A Canadian couple lost custody of their daughter because their religious views were found to be too extreme and impacted their relationship with family, doctors, social workers, and even the church, who tried to help them.
The couple from British Columbia lost the custody battle after a bizarre court case in which they refused legal counsel and instead used a stuffed toy lion as their lawyer, which they claimed represented Jesus, their only true “lawyer, witness and judge”.
“They spoke in tongues to their stuffed animal, a lion, and claimed that through this lion they were hearing directly from their counsel the Lord,” court documents read.
The legal battle began last November when the Provincial Court of British Columbia formally declared that their one-year-old daughter was in need of protection and placed her in provincial custody. The parents, who are unnamed to protect the childs identity, appealed the decision to the BC Supreme Court, claiming they were being discriminated against for being Christians.
Court documents revealed that the couple have a history of violent arguments and had “unstable working and living arrangements”. The documents also claim the couple have been told theyre “not welcome” in churches on a number of occasions due to their extremist views.
“It appears that due to their strong religious beliefs, they are intolerant of those who do not espouse identical views. This includes other Christians,” BC Supreme Court Judge Justice Diane MacDonald wrote in her ruling. At one point, the couple was arrested at a church in West Kelowna and charged with causing a disturbance after they “allegedly wanted to cleanse the Church of evil influences,” the court papers recount.
The parents ability to care for their child was called into question before they even gave birth, after they ignored medical advice to not have a home birth. They also refused post-natal medical exams, including a hearing test and vaccinations, and the mothers refusal to follow the advice of a lactation specialist, to top up the babys breast milk with formula, was also cited in court documents.
Now that a continuing care order has been formally put in place there is a chance the child could be put up for adoption.
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