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CULTURE DIGEST: James Dobson starts another radio show; …

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, has announced plans to launch a new radio show with his son in March, saying he cannot watch the world continue a moral decline without offering guidance.

Dobson, 73, is severing ties with Focus at the end of February after 33 years of leadership. That decision, he said, was essential for passing along the leadership of the ministry to a younger generation.

As he announced his new radio venture in a Facebook post in December, Dobson said the 30-minute daily program, to be called “James Dobson on the Family,” will deal with marriage, child rearing, family finances, medical and psychological concerns, national issues, the sanctity of human life and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The New York Times said the new forum will “give him greater leeway to hold forth on politics.”

“From one perspective, it would be pleasurable for Shirley and me to get up in the morning and go to breakfast, read the newspaper, travel and be with friends,” Dobson wrote. “That prospect of an easy life is attractive to us. On the other hand, the institution of the family continues to be in deplorable condition, and children are growing up in a culture that often twists and warps their young minds.

“Furthermore, our nation is facing a crisis that threatens its very existence. We are in a moral decline of shocking dimensions. I have asked myself how I can sit and watch the world go by without trying to help if I can,” he added. “That is what motivates me at this time.”

Dobson said he and his wife are “awash in nostalgia” as they prepare to leave Focus, and he warned that the organization “must not be allowed to languish in the days to come.” He urged people to help preserve the valuable work by continuing to give financially to Focus, but he also mentioned the need for $2 million in startup costs for his new program.

Ryan Dobson, 39, is described by The Times as a tattooed surfer and skateboarder who wrote a book called “Be Intolerant” and is popular among youth. His tone is edgier than his father’s, the newspaper said, and he draws from years spent in rebellion.

“Once again, my heart is pounding with the excitement of doing something that could be significant for others. I invite you to take the journey with us,” James Dobson wrote.

GERMAN HOMESCHOOLERS GRANTED ASYLUM IN U.S. — A couple that was persecuted in Germany because they homeschooled their children has been granted political asylum in the United States.

Uwe and Hannelore Romeike fled to Tennessee in 2008 after German officials ordered them to send their children to school, pay fines totaling $10,000 or have their children taken away. In Germany, children are required to attend public or private schools, and those who choose homeschooling have reported a trend in prosecutions.

“During the last 10 to 20 years the curriculum in public schools has been more and more against Christian values,” Uwe Romeike said, according to the Associated Press. “We knew we had to leave the country.”

A U.S. immigration court Jan. 26 granted the family asylum, finding that the German government violated their basic human rights. The incident marks a rare case of asylum being granted to people from a nation with which the United States has strong diplomatic ties and even a military alliance, AP noted.

“There is no safety for homeschoolers in Germany,” said Mike Donnelly of the Home School Legal Defense Association, which represented the family. “The two highest courts in Germany have ruled that it is acceptable for the German government to ‘stamp out’ homeschoolers as some kind of ‘parallel society.'”

The Alliance Defense Fund provided support to the home school association for the case. ADF legal counsel Roger Kiska said parents have the right to make decisions regarding their children’s education without undue government interference.

“The immigration court has clearly recognized that basic human rights are being violated by the German policy of persecuting homeschooling families,” Kiska said. “Many Americans are simply unaware of just how bad the policy is.”

Donnelly said he hopes the ruling will influence public opinion in Germany and that the government will understand that homeschoolers are not a threat to society.

ACLU LOSES ANOTHER TEN COMMANDMENTS CASE — The American Civil Liberties Union, which has made a practice of contesting Ten Commandments displays in public places nationwide, has not won a case at the court of appeals level since 2005, and in January they lost another.

A 2-1 decision by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals found Jan. 14 that posting the Ten Commandments at the Grayson County courthouse in Kentucky did not violate the U.S. Constitution because it was part of a display of historical documents, including the Magna Carta, the Mayflower Compact and the Bill of Rights.

The ACLU said religion was the primary motivation behind posting the Ten Commandments, not educational or historical reasons. But the court found that available evidence did not support that contention.

County officials were forced to remove the document from a frame on the second floor of the courthouse in 2002 when the ACLU first filed a lawsuit, and more than 200 people were there Jan. 18 when the Ten Commandments were returned to the frame. They sang “God Bless America” and “Amazing Grace” and then ate a sheet cake decorated with an American flag, according to the Associated Press.

Liberty Counsel picked up the legal costs the county would have incurred, and the group’s founder, Mathew Staver, presented oral arguments on behalf of Grayson County last year.

“The Ten Commandments are as much at home in a display about the foundation of law as stars and stripes are to the American flag,” Staver said. “The Ten Commandments are part of the fabric of our country and helped shape the law. It defies common sense to remove a recognized symbol of law from a court of law.

“The ACLU might not like our history and might run from it, but the fact remains that the Ten Commandments shaped our laws and may be displayed in a court of law,” Staver added. “I am sure the ACLU will not ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review this case. The ACLU has been running from the Supreme Court since 2005 and has taken loss after loss on the Ten Commandments.”
Erin Roach is a staff writer for Baptist Press.

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