7 homeschooling dads thrown in jail

Seven homeschooling fathers in Germany spent several days in jail for refusing to pay fines that were imposed on them for failing to send their children to government schools.

The fathers, who are part of the Twelve Tribes Community in Klosterzimmern, Germany, were forced to spend between six and 16 days in what the group's website translates as "coercive jail."

According to the group's website, which includes a chronology of its battle with the government, the men initially refused to go to jail. The police then picked them up and brought them to a lock-up in Augsburg, Bavaria, on Oct. 18. The first father was released from custody on Sunday.

"The authorities want to 'bend' the parents' will so they will pay their fines, stop homeschooling their children and instead send them to public schools. The mothers (three have small, nursing children) are supposed to go to jail later," states the group's website.

The site says the men appealed to police not to force their wives to jail at a later time.

Said the released homeschooling dad:

"The prison sentence wasn't easy but it did nothing to change our convictions. Wrong will not always remain wrong. To act according to the dictates of our conscience is right. Conscientious objectors are also granted the freedom of conscience. The 'wrong' of the members of the resistance in the Third Reich is being praised today, the members are being esteemed as heroes. Our conscience resists the one-sided education of the state with the values of a consumption and achievement-oriented society. How far have we fallen, if any kind of perverse way of life is being applauded, but a sincere education according to the Bible is being punished? Where are the citizens of this country who will stand up against injustice?"

According to Hal Young, president of North Carolinians for Home Education, who has followed the plight of the German families, the media in Germany have given the homeschoolers favorable coverage.

The families are scheduled for a hearing on Nov. 14, which will address further fines they have refused to pay.