Falwell’s empire catches FBI attention over Jenkins-Miller kidnapping

Timothy Kincaid

April 22nd, 2011

The FBI has released a criminal complaint in association with its arrest of Timo Miller for his efforts in sneaking Lisa Miller and her absconded daughter Isabella out of the country. Miller has been traced to Nicaragua, and has been receiving shelter and care from individuals affiliated with Liberty University, Thomas Road Baptist Church, and Liberty Counsel.

For example, the complaint notes that “one of the elders of the local church” (presumably Thomas Road) had packed items to be sent to Miller in Nicaragua. Further, the complaint notes the connection between the man who owns the house Miller has been staying in and Liberty University.

It is too early to know who knew what, but this does raise again the possibility that Isabella’s kidnapping and Lisa’s criminal flight out of the country was not organized without the knowledge of the Falwell empire.

It further raises questions about what certain individuals knew and whether they obstructed justice. For example, evidence is provided that on September 22, 2009, Miller took Isabella and flew from Canada to Mexico and then to El Salvador. On the following day she flew to Nicaragua, where they now are residing.

On December 4, 2009, Debbie Thurman posted “A Note From Lisa” which is presented as a direct message from Lisa Miller to those who support her criminal activity. Although Thurman has repeatedly claimed that she has no knowledge about Millers’ whereabouts, she has not adequately explained how she came to possess this note nearly two months after Miller fled the country.

Right Wing Watch notes that the connection to Mat Staver and Liberty counsel should trouble the organization:

How it is that Liberty Counsel’s most high profile client kidnaps her daughter and flees the country and the organization insists for more than a year that it has no idea where she is … only to have it turn out that she is reportedly living in a home owned by the father of an admin assistant in Staver’s very own office?

Ray

April 22nd, 2011

Oh, I’m sure Matt Barber mush have some perfectly logical explanation for this. I look forward to hearing it.

Henry

April 22nd, 2011

they will just claim that the FBI is controlled by the homosexual agenda and that pure innocent christians are being victimized by the obama-marxist-communist-liberal government

SharonB

April 22nd, 2011

Lying kristianist trash.
All “law and order” when it benefits them, and the first to break it when they please.

I hope they throw the book at them, and I don’t mean the Bible.

Scott

April 22nd, 2011

It appears the US has an extradition treaty with Nicaragua. Maybe the criminals can be brought to justice.

My heart goes out to the girl. What is she going to go through when she meets Mom Jenkins? It seems reasonable that she has been fed horrible lies about the Jenkins.

Carl

April 22nd, 2011

I wonder if this is a RICO violation.

Priya Lynn

April 22nd, 2011

Scott, I’d also like to think Isabella will be reunited with Janet, but that seems like a long shot at this point.

Richard Rush

April 22nd, 2011

Hmmmmm . . . Isn’t it surprising that God didn’t protect the Falwell empire from being found out? After all, they are some of America’s finest Christians, aren’t they?

And what about Lisa Miller and the child? Was I wrong to assume that God had been protecting Isabella from exposure to that degenerate lesbian, Janet Jenkins?

When you look at the evidence and facts from the last 40+ years, wouldn’t any rational person conclude that God (if He exists) is on our side?

Ben In Oakland

April 22nd, 2011

Richard, I’m afraid god is only good at doing the impossible.

The mundane and the pracitcal are either beneath him or beyond him.

grantdale

April 22nd, 2011

Timothy, a surprising typo — Thomson?

Good to hear there is some news on this.

mike

April 22nd, 2011

uhm could someone explain this one who is this child, why did they kidnapp her and what was this all about?

Marlene

April 23rd, 2011

I don’t believe a RICO complaint would involve the full school itself, but if ol’ Bam Bam was a part of this conspiracy, look for the recent accradation of the so-called “law school” to be pulled swiftly.

Richard Rush

April 23rd, 2011

Ben In Oakland,

The mundane and the pracitcal are either beneath him [God] or beyond him.

