|Photo by A. Stahl|
From what I understand at this juncture, the count of children in the Klosterzimmern community is currently at two or three youths around seventeen or eighteen years of age, two fourteen year-olds and 2 breastfeeding infants. The two aged fourteen are required to attend school outside of the community as the school in the community has been closed since September.
I believe the eighteen year-olds are required to go to a vocational school as they have no certificate of completion from high school or any training for jobs outside of the cult. Sources I've been reading also report an additional six or seven children or adolescents that have not yet been removed or have returned. I'm unsure how accurate this count is. Hopefully a commenter can set us straight.
I haven't mentioned it before, but I know that the Diakonische Werk Donau-Ries eV. has put together a fund that individuals can give towards members of the community that wish to exit and for the children in foster homes, so that they can start their lives over. If you think that this will be of interest, definitely check out the link or give them a call and ask about it. [source]
As of Thursday and Friday, there has been some more movement in the courts in regard to the Twelve Tribes.
The RTL reporter that first broke the story (Wolfram Kuhnigk) has met with the crew at the local newspaper; Donau-Ries Aktuell. As the paper has experience with the Twelve Tribes, this was a move to consolidate efforts. [source] I look forward to seeing what these efforts bring forth.
The Bavarian state parliament met this week to discuss the issue of the Twelve Tribes. An interesting thing happened when one of the parents stood up in the middle of the hearing to yell across the room about the benefits of corporal punishment. The members of parliament threatened to remove the man with police force as this is intolerable behavior, so Carsten left the room. [source]
As someone who is Messianic, I have to say that this is a horrible understanding of the Scripture's use of "the rod", which is about a parent's, G-d's or king's authority which was represented with a shepherd's or king's gilded rod. [see this and this.] There's no use even translating this due to the fact his position is well known in the United States through many different religious teachers who advocate for corporal punishment as a biblical practice.
For those of you who do not speak German - Carsten Hennig explained that the Bible commands spanking and that it's not abusive at all, it's just one pop and it makes a child realize what they did was incorrect so that they'll correct their behavior. "It's quick and then the child is happy again and the issue is water under the bridge." He was removed from the room and interviewed outside by a few news reporters.
This upset several people, of course, such as Margarete Bause, a member of the Bundnis '90/Die Grünen. She said, "For the children, it is unbelieveably bad. When I hear the testimony of the many ex-members [of the Twelve Tribes], I am told how the corporal punishment [in the group] completely destroyed their lives in that it broke their will and them as individuals."
Reporter: Others are at fault in the eyes of the sect. Politicians, the authorities and the media. They preach a radical version of Christianity and use corporal punishment as a medium to force obedience of its youngest members.
From here, Carsten goes on to prooftext Proverbs 13:24 [Those who withhold the rod [authority] hate their children, but the one who loves them applies discipline. CEB] and explain that the Scriptures do not say to use the hand but to use a rod.
Woman: To abuse children is forbidden, whether you know them or not and no matter what you believe about it. It's not possible and must be prevented as children have a right to be protected.
Reporter: And the state intervened in September when they removed around forty children from the sect in Schwäbische Klosterzimmern. The police raid was completed between a rock and a hard place.
Woman: The problem is that the small children raised in the sect do not have any chance of growing up with their own free thoughts on matters. I believe we need to intervene in such a case to steer things away from this belief. But, the parents are still the parents of these children. Again, I believe this is where we take the toughest measures to remove children so they can escape their parents [thought control].
Reporter: The Twelve Tribes are now not allowed to use their religious school any more after this ruling. The children are now in public schools and ever more under the watchful eyes of the public.
The Nordbayern and Der Spiegel have reported that the authorities fear they have been far too lenient these last twenty years on the Twelve Tribes and are now making up for lost time. Although the state allowed the sect to open a private school in the guise of homeschooling in 2006 [source and source], this school had been formally closed by authorities due to lack of qualified teachers. [source] There is also the question of doubt that corporal punishment will not be implemented in the classroom, therefore the children have been ordered to attend public schools. [source]
The court documents that speak to the Twelve Tribes (home)school being closed may be found here.
This is all that I have at the moment, but I'll keep you all posted if I hear anything else.
If you've not been following along on my blog, you will want to read Part 1, part 2 , part 3, part 4, part 5 and part 6, part 7, part 8, part 9 and part 10 to be better informed on this issue.