In one of the weirdest performances ever seen in a court of law, the deranged parents of a toddler spoke in tongues and used a stuffed lion as an interlocutor to argue that anti-Christian bias led to their toddler being placed in foster care.
According to this report, the couple – known as AJ and DK – this week came before a British Columbia Supreme Court judge, Justice Diane MacDonald, to challenge the removal their child by speaking in tongues to the lion that they claimed was giving them direct counsel from God.
They rejected legal aid, preferring to advise witnesses:
It was their lawyer Jesus Christ asking the questions through the voice of the parent.
Alarm bells sounded shortly after the child – whom the mother wants to rename Jesus JoyoftheLord – was born in 2016.
The baby – CJ – was delivered in a home birth on November 1, 2016, with the help of a paramedic called by AJ’s anxious parents.
The young mother refused a host of medical procedures, including eye drops for the baby, a bilirubin blood test and a hearing test. She also:
Expressed unwillingness to allow the child to receive vaccinations.
Concerns had been expressed about AJ’s mental health and DK’s potential for violence. A specialist was assigned to work with the family, and the baby was placed in voluntary care with foster parents.
At the age of one month, AJ and DK took custody again, but just two weeks later the child was formally removed from the home as she was losing weight and AJ refused to give her anything but breast milk.
The original custody trial saw the Director of Child, Family and Community services argue that concerns over mental health, violence and medical care rendered AJ and DK incapable of caring for their baby.
The couple took the position:
That there are no child protection issues and that they are being persecuted for their deeply held Christian beliefs.
Even as the parents prepared for the initial trial to determine custody, the pastor of one church sought a restraining order against them.
The pair were criminally charged after a disturbance at another church in West Kelowna.
The original hearing was told that:
DK co-operated with the arrest but AJ rolled around on the ground and did not co-operate. The parents allegedly wanted to cleanse the church of evil influences.
In rejecting the couple’s challenge, MacDonald said she could find no error of law or discrimination in the original custody ruling. Rather, she found a decision made in the best interests of the child.
MacDonald’s review of the case was limited to errors of law, but she noted that the trial judge went so far as to state that:
He, himself, was a Christian and did not have any issue with their Christian family values.
This is a difficult case. The parents obviously love their child and wish to raise her in a home with their Christian values.
MacDonald’s ruling details a troubling history that has seen the couple move from community to community after alienating others in efforts to purge churches of “evil influences”.
MacDonald also went to great pains to establish what the trial was and was not about.
I restate that this hearing is not about the parent’s freedom of religion. Christianity is not on trial. The parent’s belief in direct revelation from God or in using the gift of tongues is not on trial. Home birthing is not on trial. The right not to use vaccinations or have one’s child not use vaccinations is not on trial.
The Ministry of Children and Family Development got involved with AJ and DK in 2016 after AJ told a facilitator at a lunch programme that DK had choked her and:
Believes sexual relations between children should be encouraged.
She would later deny making the disclosure, but the reports raised red flags because AJ was pregnant.