on BD to try to judge whether they were right), but that doesn't prove that the federal government is an exclusive organization! (Other things might prove this one, however!)

> 3) What sympathy do you have for "unschooling" families?
>


I, too would like to know more about "unschooling" and why (and if) CHENH is upset about it. If it means, "not trying to duplicate what the Public Schools are doing in our home schools", I am all for it!

> Doris Hohensee
>


Claude Anderson




Message 13

Subject: Re: The Four Pillars-Q&A
Date: Sat, 16 Oct 1993 16:54:54 -0400
From: doris (Doris Hohensee)
Reply-To: home-ed-politics@mainstream.com




>Hanson: In what way is CHENH "affiliated" with HSLDA?

>Hohensee: The Teaching Home publishes CHENH's newsletter to N.H. home
>educators as an insert to parent organization's magazine. (Only one
>state-wide group in each state has such an affiliation.)

>Hanson: The Teaching Home is not part of HSLDA as far as I know. Some of the
>information which they print is from HSLDA but this does not mean that
>HSLDA controls the Teaching Home magazine or vice versa.

>Anderson: Ah! Just because TTH publishes stuff from CHEHN, and TTH
>publishes articles by HSLDA people, that means that CHEHN must be
>affiliated with HSLDA? Logic 101 at work!

>Newsweek gives regular space to George Will, and to a number of liberal
>columnists as well. This has to imply that George Will is "affiliated"
>with liberal orginizations, right?

Hohensee: "Affiliated" means closely associated with another typically in a dependent or subordinate position. CHENH is affiliated with both HSLDA and The Teaching Home.

CHENH relies on HSLDA for all their legal and political problems.

CHENH relies on The Teaching Home to publish their newsletter as an insert to the magazine. CHENH encourages subscriptions to The Teaching Home from all its members by solicitation on the CHENH application form.




>Hohensee: CHENH relies heavily on the counsel and bulletins from
>HSLDA. For all practical purposes, CHENH is a satellite of the
>parent organization, HSLDA.

>Hanson: Do they have the same officers?

>I think affiliated is too strong of a term since it implies control or a
>very close association. Since the state home school leaders do not consider
>themselves to be legal experts, they may take advice (and follow it)
>from HSLDA. Both of these are private organizations and there is nothing
>sinister in them doing so.

Hohensee: CHENH and HSLDA are affiliated (see definition above). I am not suggesting anything sinister about their affiliation. Who said anything about having the same officiers?

>Anderson: As a college professor, I rely heavily on books published by
>McGraw-Hill. If students want remain members of my CS 304 class, they
>must agree to read a couple of McGraw-Hill books. So I must be a
>satellite of McGraw-Hill? Of course not. McGraw-Hill (for a fee) is
>providing a service to my organization, and I decide whether to use
>it. Would they like to have a monopoly? You bet they would! But the
>only way they can get it is by providing the best resources available
>and convincing professors that theirs are best!

>Who is the satellite of whom?

Hohensee: I think you are over-reacting and over-simplifying your comparision. It is more complex.

Until HSLDA waltzed into N.H. to be a self-appointed legislative expert, there were no statewide organizations. HSLDA advised the Christians to organize CHENH in order to be more effective in lobbying the legislature on behalf of the HSLDA-proposed bill. As I see it they gave birth. All children think of themselves as independent creatures, not satellites of their parents. However, even children are affiliated.




>Hanson: "Also personally, I completely agree with CHENH's statement of
>faith and we would not be part of a Home School organization that did
>not have a statement of faith that same or very similar to these.
>These are the fundamentals of the Christian faith."


>Hohensee: I am not trying to discriminate "against" or "for" any particular
>beliefs. My problem is that CHENH purports to represent ALL Christians
>when addressing the legislature when, in fact, some Christians have a
>problem with their "statement of faith." Thus, CHENH misrepresents itself.
>It is actually a very exclusive Christian organization.

>Hanson: People who don't agree with CHENH certainly have the right to
>tell their state representatives that they don't, right? I am sure
>that CHENH doesn't block their phone calls or their letters.


Hohensee: "Christians" are those who profess a belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ.

CHENH has stood before legislators and made statements to suggest that they represent ALL Christians. This is misrepresentation. Excluded Christians then have the added job of dispelling the myth of uniform representation by CHENH.

>Anderson: Again, I can't judge that. But I would think that this
>"exclusive" statement of faith is within the limits of almost all
>Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox denominations for the past 2000
>years, so it is pretty broad.

>...I think it is reasonable to say that the statement of faith you
>listed is pretty close to the essence of what separates historical
>Christianity from what are commonly known as "cults".

>The above is my non-expert opinion. I am not a church historian.

Hohensee: Wrong. For example: Catholics can't sign because it denies their doctrine of the Trinity; Mormons can't sign because it denies the validity of their divinely inspired work, The Book of Mormon. Are these groups to be denigrated to mere cults?




>Hohensee: Although their remarks have never been made with regard to
>my beliefs, I find CHENH offensive and discriminatory when I listen to
>CHENH members call certain other Christian religions: "cults."

>Hanson: CHENH is a PRIVATE organization made up of private
>individuals. If people don't agree with their doctrinal position,
>they are free not to join.


Hohensee: I am not saying that this is the official position of HSLDA, I was merely relating my personal encounters and objections.




>Hohensee: What sympathy do you have for "unschooling" families?

>Hanson: While I very much disagree with the methods used by
>unschooling families, I fully support their right to use those
>methods. I abhor state testing requirements and curriculum
>requirements because in doing so the state is setting itself up as a
>god in place of the true God. Both of these requirements are onerous
>to people whose Christian convictions are on the line. They are also a
>severe challenge to the unschooling family. (And I am not necessarily
>implying that these two can not be the same.)


Hohensee: CHENH and HSLDA, both Christian organizations, endorse N.H.'s onerous home education law which requires curriculum approval and annual evaluations of the children. They both opposed change to this law as it is "nothing short of a miracle" and one of the "best" in the nation, according to HSLDA. Read following post for details of N.H.'s miraculous law.

>Anderson: I, too would like to know more about "unschooling" and why
>(and if) CHENH is upset about it. If it means, "not trying to
>duplicate what the Public Schools are doing in our home schools", I am
>all for it!

Hohensee: Unschooling is education without the school, the curriculum, the tests, and all the other hoopla that goes with it. It is self-motivated learning, not learning on command. See the works of John Holt and Growing Without Schooling for further information.

From testimony given by the former president of CHENH to the legislature publically condemning home educators who unschool, and from the large amount of testimony by CHENH members in support of curriculum approval and annual state evaluations, I can only conclude that CHENH is against unschoolers. Apparently they believe that they must be pubically accountable to the state. Several of CHENH's leader repeated the theme that, as home educators, they were willing to be more accountable to the state than other educators, public or private.