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• A Michigan state appeals court upheld the conviction of two families for violating the state compulsory education law for "homeschooling" their children without the use of a state-certified teacher. The parents claimed that they had a God-given mandate to educate their children at home, and that allowing the state to certify their children's teachers amounts to an interference with God's authority. Submitting to the state's authority would "constitute a sin." The court rejected the parents' claim that the teacher-certification requirement violated their constitutional right to religious freedom. It concluded that any burden imposed on the parents' religious beliefs was "minimal," and that it was clearly outweighed by a "compelling state interest." The court observed that the parents' pastor testified that the church did not oppose teacher-certification and did allow "delegation of ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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Posted:
  • March 1, 1990