A Canadian couple claiming a stuffed animal was their connection to God has lost their custody battle for their infant daughter.
The Vancouver Sun reports the couple spoke in tongues to a toy lion they said transmitted the word of God directly to them. They refused legal assistance, saying Jesus Christ spoke with them through the lion and that Jesus was their lawyer, witness, and judge.
During the trial, the couple spoke to the lion in an unfamiliar language and said they heard directly from God.
The Ministry of Children and Family Development had been monitoring the family for some time. After becoming pregnant, the wife told a social worker her husband beat her and sometimes choked her. The Sun reports she told the worker her husband grew up in a cult and believed sexual relations between children and adults should be encouraged. She denied the allegations when police interviewed her.
After the girl’s birth, the parents refused all medical tests and procedures including a hearing test and a blood test.
The girl was removed from the home a month after her birth and the parents continued to have supervised access.When the child custody case came to court, the couple refused legal aid and said the lion was their lawyer.
The Provinical Court of British Columbia placed the girl in provincial custody in November, when she was one. The parents appealed the decision to the supreme court of British Columbia.
The judge in the case said her decision was not based on religious beliefs but on evidence of domestic violence, the fact that the parents ignored health care recommendations, concerns for the mother’s mental health, and the couple’s inability to work with those who could support them in parenting.