47 responses

  1. Trovore
    December 31, 2009

    Excellent. If the circumstances are properly manipulated this incident can be used to cripple the religious right.

  2. John
    December 31, 2009

    Since Jan 1 is a Friday (and an official holiday), I wonder if any kidnapping charge, fugitive warrant or any other substantial legal move by the court would occur prior to Monday, Jan 4.

  3. —-
    December 31, 2009

    I actually feel bad for Lisa. She has been brainwashed by Evangelical whackos (redundant). I hope she realizes all the harm she’s doing not only for herself, but for the little girl.

  4. Richard W. Fitch
    December 31, 2009

    John – Even though 1/1/2001 is a legal holiday, it will not deter LEO from issuing traffic ticket and taking offenders to jail. If the courts have any legal and moral sense of the gravity of this case, I tend to believe a judge would spare 15 minutes of his day off to carry out the proper warrants.

  5. TampaZeke
    December 31, 2009

    Trovore, are you for real or are you trolling to set BTB up for a Bill O’Reilly, Peter LaBarbara outrage report about the nefarious scheming of the gay/liberal blogs to “manipulate” this situation to attack the religious right?

    I for one have no intention of manipulating ANYTHING to cripple the religious right. All we have to do is shine light on them and accurately report what they do to expose their nasty, hateful, homophobic agenda.

  6. Rich
    January 1, 2010

    Let’s see of they issue an Amber Alert for the missing child. Or is that only for the children of ‘normal’ parents?

  7. lurker
    January 3, 2010

    Trovore –

    there is absolutely nothing “excellent” about this situation. It is shameful that governments in two American states have swung this child’s life back and forth between her parents for most of her life. I feel badly for this kid, and am wishing her well tonight – regardless of which parent is more in the right or wrong.

  8. johnny
    January 4, 2010

    This girl only has one parent, her mom. Jenkins has no biological relationship to the girl. Why should a stranger get custody over the girls actual mother? What kind of twisted legal decision is that?

    Also, just a little digging through the internet reveals that during Jenkins’ unsupervised visits, the little girl came back home very disturbed, talking about suicide and things she had never talked about before. If it were my kid, we’d be out of that place in a heart beat.

  9. Priya Lynn
    January 4, 2010

    Johnny, that is a lie. Miller made up all manner of lies in an attempt to deprive the child of a relationship with her mother. Jenkins and Miller made a committment to raise the child together and Jenkis is as much the child’s mother as is any adoptive parent. Biology alone means nothing. Many biological parents are terrible people and many a non-biological parent is an outstanding parent.

  10. Christopher Waldrop
    January 4, 2010

    Johnny, when you say, “This girl only has one parent, her mom” are you implying that Isabella is the product of immaculate conception?

    As for your question, “Why should a stranger get custody over the girls actual mother?” I believe Priya has said it better than I was going to, but adoptive parents also have rights even though they may have no “biological relationship” to the child they’ve adopted. And in this particular case I don’t think it’s a “twisted legal decision”. The judge got information from the people involved, not from a little digging through the internet. Based on that alone I’d say the judge has more–and better–information than you do.

    It’s your own logic that’s twisted.

  11. Jason D
    January 4, 2010

    “This girl only has one parent, her mom.”

    FALSE. Up until their breakup, Isabella was being raised by bother of her moms, Janet and Lisa. They agreed to bring this child into the world and share responsibilty. Some time after the breakup Lisa was accepting child support from Janet.

    Jenkins has no biological relationship to the girl.

    Irrelevant, adoptive parents have no biological relationship but still retain parental rights and responsibilities. Janet also has a history with Isabella and has served as a defacto parent. The decision of Miller and Jenkins to have a child brought Isabella into this world, she is just as responsible for that decision, and it’s consequences as Miller.

    Why should a stranger get custody over the girls actual mother?

    False. Janet is NOT a stranger. She is Isabella’s second parent. This is not a difficult concept unless one is willfully disregarding the facts of the case based on the bias against homosexuality and homosexual relationships. Bias is not a legitimate reason.

