Norwegian Christians “happy” for Bodnariu but “disappointed” after harsh criticism of the country

One month ago, the five Bodnariu children were finally returned to their parents. But what have been other consequences of the case? Norwegian Christian journalist Tarjei Gilje shares his views.

Joel Forster

OSLO · 11 JULY 2016 · 15:25 CET

A photo of the Bodnariu family shared on their official website in June 2016.,bodnariu, analysis
A photo of the Bodnariu family shared on their official website in June 2016.

Five weeks ago, the Bodnariu family announced that all five children would be returned to their parents.

Days later, the family was reunited. “It is very important for all of us to respect the privacy and uninterrupted intimacy of this family in the following period as the children resettle and reintegrate themselves in their natural family home and environment”, a spokesman of the family said.

Since then, the family enjoys a much more peaceful environment, and  the media have gonve “generally quiet”, Tarjei Gilje, one of the Editors at the Christian daily newspaper Dagen, told Evangelical Focus.



In the last months, thousands across the world, from India to the USA, demonstrated against the decision of the Norwegian authorities. Romanian evangelical Christians shared their vision (read Emanuel Tundrea’s article “Europe’s secularist agenda, the Bodnariu family and God”) and experts analysed the case.

What impact did the case have on the Norwegian churches? “I think many Christians have a feeling that Barnevernet needs to be looked after more closely. But I also think many Christians feel that much of the criticism against Barnevernet has been based on insufficient knowledge and prejudice. This applies especially for much of the criticism coming from abroad”, Gilje explains.


Tarjei Gilje, journalist at Dagen (Norway).

It seems obvious to many, now, that there is a “systemic problem in Barnevernet”, which has to do with “insufficient competence and too much power with local employees”, the journalist says.

“Furthermore, it is possible that we as Christians too easily have accepted that the state is given too central a role in relation to the families. This is partly because we in Norway have a high degree of trust in the authorities, and partly because of stories of how bad things can go when children are left alone in families where their very lives are in danger”.

Norwegian Christians “feel that the interference of the Barnevernet in this particular case was highly disproportionate, and are happy that the children are back with their parents”, he believes.



But Gilje, who has followed the Bodnariu case very closely, also believes that some have gone too far in their criticism of Norway as a country: “It has been disappointing to see how Christians in many countries are willing to make harsh statements against Norway and the Norwegian Barnevernet while their very statements prove that they have very limited knowledge of the Norwegian society.” 

The many messages on social networks and the content of some demonstrations created an uneasy atmosphere among. “Hardly any Christians in Norway - the country where this case has taken place - recognize the picture that has been drawn of our country internationally”, the journalist concludes. 

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