A Christian family in Norway, whose five children were seized by the government to "prevent" them from being "indoctrinated" with Christianity last month, has launched a Christmas card campaign to get their kids back for Christmas.
"We will be mailing handwritten Christmas cards to all pertinent Norwegian entities and asking for them to help reunite" Marius and Ruth Bodnariu with their children, who were taken away by social services on charges of "christian indoctrination," the campaign says.
The campaign urges supporters to write hand-written messages on the cards, including this one: "Five children (ages 3 months to 9 years old) are currently in three separate homes away from their parents while Christmas is fast approaching! We ask that you please look into the Bodnariu case and into the abuses made against them by the Barnevernet [Child Protection Service]."
Cards will be sent to numerous Norwegian officials, including those at the Royal Court, the Prime Minister's Office, the Child Protection Service and the Minister of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion.
The children were seized on Nov. 16, based on a teacher's concerns about how they are being raised by "radical" Christians who were "indoctrinating" their children. The family's appeal of the agency's decision to remove the children from the home was rejected on Nov. 27.
An online petition, which has gained more than 37,500 signatures calling on the government to free the children, states that the Christian family "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 comment on the petition's webpage reads, "The religion of state now is being imposed and the religion of Christ, banned. No reasonable person can agree with that."
A protest has been scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C., and has been organized by Pastor Cristian Ionescu. Supporters will gather outside the Norwegian Embassy in Washington from 9 a.m. to noon on Jan. 8.
Officials went to the family's home on Nov. 16, allegedly without documentation, and seized two of the sons and arrested Ruth, who took her baby son, Ezekiel, with her to the police station, according to the British-based Christian Institute. Officials also went to Marius' work and arrested him.
After being interrogated for several hours, the parents and baby Ezekiel were freed and allowed to go home, but without the other children.
The next day, officials went back to the Bodnariu's home and took Ezekiel into custody on the grounds that Ruth was "dangerous."
The parents were allegedly refused access to their older children over the following couple of weeks and told that their children had adapted well in their new foster home and "didn't miss their parents."