This story should serve as a warning for what happens when a government agency is given too much power.
Here in the U.S., we've looked most recently at power plays by the IRS and the USDA.
In Norway, the agency we'll talk about today is called Barnevernet.
Barnevernet, which is Norway's Child Protection Services, has been accused of kidnapping children.
If that sounds bad, well, you're right.
From ADF International Legal Counsel Laurence Wilkinson, writing in Forbes:
"Claims that Barnevernet is excessively interventionist in the way it handles child protection cases have mired the agency for years, especially in relation to foreign parents. In 1996, the [European Court of Human Rights] found Norway to have violated the right to respect for family life in the case of Johansen v. Norway, where Barnevernet had deprived a mother access to her daughter. In 2011, a diplomatic storm broke out when the authorities took two young children away from their Indian parents, who were living in Norway on a work visa. Barnevernet had cited cultural practices, such as feeding the children with their hands and sleeping in the same bed as them, as evidence that the parents were unfit to look after their children.
"More recently, the case of a young Christian couple who had all five of their young children taken away in late 2015 sparked global protests. Marius and Ruth Bodnariu lived in a rural Norwegian town with their five children, aged 3 months through 9 years old. Marius is an IT expert from Romania, who had moved to Norway and married Ruth, a Norwegian citizen, before starting a family. Without any warning, the Barnevernet appeared at the family home one day to announce that their two eldest daughters had been taken straight from school into emergency custody and proceeded to take the two eldest sons into their custody as well. Barnevernet returned again the next day, not to return the children, but to take away the 3-month-old baby."
A government agency took five children from a family without warning. After further investigation by the Romanian government, it turned out that the organization was worried about the children being "indoctrinated" by their parents' religious beliefs.
If that isn't a power grab, what is?
"In the context of a Europe that currently punishes businesses and individuals for their 'intolerant' beliefs on marriage and sexual orientation, many Christians will be watching this space closely for fear of the security of their own families."
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