Top European Court to Hear Case of Norwegian Christian Family after Kids Were Removed from Their Home
A Christian couple whose five children, including a 3-month old, were seized by a child-welfare agency in Norway will be able to bring their case before Europe’s top human rights court. It is one of eight cases the European Court of Human Rights has agreed to hear against the embattled child-protective-services agency known as the Barnevernet.
In November 2015, the children of Marius and Ruth Bodnariu, Romanian Pentecostals who lived in Norway, were removed from their home over allegations they were spanked. Corporal punishment is illegal in the Scandinavian country.
Their attorney, Robert Clarke, director of European advocacy for the nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom International, said in a statement that a subsequent investigation revealed that community officials also reportedly believed the children were being ‘indoctrinated’ by their parents’ Christian beliefs.
“Parents have the right to direct the upbringing of their children,” Clarke said. “Norway intervened in the family life of the Bodnariu family by taking the five children into state care without any compelling reason,” he asserted.
The Christian Post reported, however, that critics had previously challenged the religious motivations allegation.
The Bodnariu case prompted global protests at Norwegian embassies, creating international pressure that ultimately led the agency to return the children after a six-month separation. As soon as the family was reunited, they fled Norway – the place they had called home for a decade.
“Removing children from their
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