Pastor Gets 27 Months for Helping Ex-Lesbian and Daughter Flee Country
By Jerry A. Kane
Two days ago U.S. District Court Judge William Sessions III sentenced Mennonite pastor Kenneth Miller to 27 months for helping Lisa Miller (no relation) and her seven-year-old daughter, Isabella, flee the country in 2009 to prevent her former lesbian partner, Janet Jenkins, from taking custody of the child.
"The horror of this cannot be overstated."—William Sessions III, U.S. District Court Judge
Last August, Miller was found guilty of aiding in international parental kidnapping and has been locked up on a contempt-of-court charge since January 24 for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury seeking information about others who were involved in helping the mother and her biological daughter flee the country.
"I've already surrendered my freedom to Christ, and if this is the path he chooses for me, I will walk it. I am willing to accept the consequences. I am at peace with God. I am at peace with my conscience. I give it over to God."—Kenneth L. Miller, Mennonite pastor
Miller told Sessions that the idea of same-sex marriage offended his religious convictions and he helped the woman and her daughter get out of the country to keep the girl from being raised by Jenkins and exposed to her lesbian lifestyle.
"He didn't see her [Jenkins] as a human being. He saw her primarily as a homosexual associated with the powers of darkness,"—Christina Nolan, Assistant United States Attorney
At the end of Monday's hearing, Sessions dropped the contempt charges saying it was unlikely that more jail time would compel Miller to testify. The judge also agreed to put Miller's sentence on hold until the appeal process is finished. Miller plans to appeal his conviction on the grounds that the case was wrongly tried in Vermont because no part of the crime or its planning occurred in the state.
In 2000, Jenkins and Miller were living in Virginia and moved to Vermont to obtain a civil union. The couple separated, and Miller renounced her homosexuality. She returned to Virginia with Isabella.
In 2008, a Vermont court granted Jenkins unsupervised visitations with Isabella, but the court's visitation order was nullified by a Virginia judge after the state's ban on same-sex marriage took effect. The Virginia Court of Appeals then reversed the judge's ruling and ordered Miller to obey the Vermont court order. Miller refused to give Isabella to Jenkins for visitations.
In September 2009, the Mennonite pastor took Miller and Isabella by car from Virginia to Toronto, Canada, where the two boarded a flight for Central America to live with Mennonites in Nicaragua before the court could award Jenkins custody of the child.
In November 2009, a Vermont judge awarded Jenkins custody of the child.
The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 made it illegal to help fugitive slaves flee the country, yet some people ignored the law and put themselves in harm's way to help fugitive slaves travel the Underground Railroad into Canada and Mexico.
During World War Two, people from many countries ignored Nazi laws and risked their lives to help the Jews escape genocide. They did it because they believed it was their "moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws."
"An unjust law is no law at all." It inflicts harm and creates chaos. It tramples freedom of conscience and does the exact opposite of what a just law is meant to do.
"[A]n individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law."—Martin Luther King, Jr., "Letter from a Birmingham Jail"
Well done, Pastor Miller. Our Constitutional Republic could have been saved had more Americans possessed the courage of your convictions.
"No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority."—Thomas Jefferson
For more on the story, see Pastor Sentenced in Vt. Lesbian Custody Case, Vt. Court to Sentence Pastor for Helping Ex-Lesbian, Child Flee Country, and Up to 3 years sought in Vt. custody dispute.
On January 20, 2010 Massachusetts elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate, indeed to the same seat once held by Democrat “Lion of the Senate” Ted Kennedy—this after exactly one year of failed Obamanomics. The special election result amounted to a political earthquake, which shook the Democrat Party, gave the GOP some hope for prospects in November, and validated the populist grassroots nature of the Tea Party movement. On the policy front, Scott Brown’s election from the bluest state in New England had national implications: it stopped the healthcare/health insurance reform effort in its tracks, at least temporarily. Nobody but nobody likes the Senate or the House versions of the bill as currently proposed, as they appear loaded with everything but common sense.