    What kind of twisted legal decision is that?

    False. The only thing twisted is your desire to muddy the waters by dismissing the facts of the case.

    Also, just a little digging through the internet reveals that during Jenkins’ unsupervised visits, the little girl came back home very disturbed, talking about suicide and things she had never talked about before. If it were my kid, we’d be out of that place in a heart beat.

    A pretty standard tactic in custody battles is to lay false claims of endangerment, abuse, and neglect on the other parent. Miller could not substantiate her claims with any evidence.

  12. truthspeaker
    January 7, 2010

    So, you think it’s morally right to take away a child’s biological parent who gave birth to her, loves and cares for her, to somebody who is not related to her at all, in the name of “gay rights equality”?

    Why biological parents, like Lisa Jenkins, should be punished for wanting to raise their kids according to the morals of their religious beliefs, which is btw, guaranteed by the 1st Amendment?

    I am wondering what’s going to be next with the gay rights movement: taking children away from Christian parents who teach their children that homosexual lifestyle is a sinful perversion, possibly?

  13. truthspeaker
    January 7, 2010

    Oh, my mistake, I posted “Lisa Jenkins” instead of “Lisa Miller.” I don’t understand why Lisa Miller should be punished for her actions.

  14. Jarred
    January 7, 2010

    Truthspeaker: It’s funny how so many Christians will defend Miller’s “right” to raise Isabella in accordance with her new-found beliefs, yet fail to address the issue that Miller’s new-found beliefs also call on Miller to keep her word.

    Miller was in a civil union with Jenkins. She and Jenkins planned to have a child together. She was artificially inseminated and made a commitment to raise Isabella together.

    Then Miller and Jenkins decided to break up. Again, they made a commitment to continue to raise Isabella together. Twice, Miller made a commitment and gave her word.

    Now suddenly, Miller wants to break her word. In case you forget, that’s a huge no-no in Christianity. But apparently, according to Miller’s supporters, that’s okay. That requirement of Miller’s faith can be conveniently ignored, apparently.

  15. Burr
    January 7, 2010

    Nobody wanted to take Isabella from Lisa Miller outright to begin with, so that notion is completely false.

    Miller chose to share her offspring with Jenkins through the legal contract of a civil union. Now she has decided to breach the contract and break the law by kidnapping her. It is through these reckless illegal actions that she has conceded her right to custody just like any other law-breaking criminal parent.

  16. truthspeaker
    January 7, 2010

    Lisa Miller after she moved to Virginia, has filed for a custody of her daughter with her lawyers in Virginia, they are called Liberty Counsel, or something like that.

    It looks like that this situation is more complicated than it appears to be, especially if we take into consideration that Miller legally resides in Virginia while Jenkins lives in Vermont, and Virginia does not recognize same-sex unions, performed out of state. I think that Miller’s lawyers should negotiate some kind of a deal with Jenkins’s lawyers in Vermont. That seems to be like the best option.

  17. Priya Lynn
    January 7, 2010

    Whenever someone uses a name like “truthspeaker” you can pretty much bet what they say will be anything but.

    BSspeaker the courts in Virginia have acknowledged that the Vermont courts have jurisdiction over this case. Miller’s lawyers are in no position to negoticate anything, custody has been settled and it won’t be changed. The best option, as it was in the beginning, is for all parties to follow the law.

  18. truthspeaker
    January 7, 2010

    Miller still has the right to appeal, and the civil law, as this case is, is not so black and white, as criminal law is.

    As far as I can see, even though Virginia acknowledges the same-sex unions out of state, that does not automatically gives Virginia courts a green light to deny parental custody of Virginia’s legal residents, as Lisa Miller is.

    I just don’t understand on which legally established grounds, children should be taken away from their biological parents who gave birth to them, raised them, love them, and do not demonstrate any physical or psychological abuse?

