HEFLIN, Ala. — A couple is charging that social workers took their newborn the day after he was born because of their alternative lifestyle and religious beliefs.
“They said our view was dangerous,” Christian Holm said of social workers for the Cleburne County, Ala., Department of Human Resources (DHR). “We were just trying to follow the Bible as close as we could and speak for Jesus.”
Holm and his wife, Danielle, have no house and live off the grid. They gave away their possessions and decided to enjoy life by hiking and camping out. When the two wanted to see the country, they put their car in storage and walked from Alabama to New Hampshire and back.
They were camping out at Cheaha State Park in northeastern Alabama in October when Danielle went into labor. She went to the Regional Medical Center in Anniston, Ala., to give birth, and DHR social workers came to her room and started quizzing the couple about their lifestyle and where they lived.
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Christian said state officials opposed their religious beliefs about “man’s creation destroying God’s creation” and also had concerns that the couple didn’t want to give the baby a Social Security number, according to The Anniston Star.
Police and social workers took the baby and did not tell the couple where they could find it, The Star reported.
“They took the baby, said, ‘He’s ours and this is the court date. Be there.’” Danielle told the newspaper.
Two months later the baby still had not been returned and the Holms were still waiting for their day in court. A hearing in the case had been scheduled for Dec. 20, but it was cancelled after Judge Melody Walker recused herself, The Star reported.
The Holms have attracted a group of supporters in Anniston who picketed the courthouse after the hearing was cancelled. Supporters have organized under the tagline “#freebabyholm.”
“You can see when you talk to them directly that they are very loving and caring people,” Jonathan Payton, a friend and supporter of the Holms, told The Star. “That’s what really hit home.”
Christine Holm posted on Facebook Jan. 15 that the couple is getting a single two-hour visit a week with the baby.
“They say well you can have another ISP and arrange more visits,” he wrote. “What? Another organized coercion and conversion meeting just to have more visits? This is nothing but psychological control tactics to force submission at the expense of our little baby boy. Where is his so-called attorney to protect his rights?”
On social media, the public is divided.
“The Indians did it hundreds of years ago and had plenty more than we do now these days, why couldn’t they [also do it?],” one woman named Sherry wrote.
But others argued that modern society is different.
“The Indians lived in groups and took care of each other, food and shelter,” a man named Vince wrote. “The couple needs a plan to take care of this baby, it can’t live like they do, it needs special care, shots and meds. … Moving from place to place, out in the weather isn’t the best for anyone.”
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