By Aaron Earls
A Christian couple in Canada lost their foster home and two girls in their care because they refused to say the Easter Bunny is real.
In a story that sounds too bizarre to be true, a Canadian judge ruled the Children Aid Society [CAS] of Hamilton violated the rights of Derek and Frances Baars by removing the girls over a dispute of the couple’s plans for Easter.
“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,” Superior Court Judge A.J. Goodman wrote.
“I am more than satisfied that the society actions interfered substantially with the Baars’ religious beliefs.”
CAS worker Tracey Lindsay acknowledged the girls — ages 3 and 5 — looked well cared for in all respects, according to a report from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
CAS said the children were removed because the foster parents refused to support the birth mother’s wishes and failed to be respectful of the children’s cultural needs.
“Nothing can be further from the truth,” the judge wrote. “It appears that the society would not be satisfied with anything other than confirmation from the Baars that they would lie about the Easter Bunny.”
The Toronto Sun reported that the Baars had made it clear to the CAS before being accepted as foster parents about their religious beliefs and that they “do not endorse Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny as they do not wish to lie to children.”
However, they said they wouldn’t do anything to ruin those childhood beliefs.
The only evidence offered at trial was testimony from Lindsay, whose evidence the judge rejected as “principally unsubstantiated and somewhat self-serving.”
According to the National Post, a report from a child welfare expert that was entered into evidence said the best interests of the children “were lost sight of and considered secondary to Ms. Lindsay’s own agenda.”
The Baars, who are members of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, said they were grateful the ruling had vindicated them.
“Many Christians have been praying for us and so—behind the actions of the judge, for which we are very thankful—we see the hand of God to direct him in the judgment,” said Derek Baars.
With this behind them, the Baars hope their current application for adoption will go much more smoothly now.
“Our names have been cleared and we don’t have that hanging over us anymore,” Frances Baars said.
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AARON EARLS (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.