    Unless maybe in Vermont, there is an established law, staing that practicing homosexuals (something that’s a personal choice, btw) have a right to claim any children they want as their own. I don’t live in Vermont, so I’d like to know, is there such a law up there?

  19. Jason D
    January 7, 2010

    Truthspeaker, if you’re going to use that name, you might want to actually speak the truth.

    So, you think it’s morally right to take away a child’s biological parent who gave birth to her, loves and cares for her, to somebody who is not related to her at all, in the name of “gay rights equality”?

    Quit pretending that Jenkins is some unrelated stranger, some random woman off the street. For all intents and purposes Jenkins is Lisa’s ex-wife. Even though Jenkins does not have a biological link to Isabella, she does have a history and a relationship that Lisa has been interfering with for quite some time. Jenkins was there, with Lisa, raising her for the first year of her life.

    Just because the relationship has ended does not mean Jenkins motherhood of Isabella has to end.

    This is not in the name of gay rights equality. Similar situations have existed with adoptive parents as well. Biological links are not trump cards, and haven’t been for quite some time.

    “Why biological parents, like Lisa Jenkins, should be punished for wanting to raise their kids according to the morals of their religious beliefs, which is btw, guaranteed by the 1st Amendment?”

    Her beliefs are certainly guaranteed by the first amendment, but that doesn’t excuse her actions. She does not have the right to force Jenkins out of Isabella’s life just because she wants to forget the whole thing happened. She’s not being punished for anything other than a simple, obvious, legal reason: she’s avoiding her responsibilities.

    And what of Jenkins rights? Or do gay people not deserve any 1st Amendment rights?

    I am wondering what’s going to be next with the gay rights movement: taking children away from Christian parents who teach their children that homosexual lifestyle is a sinful perversion, possibly?

    False comparison.

    Why someone who calls themselves Truthspeaker is so unwilling to speak the truth is rather ridiculous. Jenkins is not some stranger—- in fact, she’s part of the reason Isabella exists in the first place. Without Jenkins, would Lisa have had a child by artificial insemination? Not likely. If Jenkins and Miller had never met, never fallen in love, never entered a civil union — Isabella would not be here today. Two people agreed to raise a child, now one of them wants to pretend that never happened.

    Religious beliefs do NOT permit people to break the law and not live up the agreements they make. You don’t get to convert to a new religion and cast off the responsibilities you had before your conversion at least not in the legal sense.

    Seems to me that those who support Miller live in denial. Denial that the relationship took place. Denial that there was a civil union. Denial that Isabella was brought into the world because of two women who wanted a child to raise together. Denial that Miller accepted child support from Jenkins. Denial of the legal precedent that non-biological parents DO have standing in a court of law. Denial that Jenkins was even there for the first year. Deny, deny, deny.
    Chances are good that if the situation were reversed, if Jenkins were the biological mother and keeping Isabella away — their sympathies would lie with Miller still.

    This is a good example of exactly why we need equality before the law. Because until we do, certain people will think their religion entitles them to treat us like dirt, deny our existence, our relationships and even our parental rights to our children.

  20. Jarred
    January 7, 2010

    Truthspeaker, have you actually read any of the comments here? Have you read any of the responses made directly to you?

    Lisa Miller originally named Jenkin’s Isabella’s other parent. The couple even raised Isabella together for a year. At the time of breakup, the custody arrangement acknowledged that both women were still both parents to Isabella.

    This isn’t about Janet Jenkin’s trying to “claim a right to any child.” This is about the courts demanding that Miller live up to her agreements. She has a right to see and help raise Isabella because that was always the agreement until Miller suddenly and capriciously changed her mind. The courts have simply told Miller that she doesn’t get to change her mind without good reason. And Miller hasn’t provided sufficient reason.

    And again, I note that living up to one’s agreements is a requirement of Christianity. But apparently, only the principles of Christianity that suit your agenda matter to you.

  21. Priya Lynn
    January 7, 2010

    BSspeaker said “I just don’t understand on which legally established grounds, children should be taken away from their biological parents who gave birth to them, raised them, love them, and do not demonstrate any physical or psychological abuse?”.

