Two New Convictions of Norway in the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in cases concerning child protection (Barnevern) and a similar case from my own “backyard”

November 28, 2021

The 12th and 13th cases in the past three years finding the Norwegian Child Welfare Services guilty of human rights offenses were decided on November 25th. If you would like to see the details of the cases and the statements of the Court, you can find them here and here.

If you would like to see all thirteen decisions and a previous one, you can find them here. I am thankful to Professor Marianne Skanland for compiling this list of cases.

As the number of such cases begin to pile up, it seems that the Norwegian Child Welfare services are oblivious to such proceedings. This response is inexcusable.

I was told by a case worker in Norway years ago that I shouldn’t be so concerned about Norway but should look to the problems within the American Child Protection Services. He was correct that we have similar problems in the U.S. and I have focused on them in more than one post. Here is one important article that focuses on promoters of forced adoption in the U.S. At the same time, American parents seem to have a better chance not to lose their children forever. There is no question we have problems here that need resolution. In my neck of the woods, the CPS appears to attempt reunification of parents with their children in a good percentage of cases. I know that things are not as good in many places in the U.S. And we have had our own strange cases here in Garland County.

One of the strangest Norway style events here involved the Stanley family in January of 2015. You can click on this sentence, taken from one of the reports of the incident, to see the entire story:

“Suddenly the door opened … and there were six or eight of them, came in the door, marched in there,” Hal showed. “Fully armed Sheriff’s and people stood there and said we’re taking the children for 72 hours.”

All of the Stanley children were rightfully returned to the parents eventually.

Here is a report and video from five months after the Stanley children were taken.

This is the video from the report:

What is happening in Norway garnered worldwide protests in 2016. The same types of incidents have created protests in rural Arkansas and in many other places in America. “Childnapping” is happening in the U.S. Sweden, Denmark, and England are just a few of the other countries where this problem has gotten very real to parents who never suspected that their children would be taken from them. This is a “first world” problem that many in Norway argue has become an industry. Thus, the focus on Norway which has sociologists that argue that half of all parents are not able to care for their children as well as the government can.

An interesting new “front” on the war against human rights violations towards families is taking place in Poland. A group called Ordo Iuris Institute for Legal Culture has taken an active role in several social questions, among them helping families against such injustices. It is a Polish Catholic organization and think tank. Not a fan of Catholic theology, I am a big fan of those trying to help others escape the long reach of certain governmental agencies that are in the business of wrecking families.

Ordo luris states in one of it’s publications that:

“…not only parents from Poland are asking for help from our lawyers, but also Poles from Germany, Norway and Great Britain, where the actions of oppressive child welfare offices lead to real tragedies. We cannot allow similar tragedies to take place in Poland as well.”

Here is one of the recent cases published by Ordo luris:


“Apart from co-creating pro-family law, it is equally important to provide comprehensive legal assistance to parents whose children are unjustly taken away. Recently, the quick reaction of Ordo Iuris lawyers led to the return of nine wrongly taken children to their mother, Mrs Ewa Bryła.

The children were placed in foster care, because the probation officer, after four months of supervision, arbitrarily stated that the mother was allegedly unable to raise them. The local Commune Social Welfare Center, which has been supporting the family for two years, did not agree with this opinion. The head of the center emphasized that during the long-term cooperation with the family, he had not noticed any gross irregularities that would authorize state authorities to take the children away from their mother. Its employees pointed out that the separation of the family was extremely harmful to the children and exposed them to breaking family ties with their mother, which are extremely strong.

Also, the doctor looking after the children did not say that they were neglected. On the other hand, the medical staff ensured that minors were guaranteed appropriate care. The local police pointed out that there were no interventions at Ewa’s house, no Blue Card procedure was initiated, and there was no addiction problem. In the family, there was only a problem with meeting the children’s compulsory schooling. However, Ewa, in cooperation with the family assistant and social workers, worked to overcome the emerging difficulties. The mother provided her children with the right conditions, encouraged them to learn, helped with homework and taught them good behavior.


The goal here is to keep people apprised of the issue to a degree that puts this subject beyond the suspicion that this is some conspiracy theory. The problem is real. It does not get the coverage it should because of all of the other societal problems facing us in our times.

Chris Reimers



History of the First Thanksgiving

November 23, 2021

By Rebecca Beatrice Brooks      

The first Thanksgiving was a harvest celebration held by the pilgrims of Plymouth colony in the 17th century.

Many myths surround the first Thanksgiving. Very little is actually known about the event because only two firsthand accounts of the feast were ever written.