Oh, I don’t know about that. I’ve personally been with a hyperactive Christian while she appealed for divine assistance with a key in a troublesome door lock. Then, after the door opened, she said, “Thank you Jesus.”

I think people often pray for outcomes that are already likely to be favorable. Then, every time they experience a desired outcome, it strengthens the illusion of being in a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” And the accumulation of outcomes in the win-column helps counterbalance the outcomes in the loss-column. It allows them to say, “God does work in mysterious ways, and while I didn’t get all the outcomes I prayed for, look at the long list of favorable outcomes I received.”

customartist

April 23rd, 2011

Why isn’t CNN reporting on this?

Let’s bring this to their attention:

http://www.cnn.com/feedback/tips/newstips.html

Erin

April 23rd, 2011

@ Mike:
http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/janet-jenkins-awarded-sole-custody-lisa-miller-and-isabella-still-missing

Basically they were in a Civil Union together and had the kid via IVF. They split up. Birth mom became uber religious and became one of those “ex-gays.” The Link explains why the other mom was awarded custody and how the birth mom fled with the kid instead of honoring court orders.

Jerry

April 24th, 2011

My compassion is for the child.

Many years ago a friend of mine had a daughter with his first wife. That marriage failed and the wife and her family made sure that my friend made every support payment ordered by the court. At the same time the ex and her mother made sure that my friend would never have a relationship with his daughter. They traumatized that child so bad that she screamed every time her dad came near her. Now over 40 years later my friend could walk by his daughter and not recognize her. This child will grow up not knowing a parent who loves her, and has now been isolated by a psychotic freak.

princess

April 26th, 2011

i am so glad she got to take that child to where she is safe.God still does miracles and the first one is that she escaped the country without anyone finding out,and the 2nd one is that Timo is released on a bond.there are thousands of christians that are praying and God will deliver him and Lisa both!

Timothy Kincaid

April 26th, 2011

Richard,

You joke, but at times it does almost look like God is taking sides… and it isn’t theirs.

It gives me quite a chuckle.

But, seriously, I do want to offer one idea about prayer that could appeal even to an atheist.

Whether or not the divine intervenes, sometimes prayer can cause you to stop and focus for a moment and breaks your chain of hyperness and, if for no other reason, is effective in those little ‘defective keys’, ‘where are my glasses’, ‘help me with this problem’ kind of situations.

Timothy Kincaid

April 26th, 2011

princess,

Such a pretty name you have. I’m sure Jesus loves you extra-special, doesn’t He?

Maybe even extra-extra-special.

Okay, now run off to bed and let the adults talk.

Richard Rush

April 28th, 2011

Timothy,

But, seriously, I do want to offer one idea about prayer that could appeal even to an atheist.

Whether or not the divine intervenes, sometimes prayer can cause you to stop and focus for a moment and breaks your chain of hyperness and, if for no other reason, is effective in those little ‘defective keys’, ‘where are my glasses’, ‘help me with this problem’ kind of situations.

Actually, I’ve often thought the one benefit of prayer is that it (hopefully) involves a focus on the really important issues in people’s lives. While there are certainly non-religious ways to do that, most of us have been trained since childhood to do it in a religious context.

But I do find it sad and pathetic when someone appeals for divine assistance with every mundane issue. I wonder if there is a deep loneliness in their life that has been overcome by believing a deity is holding their hand during every moment of every day.

Timothy Kincaid

April 28th, 2011

Richard,

I’m currently reading a book by an evangelical Christian anthropology professor at a conservative Christian college. I’m not far into it, but it seems so far that her observations of real gay people are limited to one visit to a gay bar in the early 90’s. Yet she still has opinions about homosexuality and orientation and the social construction thereof.

I think that perhaps being in opposition to something – while having little exposure – leads to peculiar presumptions, and none of them positive.

I get how she has curiosity about sexuality. And I understand how her presumptions have filled in the answers to her questions without any need for facts or for the tools of her profession.

