Amish-Mennonite pastor convicted of abetting kidnapping

A Vermont jury found an Amish-Mennonite pastor guilty Tuesday (Aug. 14) of abetting an international kidnapping to keep a young … Continued

A Vermont jury found an Amish-Mennonite pastor guilty Tuesday (Aug. 14) of abetting an international kidnapping to keep a young girl from her lesbian parent.

Virginia pastor Kenneth Miller, of the Beachy Amish-Mennonite sect, helped Lisa Miller (no relation) flee the U.S. with her daughter Isabella, who’s now 10. The pastor, who has become a hero among many religious conservatives who have followed the case, faces up to three years in prison.

Lisa Miller, who was part of a lesbian couple when Isabella was born, has since rejected homosexuality and declared herself a born-again Christian. She failed to live up to court orders that gave her former partner, Janet Jenkins, visitation rights with Isabella.

Kenneth Miller, prosecutors showed, helped arrange for Lisa Miller and her daughter to be driven to Canada and board a flight to Nicaragua in 2009, where his church runs a mission.

His lawyer argued that the pastor did not know he was flouting a custody ruling. Prosecutors, however, pointed out that the pastor took pains to hide some of his actions.

The Amish-Mennonites believe homosexuality is a sin. About 100 members of the sect sang “We Shall Overcome” outside the courthouse in Burlington where the pastor was convicted.

“We are of course disappointed,” the pastor said Tuesday after the verdict was read, according to The New York Times. “But with the grace of God and by his help, we will bear the consequences.”

Federal officials believe Lisa Miller and Isabella Miller-Jenkins are in Nicaragua, a country with which the U.S. has no extradition treaty.

Lisa Miller and Janet Jenkins entered into a civil union in Vermont in 2000; Lisa Miller gave birth to Isabella two years later after undergoing in vitro fertilization.

The custody battle over Isabella has made headlines since she was a toddler, when Lisa Miller moved from Vermont to Virginia, where a law bans the recognition of same-sex unions and marriages.

Even Virginia jurists have concluded, however, that federal anti-kidnapping statutes take precedence over the Virginia law and the federal Defense of Marriage Act. A Vermont judge indicated in 2009 that Jenkins would be awarded custody of Isabella if her former partner continued to defy visitation orders.

As the jury was deliberating Tuesday, Jenkins filed a lawsuit against Lisa Miller and Kenneth Miller, seeking unspecified monetary damages, according to The Associated Press.

No sentencing date for Kenneth Miller has been set.

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Religion News Service LLC.

  • brent1

    The Amish-Mennonites believe homosexuality is a sin. About 100 members of the sect sang “We Shall Overcome” outside the courthouse in Burlington where the pastor was convicted.

    30 years ago there was hardly a christian in America who did not believe gay sex was a sin. 50 to 100 years ago there was no one in America who believed homosexual behavior was okay. Our founding fathers all knew it was sin. There were sodomy laws in almost every colony. No christian who believes the Bible is literally God’s Word can except homosexual behavior. This pastor acted in accordance with biblical teaching and now he is being persecuted by our legal system. Further, the biological mother now has the child. The other woman is not her mother and certainly not her father. Biologically she is nothing to the child. However, since the days of Judge Bork natural law no longer applied in our legal system and we are bereft of all common sense, it should not surprise us that liberal judges in Vermont or elsewhere gave the custody of this child from her actual biological mother to her x-lesbian lover. We have become a nation of fools and these kinds of decisions only magnify our lack of common sense and wisdom.

  • MOmom

    Amen to to the comment made by the above poster. Not only was this lady not her mother or father (ha!) she wasn’t even her adoptive parent! This case should not just sicken every Christian, but every parent in America! Completely not right!

  • amelia45

    Back when this nation was founded, the idea that a country could elect the leaders of its government was almost unheard of.

    Back when this nation was founded some, but not most people, found slavery morally repugnant. It took hundreds of years more to end it.

    Back when this nation was founded, women were chattel, with few if any rights to hold money, own property, make her own life decisions, much less vote.

    It wasn’t too long ago, less than 50 years, that states still had laws that forbade a white person to marry a black person.

    Times change, cultures change, traditions change. Slavery is now condemned, democracy praised, women vote. It won’t be long before we recognize that gay people are exactly as God made them to be and that a gay parent can love a child and parent a child just as well as straight parents.

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