The first account is William Bradford’s journal titled Of Plymouth Plantation and the other is a publication written by Edward Winslow titled Mourt’s Relations.

What is known is that the pilgrims held the first Thanksgiving feast to celebrate the successful fall harvest. Celebrating a fall harvest was an English tradition at the time and the pilgrims had much to celebrate.

The 53 pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving were the only colonists to survive the long journey on the Mayflower and the first winter in the New World. Disease and starvation struck down half of the original 102 colonists.

Read the rest of this brief history of Thanksgiving here.

I wish you and your family a nice Thanksgiving. There is so much to be thankful for. To God be the glory.

Chris Reimers


Collection of 70 Apologetics’ Illustrations

November 11, 2021

I have been following Pastor Jim’s blog named The Domain for Truth for several years now. He is a defender of the Christian faith as I understand it and the “about” on his blog tells you a little about him:

“His interests include Christian history, military history, apologetics, philosophy, politics and theology. He is a United States Marine Corps veteran, a graduate of UCLA and holds an MDiv and ThM.”

I am posting this for myself as much as for my readers. I want it in a place where I have easy access to it as I haven’t read all of these.

Enjoy.

By the way, Apologetics is not about winning an argument.
Apologetics (from Greek ἀπολογία, “speaking in defense”) is the religious discipline of defending religious doctrines through systematic argumentation and discourse. Early Christian writers (c. 120–220) who defended their beliefs against critics and recommended their faith to outsiders were called Christian apologists.

The Domain for Truth

collection_of_apologetics__illustrations

 

Over some years I’ve been slowly writing down illustrations that I thought might be helpful for sermons or evangelism that has apologetics’ thrusts.

Here’s 70 of them arranged topically.  Which one was your favorite?

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What is the Gospel? (In 7 minutes!)

November 7, 2021

https://www.truthforlife.org/thestory/#watch

The most important message for man today is the Gospel message found only in the Bible. Alistair Begg gives a quick synopsis, without all of the large theological terms, of it’s message.

Click on the link above to see these 3 videos:

Life After Lockdown

What is the Gospel?

What is the Story of the Bible?

May God bless your day.

Chris Reimers


How Did God Speak To You?

October 3, 2021

I have never heard God’s voice audibly and I agree with what Debbielynne has written here. I think this is an important post in our times when so many people are claiming to hear the Lord speak to them.

The Outspoken TULIP

When someone says that the Lord told her something, it’s good to feel uncomfortable. Occasionally, but all too rarely, she means that she learned more about the Lord during her time in His Word. Usually, however, she means that she received a personal message from Him, quite separate from anything He said in the Bible. If people challenge her claim, she’ll usually counter that God spoke directly to Abraham, Moses and Paul. Since “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8), it stands to reason that He would also speak to Christians now, she explains.

Well, God does speak to Christians now. He speaks every time we read His Word. Although many 21st Century evangelicals dismiss comments like that by adding that we mustn’t “put God in a box,” we should celebrate the wonderful truth that His Holy Spirit breathed His very words out through the…

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The Good News

August 31, 2021

There is nothing more important than the Gospel message. -cr


Scotland Allows Young School Children to Change Gender Without Parental Consent

August 16, 2021
Photo by Surian Soosay

Yes, you read the title correctly. Scottish authorities have officially gone insane. While listening to my favorite Scottish/American pastor’s sermon today, he mentioned this. It’s no wonder his mood seemed somber. I had to recheck his facts and, surely enough, it is true. Several different publications have reported the news. You can read one of the sources here.

“It was disclosed that any pupil who decides they want to switch gender must be supported and listened to in school following the Scottish Government’s advice.

The guidance applies in primary schools, where the youngest children are only four or five, because ‘recognition and development of gender identity can occur at a young age’.

It also tells teachers not to question a child who says they want to transition to live as a boy or a girl – and instead ask for their new name and pronouns.” 

Here is the report entitled Supporting Transgender Pupils In Schools, Guidance for Scottish Schools.

So, one European country will allow a pre-schooler to make a personal gender determination and another (Norway) won’t allow a child as old as 17 to have any say on whether he/she will be allowed to live with a parent or not. These inhumane and bizarre policies are now part of life in two countries with Christian legacies.

People who are creating these types of protocols are not considering the authority of God. Anyone familiar with and in the slightest agreement with Biblical statements regarding the treatment of children would recoil at such codes.

