Canadian couple celebrate religious freedom victory: “We knew … God would take care of us.”
An Ontario judge ruled this week that a foster agency violated a Protestant couple’s religious freedom rights when it opted to remove two children from their home and ban them from fostering over their refusal to teach about the Easter Bunny.
Frances and Derek Baars didn’t grow up with the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus and didn’t want to lie about the fictional figures to the 3- and 4-year-old sisters in their care. Their convictions, based on Christian beliefs, raised concerns among the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) of Hamilton—which took the children away from the Baars with just a day’s notice, citing the couple’s refusal to respect their cultural traditions.
As committed members of a small Presbyterian denomination, the Baars assumed there would be instances where their values wouldn’t line up with CAS, a government-approved, secular organization that they knew placed kids with same-sex parents and supported gender transition for youth—but they never anticipated what happened back in 2016.
“If someone had told us then that the Easter Bunny and Santa would team up against us, we would have asked what they were smoking,” Derek Baars said this week in an interview with CT.
Like some in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, the Baars do not observe Easter and Christmas, keeping only the Sabbath as a holy day. When they became foster parents in December 2015, they altered their celebrations to purchase Christmas gifts for the girls and take them to a family gathering as well as a Sunday school program at another church.
Beyond their own theological views of Christian holidays, “We have a strict ‘no lying’ policy, because God is the God …