One week later, however, the president delivered a surprisingly tough State of the Union Address. In his speech, he lectured the Republicans and bucked up the Democrats, but also rededicated himself and America supposedly to his entire Progressive agenda. Having thrown a 12 to 40 percent budget increase into various government agencies already, he decided that it is time to call for a spending freeze…uh, next year. The spending freeze of course won’t affect defense, Medicaid/Medicare or Social Security. Moreover, he wants to beat that freeze as it were, by spending hundreds of billions of dollars more for a “Jobs Bill” this year, which really amounts to a second stimulus bill called by another name. He also expressed his intent to end tax cuts put in place by President Bush, at the same time he promises punitive financial measures on banks, which aren’t lending very much now as it is.
The logic of all this causes one to scratch his head or else accept the obvious, which is that the measures the president proposes lead to economic ruin; to future generations being saddled—nay, more accurately bridled by debt; and to socialist despair and equal poverty for everyone. The president will either go down in history as the most economically devastating the nation has endured since Hoover, or else the people will respond to the political emergency and quite apart from handling any financial crisis, seal his fate in the election of 2012 as a one-term wonder.
Meanwhile the outlines of political debate are taking shape on the Republican side. Two important books will be released this spring, which present the major outlines of intellectual argument for what to do on the right. One or the other approach for the country (or perhaps some hybrid of the two) will guide organized opposition to the administration for the next three years and potentially set the parameters for governance in the future. If as expected the GOP rebounds in 2010 and 2012 and perhaps comes into majority, the importance of the intellectual debate this season becomes clear. Every citizen and certainly every Tea Party activist needs to become conversant in the dialog. Ideas truly do have consequences.
The first book is called Courage and Consequence by former top White House Aide Karl Rove. It is a memoir and, as might be expected, provides a vigorous defense of the George W. Bush/Dick Cheney years in office. More importantly, the book serves not only to justify its policies but also to rearticulate and repackage operative neoconservative governing principles and philosophy, which guided that Administration.
The second book is Bringing America Home: How America Lost Her Way and How We Can Find Our Way Back by Tom Pauken, who served on President Reagan’s White House staff and who is currently the Chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission appointed by Governor Perry. As the title reveals, his is a virtual point/counterpoint to Rove. Pauken rejects “Big Government Conservatism” and argues strenuously for return to limited government free market solutions, as well as to strict interpretation of the Constitution including its inherent structure of federalism and states rights. He rearticulates and repackages the traditional or paleoconservative governing principles and philosophy.
Rove takes a more elitist “subject matter expert” approach and never shies from implementing optimal solutions using the coercive power of the federal government; whereas, Pauken takes a discernibly grassroots approach, which in effect embraces and potentially co-opts the resurgent populist impulse characteristic of town hall meetings and tea party rallies since Obama tried to socialize America. All around the country in 2010, the Republicans are fighting a critical internal battle for the soul and future of that political party. The populist Jeffersonian type may seem to have an upper hand after the GOP’s electoral defeat in 2008, but neoconservatives are fighting an end-run to hold on to the levers of power and continue influence in the Republican Party until they can take advantage of the inevitable disenchantment with Obama. It may be that this debate in 2010 will determine more than anything what Republicans look like in 2012, with critical implications for the future of the country if Obama gets tossed out on his ear.
_____________________Wesley Allen Riddle is a retired military officer with degrees and honors from West Point and Oxford. Widely published in the academic and opinion press, he ran for U.S. Congress (TX-District 31) in the 2004 Republican Primary. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The most revealing quote from Obama’s speech was his jab at the Tea Party and other American patriots when he said, “And as extremists try to inspire acts of violence within our borders, we are responding with the strength of our communities, with respect for the rule of law, and with the conviction that American Muslims are a part of our American family.”
Pay close attention to this statement by "our" President. In the same sentence, he is attacking Americans as "extremists" who are inspiring acts of violence, while giving his violent Muslim allies a clean slate!
Why is our unbiased media not asking who is it that is disrupting traffic in Times Square, spitting on the American flag, lighting it on fire; and using every sort of hate-filled speech imaginable? It is not conservatives or theTEA Party. They are Muslims. And their goal is the destruction of our country. Yet, our Commander in Chief uses every opportunity to praise them