There is not a lick of wisdom in these types of rulings. Yet, Christians know where wisdom comes from:

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
-Proverbs 9:10

The lack of even a semblance of wisdom in this decision screams how spiritually bankrupt the originators of things like this are. This headline is another indication of how far nations once influenced by Biblical Christianity have fallen.

May God have mercy on us.

Chris Reimers



Personal Accounts of Siblings Cruelly Separated by the Norwegian Child Welfare System (Barnevernet)

July 26, 2021

The following statements are from three of the thousands of cases in Norway where siblings have been sadly impacted by the actions of the Norwegian Child “Welfare” System (The Barnevernet):

When the CPS separates siblings as well, they make you lose part of yourself

By Tonje Omdahl

How can the courts and the CPS Barnevernet have the authority to decide whether sisters and brothers in child protection cases are to be separated or not?

It is devastating when siblings are torn from each other and placed in separate foster homes. The reason is not that the CPS lacks foster homes or resources. Rather, I believe, it has to do with what and how the CPS employees choose their priorities.

I have myself been a victim of the results. It felt like the worst of betrayals! The CPS took us in what they claimed was an emergency, and my brothers and I were torn apart; separate emergency foster homes picked us up as if we were on display – take your choice! The worst of all was when we were driven away to separate places. As if we had not been hurt enough already.

I love my twin brother and our older brother. Why should the CPS punish us even more by separating us?

First, with lightening speed you are taken from mother and father and then you are forced from your siblings and have to learn to take care of yourself. In some cases, children who have not had it so good at home are torn from their siblings just when they need the security siblings give you. In other cases the CPS takes children from well functioning families and separates siblings. Regardless of the reason for being moved, siblings should have the possibility of growing up together, they should live under the same roof!

*

You should know your own brother and sister. That ought to be the first consideration when the authorities decide about children.

I know of many who have been torn away from their brothers and sisters and it is so incredibly sad to see, because to prevent that ought to be the first priority. The authorities ought to take action and change this!

Is it allowed to split siblings up like that, without good reason – I would think not. If the situation is that it is not possible for siblings to grow up together because of very special circumstances, then care should be taken that the contact is still maintained and siblings should be able to meet whenever they want to.

(Tonje Omdahl is 19 years old. She started writing a blog when she was in care and in spite of pressure from Barnevernet did not stop writing about her experiences. Since she came of age, she has been very active both writing critically about Barnevernet, taking part in events to have the state of affairs better known, and establishing contact with other like-minded individuals who are or have been in care.)

Samnanger Fjord (Photo by Aqwis)

The CPS took everything I had – and smashed it

by Kristine Bolstad

I will personally raise a complaint against the CPS – Barnevernet – in Samnanger for having destroyed my family. Samnanger Municipality forgot me in all the commotion. I was a sizable part of a whole, an important part, a sister and a daughter who saw it all. It was very traumatic for me.

My life was shattered and destroyed completely through all the nasty, untruthful play the CPS put on. I not only lost myself but my whole family and my security. Why was I forgotten in it all?

I had to witness my sister and my brothers leave, one after the other, while I was left at home. It was not a good feeling. When I could remain with my father, why did they have to leave? If the CPS held dad to be a bad father, why was I left behind?

Nothing here adds up. Our father was a good father. He did everything for us.

I still see them leaving, in my mind’s eye, while I had to say “Goodbye”. And my dear, lovely sister who looked on me as a ‘mammy’ – I was her ‘nanny’. Father and I were left there without them. I had a feeling of guilt and a hatred against myself for all they had to endure in their journey, while I had to just accept, and could do nothing for them.

To visit them, to have them wanting to come back home with us, while we were not allowed to take them with us, has implanted in me an anxiety in my daily life. Trauma and fear. I was a pawn in it all, but Samnanger Municipality has evidently forgotten me in the middle of it all.

*

You have no idea how much Samnanger CPS has destroyed for me – with anxiety, traumas, school, job. These days I see a psychologist because of it, me paying for what someone else has done to my life.

I have missed a lot because of what happened to my siblings and my father. And sure enough: I had not even given birth to my first child when the CPS started interfering in my life as a mother. I cannot find peace, I am afraid that my children will be taken from me, even though there is no reason to take them. The traumas from what happened to my siblings seem entrenched in me. To ask for help raises the alarm in me.

I could list all that has happened, but the municipality has it all in its papers and it has been published in the media. I was a big sister and a daughter; to this day I struggle with all that happened. I am still afraid. What the CPS in Samnanger has done, has scarred my soul and my heart. They took everything and crushed it to smithereens. Those years without my sister and brothers I will never get back. Never!

