A Vancouver couple's bizarre devotion to God caused them to lose custody of their child.
Intervening family members, doctors, and social workers were at odds with the couple's extreme religious views in a court case in which the parents refused legal assistance. A stuffed lion served as their lawyer, witness, and judge, according to the Vancouver Sun.
The couple claimed the plush toy was a conduit for Jesus Christ and would speak in tongues to communicate with Him.
I mean... there are no words. Please tell me this is Canada's "The Onion". B.C. couple loses child custody after s… https://t.co/lP8Sf0yGU0— 🇮🇱 Daddy Lenka 🥓 (@🇮🇱 Daddy Lenka 🥓)1528384113.0
Their one-year-old daughter, whose name was withheld, was in need of protection and placed in provincial custody by the Provincial Court of British Columbia in November
The couple met in 2014 when their mutual interest in the Christian faith drew them together, but their working and living arrangements became unstable when they began moving from one community to another.
The Sun provided court hearing details about the couple's fanatical religious beliefs and their disturbing impact on the community.
Their views started interfering with their relationships with others, including Christian communities. Several churches banned them and even called police for assistance when the couple set out to "purge churches of evil influences," according to court records.
Since giving birth to their daughter, the couple was charged for causing a disturbance, which according to the court, included an incident in which the police were called to a church and witnessed the parents trying to "cleanse demonic influences."
@OttawaCitizen Good. The are not fit. They are also in dire need of supervised mental health care.— karen munro (@karen munro)1528390335.0
When she was still pregnant, the wife confided in a coworker about her abusive husband, who would often restrain her with duct tape and also choked her to prevent her from crying.
She also revealed to the coworker that her husband grew up in a cult and condoned sexual relationships with minors. He would also encourage his wife to act out sins in role-playing games in which she would play the victim and he, the perpetrator. However, the wife denied such allegations when the police confronted her.
@OttawaCitizen ‘And the meek minded shall inherit the Earth 🌏 ‘......too many people procreating that shouldn’t eve… https://t.co/KwGcarzZVN— Rita (@Rita)1528396697.0
The ministry stepped in over concerns for the child's well-being and was removed from her parents a month after she was born.
When their custody case arrived in court, the couple refused legal aid and claimed that Jesus Christ was their "lawyer, witness and judge" in the form of the stuffed lion, with which they engaged in non-discernible discussions in court.
The Sun added:
When they cross-examined witnesses, they told each witness that their lawyer Jesus was asking the questions through them.
@OttawaCitizen @Schtaunkhauser How else are you supposed to speak to your lawyer?— Dirty Realtor (@Dirty Realtor)1528392598.0
@OttawaCitizen Really, it's a question of who you're listening to, Mufasa or Scar . . .— Ron Jenkins (@Ron Jenkins)1528393298.0
The judge wound up ruling in favor of the ministry and the child continues to be under their protective care, despite the parents' attempt at an appeal.
@hyggeKnytte @OttawaCitizen In fairness to the lion, I don't think it was his advocacy that was the families undoing— Travis Andersen (@Travis Andersen)1528396128.0
Reddit readers weighed in with their opinions on the outlandish court case.
The judge's decision was not based on the couple's religious beliefs. It was based on the mother's mental instability; evidence of domestic violence; and refusal of professional health care recommendations, and help with parenting. Feline intervention could only help the parents to a certain degree.
If the child remains under continuing care, she could be eligible for adoption.