On November 16, 2015, Norway’s child services, Barnevernet, removed five children from a Romanian family after a school official expressed concern about the family’s Christian beliefs, including the belief that God punishes sin. Government documents charged the parents with being “radical Christians who were indoctrinating their children."
According to the Christian Post, Ruth and Marius Bodnariu have been denied due process and the five children, including an infant, were placed in three separate foster homes with limited visitation rights. The family also claims the Norwegian government has initiated the adoption process for the children.
In response to Norway’s actions, thousands have taken to the streets to protest what they believe to be another case of institutionalized kidnapping. Cities participating in these protests include Washington D.C., London, Oslo, Dublin, Brussels, and cities across Romania. Additional protests are planned through the end of January in many other cities including Vienna, Madrid, Moscow, Prague, and even in Melbourne, Australia.
This is not the first time Norway’s child services has provoked outrage. In 2015, a daughter of a Lithuanian immigrant was placed in state foster care for reasons still unknown to her parents. A Russian couple’s young son was taken away on charges of child abuse after the boy told classmates he was missing a baby tooth. In 2012, a 7 year old boy was taken from an Indian family temporarily living in Norway after a teacher discovered the parents scolded the boy for wetting his pants. There are numerous other cases with similar stories.
On average, Barnevernet removes 4-5 children a day from families, mostly religious or ethnic minorities, often without sufficient legal cause or process. The European Court of Human Rights has found Norway liable for violating due process and the presumption of innocence on four separate occasions, and hundreds more cases on other charges. It is estimated about 70,000 children are now in the Norwegian child services.
In addition to Norway, nations such as Germany and Sweden have on numerous occasions taken children away from their parents for the “crime” of homeschooling.
Here are three steps you can take to help the Bodnariu family.
- Pray that the family may soon be reunited and be free to live out their faith.
- Sign the petition. It has already reached over 50,000 signatures, let’s double it.
- Contact your U.S. Representative and Senator, and urge them to put pressure on the Norwegian government over this human rights abuse.
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by Andrew Willis filed under