(Kristine Bolstad is the oldest of four siblings in the Bolstad family, one of three families in Samnanger subjected to Barnevernet’s actions for whom a proper investigation was carried out and a realistic report written, leading up to some redress for the families who had been separated and harmed by Barnevernet. Kristine was almost 17 years of age when Barnevernet took her three younger siblings, a heart-rending experience. She is now in her twenties and is a mother herself.)

Brothers and sisters of children in care

By the Skretting law firm

The Ministry of Children and Families does not want to make things any easier for the siblings of children whom the state takes into care – the forgotten, silent children!

Brothers and sisters have a human right to have contact with each other. That follows both from our Constitution Article 102 and from the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) Article 8.

It is tragic that the Ministry of Children and Families, in their Proposition 133 L (2020-2021), will not change child protection law so that siblings would on the basis of the Child Welfare Act be given a right to demand contact with their brothers and sisters. The Ministry will still leave such decisions to the Child Welfare Services (CWS, the Norwegian child protection services). The CWS is to have the power to grant visitation between siblings “to the degree that this is in the child’s best interest”.

The background to Norway repeatedly being found guilty of human rights offenses at the Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg is that contact with the biological family is so often considered by the CWS not to be in the best interest of a child taken into care.

We in the Skretting law firm support the human rights lawyers who assert that accepting the new child protection act proposed and passing it into law, will increase the risk of children and families being exposed to continued human rights deprivations by the authorities.

As we are passing into summer, our law firm would like to share with you a heart-rending message from a big brother who, ever since he was a little boy, has experienced violations of his human rights. He has only rarely been permitted to meet his younger sister, for 2 hours per year:

” I have a sister, 15 years old. As some of you may know – – – but when I shall soon pass through this door I shall get to see her for the first time this year ….  in 2020 I was allowed to meet her for 2 hours. And in 2019 I was able to see her for one day.

She is, as I said, 15 years old. …. Visitation for 2 hours per year. The child protection services Barnevernet hold that to be enough, and would prefer to give us no visitation at all.

Cool – aren’t the systems we have in Norway good! But what if they had functioned in practice too.

What have I done wrong to be denied communication? Madness … Something good about working a lot is that then I don’t have time to think about all this. That’s what I have found, and thank you, God, for that! “

(The law firm Advokatfirma Skretting is based in Stavanger. The senior lawyer, Arnhild Skretting, is active politically to bring about a change in legislation and practice regarding child protection, and the lawyers in the firm have for many years been strongly engaged for families attacked by Barnevernet.)

Editorial

Yes, here is another post about Norway’s “Child Protective Services” and how can anyone blame me? It has come to my attention in the past several years that things like the experiences described above are happening in many first-world countries. However, as far as I’m aware, Norway has had more recent criticism of its Child Welfare system than any other country. The horrid thing is that almost no one in the Norwegian government is critical of a system that has been condemned by the European Court of Human Rights along with many foreign publications in numerous countries.

Norway has been more “successful” than the best magicians. Somehow, it has continually hidden an orange elephant in plain sight. How has it done this? It has ignored the ECtHR decisions, it has far outpaced any national criticism with an aggressive campaign to promote the broken system, and it continues to write new laws that sound wonderful on paper but are a nightmare in reality.

I have done only a slight amount of research compared to the Skretting law firm but I have read enough to agree with them and other human rights lawyers who “assert that accepting the new child protection act proposed and passing it into law, will increase the risk of children and families being exposed to continued human rights deprivations by the authorities.” Like my own country, I have been keeping the country of Norway in my prayers. The rights of children and families worldwide seem in danger now more than ever. If blatant disregard for the rights of families continues in a “free” society like Norway, considered one of the “happiest countries on Earth,” how will the same problems in places where people have little to no rights ever be acknowledged and resolved?

Chris Reimers





The Greatest Commandment and Archeology

July 18, 2021

First I will share the greatest commandment and then I will share how I think archeology can relate to it.

34 But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him: 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment.” 39  -Matthew 22:34-39

Jesus said that we are not only to love God with all our heart and soul, but with ALL OUR MIND. Does it sound like He wanted us to turn off our minds when we consider spiritual things? No, it sounds like using our minds is one of the most important things. As we study the Bible, are we allowed to use our intellect to help us learn? It certainly sounds like it. Not only are we allowed to use our minds, we are supposed to. I believe the Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit and, as we read it, the Holy Spirit can help us to understand things we might not understand otherwise. At the same time, we are to use the mind that God has given us to search the scriptures like those whom Paul called “noble-minded” in the city of Berea: “for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11)

I read many views on this verse particularly noting the different ideas about what the mind represents. The one I liked the most stated: “Our mind is the faculty of understanding, what enables us to imagine and think and reason.”