Similarly, I get how an atheist may have curiosity about the whys of faith. But I strongly caution against answering those whys through guesswork. One’s opposition to faith is likely to fill in the whys based on bias rather than observation.

Perhaps you assumed otherwise, but I pray about the mundane. I pray about the mundane far more than I pray about the life-shaping, wildly important, truly big issues. That is probably true for most praying people. Most of life is mundane.

It doesn’t much matter to me if one approves or disapproves of my prayer patterns – be they devout believer or devout nonbeliever. That has no impact on me, what I believe, or how I interact with the divine.

But simply to answer your curiosity: no, there is no deep loneliness in my life. And I don’t go through life with some perception of a deity holding my hand during every moment of every day. And I doubt that most praying people fit your sad, pathetic profile.

I am not encouraging you to pray or believe in a deity or adopt some religious code. But consider when doling out pity and contempt that your perceptions about people of faith may be no more accurate than this anthropologist’s perceptions about gay people.

Richard Rush

April 28th, 2011

Timothy,

“Perhaps you assumed otherwise, but I pray about the mundane. . . But simply to answer your curiosity: no, there is no deep loneliness in my life. . . “

I didn’t really ‘assume’ at all (which may really mean that I did (?)). I was surprised that you took it personally. If I was thinking of anyone, it was one particular close family member. And maybe we have different definitions of the mundane. I didn’t mean to offend you (I have too much respect for you to intentionally do that).

“Your opposition to faith is likely to fill in the whys based on bias rather than observation.”

I think my anti-religion bias is a result of observation rather than vice versa. While most straight people, including your book author, have likely had little exposure to gay people, most atheists have had lots (and lots) of exposure to religion. It’s often said that the average atheist knows much more about religion than the average believer (I don’t claim to one of them).

I grew up going to Sunday school and church – about 2/3 exposure in the Presbyterian denomination (PCUSA), and about 1/3 in Assembly of God. I grew up in an environment where religious belief was simply a given. But I think it’s safe to say that many millions of straight people have never knowingly known a gay person, and until recent years have not seen us portrayed or discussed in media except in negative ways.

While I’m confident we could test and document that average atheists know much more about religion than average believers, I’m also confident that average straight people know little to nothing about gay people and homosexuality in general.

David C.

April 28th, 2011

Perhaps you assumed otherwise, but I pray about the mundane. I pray about the mundane far more than I pray about the life-shaping, wildly important, truly big issues. That is probably true for most praying people. Most of life is mundane.—Timothy Kincaid

When you get right down to it, life is just daily.

One of the things that has helped me understand religion and spirituality in general has been time spent understanding different systems of belief. As an amateur student of religion, I saw many parallels between the stories and mythology of the various world religions. By a kind of triangulation, I came to understand the valuable insights one can take away from these traditions without getting bogged down in the orthodoxy and ritual.

One of those notions, at least for me, is that focusing one’s mind on things helps to make one more aware of what motivates one’s will. Prayer is a kind of meditation for some people, and prayer does not have to be to anything or any deity to have an effect on one’s life. If it helps somebody to escape their preconceptions or reactions to being forced into some religious tradition that they now want to reject, then call prayer meditation or concentration of will.

Timothy Kincaid

April 28th, 2011

Richard,

I didn’t think that you meant it personally about me. But I did want to bring to your attention that “those who pray about the mundane” may include a bigger demographic than you are imagining. For example, after having frantically searched for my keys with no avail, I’ll pray. That’s pretty mundane.

And it generally works. Whether God pauses in the administration of the universe and through divine inspiration whispers into my mind that in the freezer under the ice tray is a good place to look, or whether simply calming myself and relaxing my mind sparks a subconscious memory of getting ice immediately after entering, is pretty irrelevant. I now have my keys.

I apologize for “your opposition”. I didn’t intend to personalize that idea and had changed it to “one’s opposition”, but evidently not before you read my comment.