    On the grounds of physical and psychological abuse. On the grounds of being an unfit parent. Miller abused Isabella when she denied her a relationship with her mother. Miller has now put Isabella at risk by taking her away from a stable life into a criminal life on the run. Miller is not a fit parent and the court has rightfully awarded custody to Jenkins.

  22. Alex
    January 7, 2010

    “…staing [sic] that practicing homosexuals (something that’s a personal choice, btw)…”

    Haha I love how you had to get that little dig in there, Truthspeaker.

  23. truthspeaker
    January 7, 2010

    Certainly gays should have a legal right to life, liberty, property, and privacy, but I don’t think that they (gays), or anybody else, should have a legal right to punish those who disapprove of their lifestyle.

    Like I said before, if there is a written law in Vermont that clearly states that practicing homosexuals have a right to claim any children they want as their own, then it would be fair to say that the custody decision ruled in Jenkins’s favor was just. But I haven’t heard about such a law, so that’s why I think that the decision was unfair.

  24. Jarred
    January 7, 2010

    So you believe that heterosexuals should be allowed to break contracts they agreed to when it suits their whim? What constitution enshrines that particular right?

  25. Burr
    January 7, 2010

    Are you a moron? This isn’t a “practicing homosexual claiming any children she wants on her own.” This is one of Isabella’s mothers, whom she spent a whole year with, and Lisa Miller’s ex-partner.

    Stop being a willful idiot and READ.

  26. Priya Lynn
    January 7, 2010

    BSspeaker, gayness isn’t a lifestyle anymore than heterosexuality is a lifestyle – its bigotted to use such terms.

    Nowhere do gays have a legal right to punish those who disapprove of them and no one has ever been punished merely for disapproving of gays – that simply is a lie.

    The civil union law in Vermont established tha both Jenkins and Miller are Isabella’s parents, a condition they both agreed to when they conceived Isabella. There is nothing unfair about requiring people to honour their legal committments. Miller had every opportunity to remain the custodial parent but through her own criminal actions she has now lost custody. She has no one to blame but herself.

  27. Jason D
    January 7, 2010

    Truthspeaker:

    I just don’t understand on which legally established grounds, children should be taken away from their biological parents who gave birth to them, raised them, love them, and do not demonstrate any physical or psychological abuse?

    Did you bother reading anything about the decision. It’s rather simple. Miller agreed to allow visitation, even accepted child support from Jenkins. Somewhere along the way she stopped allowing visitation. Consistently.
    She lost custody because she wasn’t living up to her obligations.

    She was in contempt of court for this. Thus the only way the judge could see for Jenkins to see her own daughter was to give her custody. Jenkins is perfectly willing to allow Miller visitation.

  28. truthspeaker
    January 7, 2010

    So, Burr, I’m assuming you’re Jim Burroway. [ed: Burr is not Jim Burroway] On gays wanting to punish those who disapprove of homosexual lifestyle, I suggest you read the book called “Homosexual Agenda” by Alan Sears and Craig Osten. In it, it lists so many examples of legal litigations, where Christians have been fired from jobs, expelled from colleges, and even questioned in their abilities of parenting, just because they openly expressed their deeply held beliefs, such as that homosexual behavior is a sin. This book is not designed to spew hatred againt gays, but it exposes the truth how people’s rights to live freely according to their beliefs, have been curtailed, in the name of “gay equality rights,” that’s something that liberals like you don’t want people to know. Those were the real cases where Alliance Defense Fund lawyers were directly or indirectly involed. I hope that ADF will also help Miller and that she wins the case.

    Please, don’t call me a moron. I understand that my words hurt your feelings, but there’s no reason to justify personal attacks for that. I don’t mean to hurt you, but I want for you to admit the fact, that there has been a lot of intolerance done to those who don’t approve of homosexual behavior, and this is very undemocratic and unAmerican. That’s all.

