There is good and bad news coming out of Norway at the moment. The bad news goes back to seven months ago when the Norwegian government kidnapped children from a Christian family. The good news is the government has just announced that they will soon be released. But of course this never should have happened in the first place.
This was ugly Big Brother in action, warring against Christians and warring against parents. This was a despicable move against a Christian family, and the Norwegian government should be utterly ashamed of itself. Indeed, it should apologise and make restitution to this poor Romanian Christian family.
A Christian couple in Norway have reportedly become embroiled in a battle with social services after their five children were removed on charges that included “Christian radicalization and indoctrination.” On Nov. 16, Norway’s child welfare services, the Barnevernet, seized Marius and Ruth Bodnariu’s two daughters, two sons and their baby, Ezekiel. The two eldest children were reportedly removed from school without their parents knowledge, and then Barnevarnet representatives arrived with police at the Bodnariu home, where welfare services seized the remaining children, minus the baby.
The organization returned the following day and removed the infant as well after the family tried to resolve the matter at the local police station. On Nov. 18, the Barnevernet told Ruth Bodnariu that the children had been split up with two separate families. An online petition calling for the return of the children has already been signed by over 26,000 people.
“The parents were interrogated and asked not to publicly reveal the situation so they wouldn’t aggravate their case!” text on the petition page reads in part. “They are just a normal Christian family trying to raise their children in the knowledge of God! There is no documented or otherwise abuse of any kind in this family!”
A Facebook page created to support the family, however, provides some insight from Marius Bodnariu’s brother, Daniel, who is a pastor. He explained in a statement on Wednesday that the children’s principal contacted welfare services after expressing concerns over how they were being raised, including in regard to the family’s Christian beliefs.
Another report offers these shocking details:
Norwegian child services, known as Barnevernet, removed the family’s two eldest daughters from school on Nov. 16 without the parents’ knowledge, and later in the day arrived at the Bodnariu home to take two of the three sons.
Marius Bodnariu, an information technician, rushed home from work and went with his wife, Ruth, to the police station to find out what was the matter, but received no answers.
The next day, police arrived back at the Bodnariu home to take the family’s 3-month-old son, Ezekiel, saying Ruth’s emotional display at the police station was a sign that the baby was in danger.
“We were expecting them to come talk how we would get the other kids back, what they consider that we need of help, how we could become better parents when they consider us not to be that,” Ruth Bodnariu says in the video. “So we were waiting for them to come to talk with us or call us to their office. We did not expect them to come and take Ezekiel. That was a shock.”
Barneverent officials prevented the parents from seeing their children for two months, only saying they were “integrating well” into two separate foster homes, according to a WORLD magazine report.
The family eventually received documents detailing the cause of the removal, according to a Facebook post made on Dec. 2 by Daniel Bodnariu, Marius Bodnariu’s brother.
The investigation reportedly started when the principal at the daughters’ school notified child services that she had concerns about the parents’ “very Christian” beliefs, fearing they needed “help and guidance” raising their children.
Things kept going from bad to worse in this Orwellian nightmare. As another news item reports:
Norway’s Barnevernet, or child welfare service, has begun the process of adopting out the five Bodnariu children it seized from their Pentecostal parents Marius and Ruth in November, according to the children’s uncle, Daniel Bodnariu.
Bodnariu told LifeSiteNews that Barnevernet intends to adopt out the children, who range in age from nine years to four months, but that the agency must first “take away the parents’ rights” in a “fylkesnemdna,” or county council hearing, the date of which has not been set. He stated that Marius and Ruth’s lawyer plans to challenge Barnevernet’s decision in Norway’s Superior Court, but that no trial date has been set.
Meanwhile, international protest on behalf of the beleaguered family is building via Facebook. Demonstrations at the Norwegian embassies are planned in 24 countries so far, including Russia, Poland, India, Slovakia, Denmark, Ireland, Romania, as well as in the USA and Canada, where rallies are scheduled in Washington DC on January 8, 2015, and in Ottawa on January 9. As well as street protests, a petition organized by Pastor Christian Ionescu of Chicago’s Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church has been signed by 48,683 to date.
The good news has just been announced of their release. As one write-up puts it:
The Christian parents of five children, who were seized by Norwegian child services seven months ago to “prevent” them from being “indoctrinated” with Christianity, will soon be reunited as the authorities have agreed to return the custody of the remaining four kids to the family.
“We thank you all for your love, support, prayers, and active participation in the reunification of this family. May God richly bless you and repay you for all you have done to bring this family back together,” says a statement from the Romanian Pentecostal parents, Marius and Ruth Bodnariu, who have been living in Norway for more than a decade, according to Romania Insider. Norway’s Dagen newspaper reported that the decision to return the kids to their family is part of an agreement reached with the family.
