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Dr. Montgomery Lectures World Congress on Human Rights

August 31st, 2011

By Sarah Pride

CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 514-0852

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Dr. John Warwick Montgomery, PHC's Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy and Christian Thought

Amidst a diverse audience of legal philosophers and lawyers, PHC’s Dr. John Warwick Montgomery recently presented two intriguing papers at the 25th World Congress on the Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy in Frankfurt, Germany. In his first presentation to the prestigious congress, August 15-20, Dr. Montgomery argued that human rights stem most rationally from a transcendent authority. And, in spite of the fact that homeschooling is illegal today in Germany, Dr. Montgomery justified, in his second paper, parent-guided education as a human right within the overarching European system.

“The state has the responsibility to ensure that, however children are educated, they reach the proper level—and any schooling that does not attain that result must certainly be improved, or if that is not possible, abolished (for example, substandard public or private schools or incompetent home schooling),” lectured Dr. Montgomery. “But the burden rests on the state to show that there is the need to do this.  Assuming a priori that a particular method of education is faulty is a meritless solution and flies in the face of democratic values.”

The College’s Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy and Christian Thought has argued the case for Christianity around the globe, has written more than fifty books in four languages, and holds eleven earned degrees. Since joining the PHC in 2008, he has won a debate at University College Dublin on God’s existence, preached the gospel at the cathedral in Marseille, and given major apologetic lectures to South Pacific Christians on the tiny island of Tonga—among other adventures.

From L to R, Michael Donnelly, Dr. John Warwick Montgomery, Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher

At the 25th World Congress, Dr. Montgomery also spoke on the topic of religious freedom in a session chaired by his friend, Dr. Angus Menuge, from Concordia University, and chaired a session on the “philosophy of homeschooling.” His team for the latter session included Michael Donnelly, attorney and director for international affairs of the Home School Legal Defense Association, and Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher, a German theologian and Director of the International Institute for Religious Freedom. According to Dr. Montgomery, Dr. Schirrmacher is the “author of the only German-language work advocating homeschooling” and “the foremost German specialist” on the topic.  Schirrmarcher plans to publish the session’s lectures in German and English for distribution in Germany and in the United States.

Donnelly, who also serves as an Adjunct Professor of Government for PHC, said he appreciated the opportunity to present the case for homeschooling in a country that has criminalized the practice.

“Including homeschooling on the agenda of this conference highlights freedom in education as a necessary condition to sustaining a pluralist democracy,” he said. “It provides legitimacy to the claim that this freedom should be protected as a human right. This is the first time homeschooling has been on the agenda of this prestigious conference and will be helpful in influencing European policymakers favorably towards home education.”

This fall at PHC, Dr. Montgomery is teaching the core class Principles of Biblical Reasoning/Apologetics and upper-level Philosophy of Law & Human Rights.