    And yes, in the realm of civil law, nobody, whether you’re heterosexual or homosexual, has an automatic right to break any civil contracts any time they want. Civil law is very gray, unlike the criminal law that is so black and white. It really depends on a situation and a timing a contract was made, which makes the Miller vs. Jenkins situation so complicated. While the law of Vermont names Jenkins as Isabella’s mother, the law of Virginia, where Miller and Isabella are now legally residing, do not name Jenkins as being the parent. There are a lot of things that we don’t know that could also have a different effect, if the case gets tried in Virginia.

    Also, just because somebody is legally considered to be a parent of a child, even biological one, if that person does something that the other parent considers could improperly influence a child, the biological parent could also lose custody. Let’s imagine, that instead of Janet Jenkins, Lisa Miller was married to Isabella’s biological father, the sperm donor. Then they got divorced, and while the biological father was visiting Isabella, he was serving beer to her. In that case, he would be denied custody to Isabella, even though he is her biological father. Something to think about.

  29. vasya
    January 7, 2010

    what is so bigotted about calling anything a “lifestyle?” Lifestyle is how people live their lives, some live heterosexually, some live homosexually, some live bisexually, some celibately, some live singely. In America, everybody has a right to live any lifestyles they want, but also in America, everybody is allowed to criticize other people’s lifestyles, that goes under 1st Amendment, freedom of speech.

  30. Priya Lynn
    January 7, 2010

    BSspeaker, skinheads have deeply held beliefs that blacks are inferior, a belief being “deeply held” doesn’t automatically mean it deserves any respect. Spare us your references to propganda books about the “gay agenda”. The gay agenda is to be treated equally under the law, not to be fired from your job or evicted from your home for for something unrealted to your ability to be a good employee or tenant. That is precisely the point of such books, to spew hatred against gays. No one has been punished merely for disapproving of gays. A handful of people who’ve gone out of their way to create a hostile work environment have been rightfully punished for that, just as they would have been if they had come to work and harrassed other employees because they are black or Jewish.

    BSspeaker said “While the law of Vermont names Jenkins as Isabella’s mother, the law of Virginia, where Miller and Isabella are now legally residing, do not name Jenkins as being the parent. There are a lot of things that we don’t know that could also have a different effect, if the case gets tried in Virginia.”.

    Virginia courts have accepted that Jenkins is Isabella’s mother and have accepted that Vermont has jurisdiction in this case. Under no circumstances will courts in Virginia have any say in the matter. Virginia has followed precedent in family law throughout the United States and that isn’t going to change.

  31. Priya Lynn
    January 7, 2010

    Vasya said “what is so bigotted about calling anything a “lifestyle?””.

    Who we are attracted to says nothing about our lifestyle. People never refer to the “heteorsexual lifestyle” as though that says anything of substance about heterosexuals. Who we are attracted to is a core part of who we are, it is not a trivial thing that is chosen and can be changed whimsically as is suggested by the phrase lifestyle. Being gay is not a lifestyle, it is who people are just as being heterosexual is a core part of who heterosexuals are.

    Gays live all manner of lifestyles to suggest there is only one lifestyle summed up by the phrase gay demeans and trivializes gay lives.

  32. Jason D
    January 7, 2010

    what is so bigotted about calling anything a “lifestyle?”

    It isn’t when it refers to actual lifestyles.

    Lifestyle is how people live their lives, some live heterosexually, some live homosexually, some live bisexually, some celibately, some live singely.

    No, those are characteristics of a person, not lifestyles. If you talk to a few actual gay people you’ll find they vary quite a lot in how they live. There is no “homosexual” way to live.

    Homosexual is a component of who I am, not my plan for living. Certainly not my style of living.

  33. Burr
    January 7, 2010

    It’s not a personal attack when the evidence is sitting right in front of us that you continue to manufacture a circumstance which does not exist, [ed: omitted.]. She’s not a stranger. That has been established several times in this thread.