Archeology is “the study of human history and prehistory through the excavation of sites and the analysis of artifacts and other physical remains.” Any “study” involves thinking and reasoning. Obviously, thinking and reasoning is done with our minds, thus, the connection between the greatest commandment and archeology. As the Bible is a historical book which discusses the past, present, and future, it is subject to archeological review as much as any other book if not more so because of its claims.

In High School, I cut my teeth on a book titled “Evidence that demands a Verdict, Historical Evidences for the Christian Faith” by Josh McDowell. Few titles better describe a book and there is a chapter in the book that is called “The Reliability of the Bible” that has a part called “Confirmation by Archaeology.” It is a relatively short portion of the book but one of the quotes found there is by Millar Burroughs, American biblical scholar, a leading authority on the Dead Sea scrolls and professor emeritus at Yale Divinity School:

“On the whole…archaeological work has unquestionably strengthened confidence in the reliability of the Scriptural record.”

I understand that much of the content of the Bible is questioned in our day including the historic accuracy that it contains. I would be the last person, at this time, to try and explain that we have evidences for everything in scripture. However, I think archaeology is an interesting area where we continue to learn as discoveries are made.

The Associates for Biblical Research track archeological finds that relate to the Bible. Below, I have featured several of the many videos they have made of exciting archeological finds for Christian believers. There is no question that there is disagreement on the intersection of the Bible and archaeology. Here is an article that proves this. It must be noted, however, that Christians have reasonable cause to be excited by the thousands of tangible finds that seem to validate the historicity of the Bible.

Here is the video that inspired this post:

Since I have made the case that the Christian is to use his/her mind, other Bible verses must be mentioned. The Bible puts our intelligence in perspective:

34 For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? -Romans 11

16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? -1 Corinthians 2

And then there is these verses (two of the most recognized verses of scripture):

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.

-Proverbs 3

There will be times when things are not so easy to understand: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully, just as I also have been fully known (1 Cor. 13:12).

So, no matter how much we study, and we should wish to be like the “noble-minded” Bereans, we will only know things in part in this life. That is a given. When these times occur, the verses from Proverbs 3 instruct us.

May God bless your study of His Word.

Chris Reimers

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Recent articles about the final video above:

Israeli Archaeologists Find Biblical Name ‘Jerubbaal’ Inked on Pot From Judges Era

Rare ‘book of Judges’-era inscription found in southern Israel


“When I passed by thee, I said unto thee, Live.”

July 8, 2021

“When I passed by thee, I said unto thee, Live.”
Ezekiel 16:6

Saved one, consider gratefully this mandate of mercy. Note that this fiat of God is majestic. In our text, we perceive a sinner with nothing in him but sin, expecting nothing but wrath; but the eternal Lord passes by in his glory; he looks, he pauses, and he pronounces the solitary but royal word, “Live.” There speaks a God. Who but he could venture thus to deal with life and dispense it with a single syllable? Again, this fiat is manifold. When he saith “Live,” it includes many things. Here is judicial life. The sinner is ready to be condemned, but the mighty One saith, “Live,” and he rises pardoned and absolved. It is spiritual life. We knew not Jesus–our eyes could not see Christ, our ears could not hear his voice–Jehovah said “Live,” and we were quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins. Moreover, it includes glory-life, which is the perfection of spiritual life. “I said unto thee, Live:” and that word rolls on through all the years of time till death comes, and in the midst of the shadows of death, the Lord’s voice is still heard, “Live!” In the morning of the resurrection it is that self-same voice which is echoed by the arch-angel, “Live,” and as holy spirits rise to heaven to be blest forever in the glory of their God, it is in the power of this same word, “Live.” Note again, that it is an irresistible mandate. Saul of Tarsus is on the road to Damascus to arrest the saints of the living God. A voice is heard from heaven and a light is seen above the brightness of the sun, and Saul is crying out, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” This mandate is a mandate of free grace. When sinners are saved, it is only and solely because God will do it to magnify his free, unpurchased, unsought grace. Christians, see your position, debtors to grace; show your gratitude by earnest, Christlike lives, and as God has bidden you live, see to it that you live in earnest.

Charles H. Spurgeon


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