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Victims of the War on Families
by J. Grant Swank, Jr., Pastor
10 May 2003

The abuses against parents by an overly zealous government continue.

What would you do if you were driving your family through a state within the Union, only to have law enforcement officers scoop up your children, take them away from you, accusing you, the parent, of abuse?

Brian and Ruth Christine, college graduates, simple living folk, were driving the family through Oregon. They stopped along the way in Grants Pass. While there they visited the neighborhood library. And that’s when the nuthouse tragic turn exploded in front of their futures.

Ruth was from England, Brian from Indiana. They considered themselves a happy family. Brian, wanting to be the best husband and father possible, became involved in Promise Keepers, a Christian organization. He was also a long time Eagle Scout.

Being born again believers, they do not drink alcohol nor misuse drugs. They attempt to live a godly example before their children.

While in the library, two law officers approached Brian. They told him that they were having to examine the children. They had received an anonymous call that said their children were dehydrated. With that, the parents were taken back to their vehicle and thus began hell on earth.

Brian inquired about his civil rights. The officer took offense at that. Therefore, the children were taken away, the parents hauled into court, and one travesty after another leveled against this family on vacation in Oregon. The start was in May 2000.

The children were taken away by a Services to Children and Families Agent who claimed the girls were dehydrated and malnourished. Further, Ruth was told that her unborn baby, when born, would have to be handed over to the agent as well.

The local newspaper splashed the situation across the pages with the horrific twist that Brian and Ruth were unfit parents. These two adults have no criminal records. They have never been accused of being psychologically unfit. They have always paid their bills on time. Yet now they are accused by the media and government as mother and father not capable of caring for their own.

Along this hellish journey, there has been nothing but the ‘good-ol-boy’ system set in place throughout the attorneys, doctors, clergy, KKK and others within the community. They stick together for they have discovered unfit parents and they are going to make them pay — big time.

Out of fear, Ruth fled the state to give birth. Brian stayed behind to fight for the return of his children.

To this date, Brian and Ruth are still victims of this injustice. Today, Brian and Ruth sit in prison, defended by an honorable lawyer, they are the victims of an ambitious character assassin, Atty. Rick Wesenberg, and the system that lets him run wild. Their lives have been ruined, their daughters taken away and little or no hope of ever being reunited with them in this life. And this happened in America...

Years ago, my teen son was in trouble. So he was seated in a police station. I stood in the room alongside him. When the police officer completed some of his paper work, I had some questions. I started to ask the officer my queries. He did not like me wanting answers to a few questions so he started yelling at me.

I stood my legal ground, asking why it was that I could not ask questions and get answers. With that, he moved into the hallway, continued to raise his voice at me, informing me that if I did not keep my mouth shut, he would arrest me for the weekend.

Other officers on duty gathered behind the screaming policeman and laughed heartily at me, a well-known pastor in town, being at the end of the officer’s mocking stick. I was shocked, humiliated and enraged. Yet I dared not speak one more word.

That night has haunted me for years. I cannot let go of it.

Even though I wrote a letter to the head of the department, complaining of the mistreatment leveled against me, the police corps banded together as one against me. I had not a chance. There was no other recourse but for me to live with the injustice.

I then thought of others who have endured far greater injustices. And now I come upon one of those situations in the lives of Brian and his wife and three daughters. So I relate to you the goings-on that continue to go on in one corner of our democracy or another. Because of what happened to me on a small scale, I can cry through the night on what is occurring to the Christine family.

I can fully believe it. I can fully understand. I can fully sympathize and weep. 

Joseph Grant Swank, Jr., is the Pastor of New Hope Church in Windham, ME.  He is a a graduate of an accredited college (BA) and seminary (M Div) with graduate work at Harvard Divinity School.  Pastor Swank has been married for 41 years and he has 3 adult children.  He is the author of 5 books and over 2000 articles in various Protestant and Catholic magazines, journals and newspapers. He writes a weekly religion column for PORTLAND PRESS HERALD newspaper, Portland ME.  His columns have appeared on,,,,,,,,, among others.

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