  34. Timothy Kincaid
    January 7, 2010

    vasya,

    The problem with “lifestyle” is that it presumes that sexual orientation does not exist but rather that gay people are defined by some way of living that they voluntarily select. It assumes that all gay people are homogeneous and live similarly.

    Consider how ridiculous it would be to talk about a “Methodist lifestyle”, or a “German-American lifestyle” or a “pistachio ice-cream lover’s lifesyle”. What would that mean? These are but attributes of a selection of very diverse people.

    So too are gay people very different. Some are devoutly religious, some are Republicans, some are homebodies, some are doting parents, some are community leaders, none of which probably fits in your mental picture of “homosexual lifestyle”.

    There is no “lifestyle” to criticize. There is only that gay people are attracted to the same sex and thus date, fall in love, and marry in accordance with that attraction.

  35. Burr
    January 7, 2010

    There is also zero legally substantiated evidence that Jenkins had any improper influence on her child. Meanwhile on the other side we have a parent who spews biblical platitudes every other sentence, exposes her to crazed activists, and now has taken her into a criminal lifestyle of eluding the law.

  36. Jason D
    January 7, 2010

    “Also, just because somebody is legally considered to be a parent of a child, even biological one, if that person does something that the other parent considers could improperly influence a child, the biological parent could also lose custody.”

    The example you cite is that of illegal activity, hardly comparable to a parent who decides her ex’s sexual orientation is suddenly a problem. Jenkins isn’t doing anything illegal. The fact remains that if Jenkins being a lesbian is a problem, why did Miller agree to enter a civil union with her and also agree to have a child with her?

  37. truthspeaker
    January 7, 2010

    Priya Lynn,

    Obviously you haven’t read the book I suggested, so you have no idea what you’re talking about.

    Second, comparing skinheads to biblically based Christians is apples and oranges. Skinheads commit and advocate violence against blacks and gays, as well, while conservative Christians abhor acts of violence against ANYBODY. They only preach what behaviors is morally acceptable, and what behaviors are not morally acceptable.

    Third, you are assuming about what MIGHT happen to Lisa Miller in Virginia. As of today, no Virginia judge made any order whatsoever regarding her custody rights in Virginia. As I can see, this case is more complicated that I thought before, and I have no opinion what might or what should happen. Only time can tell.

  38. Jim Burroway
    January 7, 2010

    “truthspeaker”

    If you’re really going to use that moniker, then you should at least try to learn the truth before speaking. Burr is not Jim Burroway. Jim Burroway is Jim Burroway. Unlike people who use fake monikers, I stand behind my good name on everything I write.

  39. Jason D
    January 7, 2010

    “Obviously you haven’t read the book I suggested, so you have no idea what you’re talking about.”

    truthspeaker, if you’re going to make your case, make it. The onus is on YOU to make your case, not to give us homework.

    You present YOUR case and we’ll address it. If you want to rely on the work of others, then quote them, and provide links to your sources.

    We’re not going to do your work for you.

  40. truthspeaker
    January 7, 2010

    I’m sorry, Jim, I didn’t know. Thank you for clarifying. It’s just the screenname of Burr, sounded so similar to Burroway, so I wanted to make sure who’s who. Now, that I know, I won’t make the same assumption. However, I still would like to tell you that I never meant to hurt your feelings with what I’ve said.

    The book I mentioned, I listed several cases, and it’ll be too long to list them all. I’ll make a case for one, though. In Minnesota, there was a case where all prison guards who were working for Minnesota Department of Corrections, were ordered to attend a seminar on the tolerance and sensitivity to homosexuality and gay people. There were some Christian CO’s who initially requested to be excluded from attendance relying on religious grounds. After the request was denied, they came to the seminar but started reading Bible’s passages that condemn homosexual behavior. For their actions, the Christian guards received letters of reprimand. With the help of Alliance Defense Fund, they filed a legal complain, and the federal court of Minnesota eventually has ruled in their favor, by stating that Minnesota Department of Corrections has violated their 1st and 14th amendment rights.

