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Christian foster couple vindicated: Easter Bunny denial is not wrong Canadian court rules


Credit: Gertrud K./Flickr/Creative Commons

Derek and Frances Baars are a Christian couple who now live in Edmonton, AB, Canada. In 2016, the couple, who attend a Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, lived in Hamilton, Ontario and were fostering two girls, aged three and four.

They ran into problems with the Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton (CAS), the organization responsible for fostering, when the Baars refused to tell the two girls that the Easter Bunny was real.

Though they did not believe they should lie to the children in their care, the Baars nevertheless organized an Easter egg hunt for the two girls and had them dress up for the occasion.

The Baars were completely upfront about their beliefs. When they first applied to be foster parents, they told CAS that they would not lie about the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus, and that was obviously fine at the time.

In a dramatic conclusion, CAS gave the family one day’s notice before callously yanking the two girls from the home. CAS also ruled the Baars would no longer be able to foster other children.

Incredibly the case caught the attention of media around the world.

Frustrated by CAS’s decision, the Baars took the agency to court. And in March 2018, the court ruled in their favor stating CAS had violated the Baars’ “right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression.”

In making his decision, Justice Andrew Goodman wrote:

“There is ample evidence to support the fact that the children were removed because the Baars refused to either tell or imply that the Easter Bunny was delivering chocolate to the Baars’ home.”

The court described the agency’s actions as “capricious,” unpredictable or impulsive. The judge added that the agency’s decision was ultimately “not in the children’s best interest,” as the agency believed that the dramatic removal of the children was less traumatic than finding out the Easter Bunny was fake.

Justice Goodman said:

“Given the disruption of these young children had already face in their lives, there is no doubt that there was a need for stability, permanency and care in their lives. It is very clear from the evidence that the children were being cared for, the Baars were providing them stability and were turning their minds to the facets of care required for the children’s development and happiness.”

The judge also accused the CAS of possibly having an “underlying animus” or hostility to the Baars that seemed to stem from their case worker Tracey Lindsay.

An independent review of the situation by a child welfare expert submitted as evidence said Lindsay had “lost sight” of the children’s best interests and was more concerned about her “own agenda” that allegedly revolved around the Baars’ religious beliefs.

The Baars were not interested in money, but only wanted CAS to be reigned in. CAS has since apologized for how it treated the Baars.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. (1 Timothy 2:2 NASV)

Notice how he said to not only pray for the political leaders, Kings, but as well for “all those who are in authority.” This involves the bureaucracy that can sometimes be the source of persecution. It was Haman, a senior bureaucrat in the Persian empire, that manipulated King Ahasuerus to persecute the Jews in the Book of Esther.

Sources:

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