Implications for us
This is not the first case of Big Brother acting against families. It is standard practice in all totalitarian regimes, and was common practice in the Soviet Union and other Communist countries. But increasingly we are seeing this happening in the so-called free West. It is the rise of the Total State versus the family.
What happened in Norway should concern every single one of us. Let me refer to two other articles on this. One looks at the issue of the rights of parents to discipline their own children:
Is this a case of religious bias against parents or a misunderstanding based on cultural norms? Maybe both. Some Christian parents believe that parents have a right or a duty to use corporal punishment (such as spanking) when disciplining their children. But in Norway, the Children Act was amended in 2010 to prohibit any type of corporal punishment:
“The child must not be subjected to violence or in any other way be treated so as to harm or endanger his or her mental or physical health. This shall also apply when violence is carried out in connection with upbringing of the child. Use of violence and frightening or annoying behavior or other inconsiderate conduct towards the child is prohibited.”
The Bodnariu parents have admitted they have subjected their children to “ear pulling” and light spanking, both of which are considered “violence” under Norwegian law. “In Romania it is not considered violence,” Ruth Bodnariu said. “In Norway unfortunately that’s [a] criminal case.”
Christian parents may disagree about the merits of spanking and other forms of physical discipline, but we generally believe we have duty to raise our children according to the teachings of the Bible. Unfortunately, in many Western nations our duties and rights as parents are circumscribed by the cultural norms of the secular public. This is true even in the United States, as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has repeatedly warned us.
For example, last November Justice Scalia told an audience at Georgetown University Law Center that there is no U.S. constitutional right of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children. Although Scalia believes the right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children is among the “unalienable rights” mentioned in the Declaration of Independence, it is not a right necessarily protected by the Constitution since many “important rights are not contained there.”
“For example, my right to raise my children the way I want,” Scalia said. “To teach them what I want them taught, not what Big Brother says. That is not there.”
And Bob Unruh writes about how ominous new legal developments in the US are taking America down the Norwegian path:
The federal government, in a draft policy by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education, is conceding that parents, too, should be allowed to help raise their own children along with the government, through various programs.
The document, the “Draft Policy Statement on Family Engagement From the Early Years to the Early Grades,” states: “It is the position of the departments that all early childhood programs and schools recognize families as equal partners in improving children’s development, learning and wellness across all settings, and over the course of their children’s developmental and educational experiences.”
That one sentence, wrote William A. Estrada, the director of federal relations policy for the Home School Legal Defense Association, “unmasks the federal government’s true philosophy behind decades of federal involvement in welfare, kindergarten through 12th grade education spending and policies, programs like Head Start, and now the push to create universal early education for young children from birth through age 5: the federal government believes that its role is equal with the role of parents.”
“Not only does this draft document expose the federal government’s breathtaking arrogance, a footnote at the bottom of page one goes so far as to redefine the family,” he said. The footnote states: “The term ‘family’ is used to include all the people who play a role in a child’s life and interact with a child’s early childhood program or school. This may include fathers, mothers, grandparents, foster parents, formal and informal guardians, and siblings, among others.”…
The document, while a draft, explains how the federal government should “systematically” engage families in their own children’s development.
Unruh mentions what is happening in Scotland right now where a new “named person” program is being rolled out in which the state creates a universal surveillance system with a state-approved social worker appointed to every baby born in the country. I wrote up this frightening scenario here: billmuehlenberg.com/2016/03/11/the-war-against-parents/
This is all ugly Big Brother fascism in action. What happened to that poor Romanian family will soon be happening to any Christian family in the West if present trends continue. As Miranda Devine wrote in a recent article:
This anti-family ideology was adopted with gusto by the post-revolutionary Soviets who passed decrees in 1917 which made divorce easy, recognised only civil marriages, abolished shared family property and banned adoption. In 1918 courts took over parental rights. “True liberation of women, true Communism comes about only when the masses rise up … against … small-scale households,” wrote Lenin in 1919.
You will find these ideas in every feminism and gender studies course in universities today. But you probably won’t find their real-life consequences, which were catastrophic for Russian society.
By 1920, divorces increased 100 fold, the birthrate plummeted, abortions skyrocketed, and 75 per cent of marriages lasted less than six months. Nearly seven million homeless children “roamed the streets, starving, dying of disease, and forming criminal gangs,” wrote Geoffrey Hosking in A History of the Soviet Union.
The Communists tried to reverse their anti-family policies but the damage was done. And now, we are marching in their footsteps, doomed by blissful apathy to repeat the mistake.