It only took a jury in Vermont four hours to convict a Beachy Amish-Mennonite minister, Kenneth Miller, of abetting a kidnapper in the case against Lisa Miller, who is refusing to let her former partner in civil union, Janet Jenkins, see their daughter in a court-ordered visitation. It seems that Ms. Miller became born again and left the union in 2003, and since then has been trying to strip Ms. Jenkins of her parental rights because, well, she's a lesbian. The Family Court has sided with Ms Jenkins throughout, and finally decided to transfer parental rights to Ms Jenkins in 2009. Ms. Miller then took their daughter Isabella to Nicaragua, which has no extradition treaty with the United States, to defy the court because, well, lesbianism.
How did a minister become involved? Below the great orange gavel, please.
Details from the New York Times and from Right Wing Watch demonstrate that this is a case where religious freedom is being used to cover criminal acts. This is clearly a kidnapping case, but why did Lisa Miller have to involve anyone else? Erik Eckholm of the Times explains that Miller would have been apprehended at any American airport because of the Family Court order. Hence
The defense did not contest telephone records, recovered e-mails and testimony indicating that Mr. Miller helped the mother, Lisa A. Miller, flee to Nicaragua with her daughter, Isabella, in September 2009. (Mr. Miller and Ms. Miller are not related.)Naturally, the Beachy Amish-Mennonites believe homosexuality is a sin.
Mr. Miller also arranged for missionaries of his Beachy Amish-Mennonite sect to shelter the mother and daughter, evidence indicated, and he later used deception to send them money.
Rev. Miller's defense? He was helping this heroine of the conservative movement flee an unacceptable situation and he didn't believe he was doing anything illegal (you know, lesbianism).
The crime carries a sentence of up to three years in prison. The FBI and Interpol are looking for Lisa and Isabella. In the mean time, Ms, Jenkins has filed a civil RICO suit
against Kenneth Miller and several others who allegedly played a role in helping Lisa Miller kidnap her daughter and leave the country, including Liberty University Law School and Thomas Road Baptist Church.Liberty University! From Right Wing Watch:
[I]n 2009, TRBC Head Pastor Jonathan Falwell was among several religious leaders who made a call for "Christian civil disobedience" and published a public declaration, known as The Manhattan Declaration stating that they "will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family."Yeah. You know, lesbianism. To hell with the laws that condone it.
All this will probably be tied up in the courts for some time, but it's just wonderful to see the law and order people excusing criminal actions when the well-being of a gay woman or man is at stake.