Religious freedom in education

Real pluralism and real democracy require real choices for parents


  • Michael P. Donnelly


religious freedom, parental autonomy, government restrictions on religion, family integrity, persecution, suffering, democracy and pluralism, human sexuality


Modern governments increasing their role in education have caused increasing conflicts when parental religious or philosophical convictions conflict with values represented by school curriculum and activities. International human rights recognize the superior right of parents to control their child’s education and free nations must not impose unreasonable constraints on private schools and should permit their citizens to homeschool. However countries like Germany and Sweden do excessively regulate private schools and either oppress or highly disfavor homeschooling causing some to flee while others have sought, and in at least one case received, political asylum in the United States.

Author Biography

Michael P. Donnelly

Michael P Donnelly is the Director for International Affairs at the Home School Legal Defense Association (, 1 Patrick Henry Cir., Purcellville, VA, 20132, USA. Donnelly earned a J.D. from Boston University School of Law and is a Paul J. Liacos Distinguished Scholar. He is an Adjunct Professor of Government at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, VA where he teaches constitutional law. Donnelly is an advocate for home education and serves over 15,000 families in 11 states and 200 countries working with homeschooling organizations and helping resolve disputes between authorities and homeschooling families. A father of seven, Donnelly with his wife (to whom he is eternally grateful for her support) is a homeschooling parent.