A B.C. couple whose religious views are too extreme even for churches and pastors and put them at odds with family, doctors, social workers and anyone else trying to help them with their daughter, have lost their battle for custody of her…
A Canadian couple who relied on a stuffed lion for legal advice, which they said was transmitting the word of God, lost custody of their child Thursday.
The unusual custody case began in November when a British Columbia court declared the parents unfit and that their then-1-year-old daughter needed protection, according to the Vancouver Sun. The parents, who weren’t identified to protect the identity of the child, appealed the decision claiming that the court’s ruling violated their Christian values.
Prosecutors alleged that the parents’ religious views began to interfere with their relationships in their community, the Vancouver Sun reported. Several churches had banned the couple and called police on them when they vowed to “purge churches of evil influences,” the newspaper reported, citing court documents.
After the birth of their daughter, the parents refused all medical tests and procedures for her, including a hearing test, blood test, eye drops and a vitamin K shot. The mother also said she was unwilling to have her vaccinated.
The parents had also been accused of trying to “cleanse demonic influences” from their child when she was born, prosecutors told the court.
“It appears that, due to their strong religious beliefs, they are intolerant of those who do not espouse identical views. This includes other Christians,” Justice Diane MacDonald said in her ruling.
As the strange case continued, the Vancouver Sun reported the court learned that the woman once told a social worker that her husband was abusive and put his hand over her throat. She reportedly revealed that her husband “grew up in a cult and believes sexual relations between children should be encouraged and that they ‘role-play’ sins where she plays the victim and he plays the perpetrator.”
The woman later denied saying those things in an interview with police.
The Ministry of Children and Family development filed the complaint against the couple after learning the woman refused to get her daughter medically up-to-date and denied vaccinations, the newspaper reported.
They said they had legal help which came in the form of a stuffed lion. During the trial, the couple spoke to the lion in ‘tongues’ and said that through the lion, they heard God speaking to them.
They said Jesus Christ was their “lawyer, witness and judge.”
When they cross-examined witnesses, they told each witness that their lawyer Jesus was asking the questions through them.
In the end, the judge did not find them to be credible and ruled in favor of the ministry and placed the baby in continuing care (which can lead to putting the child up for adoption). The parents appealed that decision, claiming it infringed on their religious freedoms “as Christian parents.”
The court responded, and said the decision was not based on religious beliefs but on evidence of domestic violence; ignoring health care recommendations; concerns for the mother’s mental health; and their inability to work with those who could support them in parenting, including their own family, a maternity clinic, public health nurse, doctors, social workers, churches, Christian families and legal representatives.