  41. Richard W. Fitch
    January 7, 2010

    Truthspeaker – Your reference to the book by Sears and Osten turns up a very interesting review when one goes to Amazon for an overview. Granted, the book gets an overall rating of 3/5 stars; however, the distribution is very telling. Of 78 entries, 36 are 5′s, 33 are 1′s (because that is the lowest allowed), 5 are 2′s, and 2 each at 3 and 4. That indicates a rather radical polarization of opinion. What I found most interesting was the first entry by Mark McElroy. Rather than quote, I encourage interested readers to review that and other entries at Amazon.

  42. Timothy Kincaid
    January 7, 2010

    Let’s return this thread to the Topic (which is not some anti-gay book).

  43. vasya
    January 7, 2010

    I just found out that Virginia court ordered Miller to turn over Isabella to Jenkins in Vermont, which she can appeal and she will. I also found out that Virginia police are searching for her just to make sure she and the girl are safe. They cannot legally charge her with anything, because she has not broken any criminal laws of Virginia. Something tells me that her lawyers know about what’s going on, but won’t tell the public. Very interesting story, I might say. It’s so unpredictable of what might happen next.

  44. Doug Parris
    November 26, 2011

    Lisa Miller is the mother, biologically and morally. Janet Jenkins is the kidnapper and the court is an accessory.

  45. Priya Lynn
    November 26, 2011

    Miller is the kidnapper, Janet Jenkins is the mother and the court is the tool of justice. It takes more than genes to be a real mother.

  46. Timothy Kincaid
    December 1, 2011

    Doug, here’s a challenge for you:

    Think about what makes something “moral” or “immoral”.

    Now the easy way out – the way that thoughtless fools take – is to define “moral” as “what my church tells me is moral”. As long as it’s just a listing – Column A is moral, Column B is immoral – then we don’t have to do any thinking at all.

    Those who have a smidgen more intellect, will define moral as “what God tells me is moral”. But then comes the problem of how God told them that.

    Very few came across a talking burning bush or anyone in a chariot of fire, so when we trace back that message from God, it suddenly is revealed to be nothing more than a dressed-up version of “what my church tells me.” Some like to offer indirect divine instruction such as “God laid in on my heart” of “the Holy Spirit convicted me”, but oddly enough these messages from God and the Holy Spirit invariably agree with what some church is telling them. And those who go for “it’s in the Bible” seem never to have read that book, relying instead on what their church tells them it says.

    (I love those who say that the Bible condemns same sex marriage. It seems to be on the same page that God weighed in with his opinion on helicopters and microwave ovens and right after the verse that says that God helps those who help themselves.)

    And no one ever considers… if God is telling you things, how do you know that your god is moral? What if he’s really more like Loki than Thor? What if he’s just telling you that something is moral when, in fact, it’s horrific.

    So here’s a challenge: come up with a code of morality that doesn’t rely on some list provided by a church. Decide what truly would be “good” and what would be “evil” based on principles of consistent ideals.

    Perhaps equality or decency or fairness or concern about others or causing no harm or making the world better or looking out for the next generation or protecting the vulnerable from the powerful or similar things might come into play. Or you may have other criteria.

    But once you’ve come up with your principles, measure this situation.

    For example, absent any god-talk, is it “good” or is it “evil” to love a person of the same sex? Or is it “good” or “evil” to marry that person?

    And if you marry someone and you establish a family, and then you conceive a child intentionally with the intent to coparent this child, and you actually do share parenting with this child, would it be “good” or “evil” to leave the person, take the child, ask for child support from the person, all while refusing to let that person see the child at all?

    Would this be moral or immoral of, say, your sister in law. Would it be moral or immoral of, say, an Iranian man who flees to Iran and denies the mother any access.

    Or does the matter of morality hinge on whether that person is the opposite or same sex? Because that’s what your church said?

    Because it sounds to me like one of two things: either you are defining your morality without even engaging your brain in the tiniest of ways, or else you worship a trickster god.

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