I don’t doubt that you have been exposed to religion. Most have. You may even know more about religion in the same way that the anthropologist knows about homosexuality.

But your guesswork as to motivations suggest a lack of intimacy with people of faith. I may be mistaken; it’s possible that a large part of your life and social connection is deeply entrenched in faith communities.

But I suspect that you are making the same mistake that the evangelical anthropologist has made (with the caveat that I’ve not finished her book; I may be misjudging her). Knowing about a subject is far far from knowing about a people.

The average anti-gay activist knows far more about homosexuality than the average gay person. Peter LaBarbera and Laurie Higgins can quote statistics and incidents that elude both Joe Twink and Billy Bear down at the bar.

But they don’t know gay people.

You may be a far better authority on, say, the writings of Paul or the theological positions developed at Trent. But such knowledge should not encourage one to assume that it provides insight into the motivations or inner loneliness of people who pray.

Wouldn’t you agree?

Priya Lynn

April 28th, 2011

Timothy said “But your guesswork as to motivations suggest a lack of intimacy with people of faith.”.

I think that would be a pretty poor assumption about atheists. Other than my husband I don’t know any other atheists, everyone else I know is a christian and I am intimately familiar with a large number of them.

Timothy said “The average anti-gay activist knows far more about homosexuality than the average gay person. Peter LaBarbera and Laurie Higgins can quote statistics and incidents that elude both Joe Twink and Billy Bear down at the bar. But they don’t know gay people.”.

If you’re intending to equate that with the typical atheist, its way off the mark. Peter and Laurie probably don’t encounter many gay people but for an atheist in North America, virtually everyone we know is a christian and for me that includes the closest of family members and friends.

werdna

April 28th, 2011

Timothy, I’m curious what the book (“by an evangelical Christian anthropology professor at a conservative Christian college”) that you’re reading is. Would you mind sharing the author and title?

Timothy Kincaid

April 28th, 2011

werdna,

I will… but I’d rather wait until I finish reading it. I’m pretty early in the book and may not have given an accurate assessment of where it’s going.

I am thinking of a commentary which would tie in this book, Ritch Savin-Williams, and the Ex-gay industry and their common belief that sexual orientation identity is but a social construction and what that means to each.

Timothy Kincaid

April 28th, 2011

Priya Lynn,

I’m certain that anti-gay activists would say virtually what you said. Actually, I’ve heard them. (Laurie Higgins assures me that she knows and loves gay people.)

Perhaps it is wiser to acknowledge that it takes close familiarity and shared values to make any sort of educated guess about the motivations, thinking, purpose, or intent of a people. Be that gay folk, praying people, or atheists.

Priya Lynn

April 28th, 2011

Virtually what I say? I’d say you have no idea what you’re talking about. There’s no way Peter Labarbera or Laurie higgins is going to say they only know one heterosexual person and virtually everyone they know is gay, there’s no comparing my familiarity with christians with their familiarity with gays.

Priya Lynn

April 28th, 2011

Further, theres no way they are going to say every family member and every friend they have is gay, its preposterous for you to attempt to equate my familiarity with theirs.

Timothy Kincaid

April 28th, 2011

Okie-dokie, Priya Lynn. Have a nice day.

Shofixti

April 28th, 2011

T. Kincaid: I think that perhaps being in opposition to something – while having little exposure – leads to peculiar presumptions, and none of them positive.

Thanks, Timothy – another thing we are in complete agreement about.

T. Kincaid: the Ex-gay industry and their common belief that sexual orientation identity is but a social construction.

Oh! I get it. This is why people read me as being so hostile. But ex-gay advocates are never subject to their own rules, they weild social construction as a weapon of de-legitimacy that is all one sided. You are all not legitimate, Heterosexual is unquestioned in its self-evident legitimacy.

I am totally against this inequality. Heterosexuality, because of its even more naturalised position, should be first and foremost and mostly the object of critical scrutiny – and this is what feminist discourses do.

Homosexuality should never be more de-legitimised than heterosexuality.

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