Miller-Jenkins kidnapping conspirator faces trial

Timothy Kincaid

August 7th, 2012

From the Chronicle:

Eleven women and three men were impaneled to hear the case against Mennonite Pastor Kenneth Miller, accused of helping a woman flee the United States with her daughter rather than share custody of the child with her former lesbian partner.

Miller, 46, of Stuarts Draft, Va., is charged with aiding in international kidnapping. A conviction carries a maximum prison term of three years. The jury was selected Tuesday and court will resume with opening statements Wednesday.

The case, which we have covered comprehensively, involves a couple who got a civil union in Vermont, planned a family through artificial insemination, raised a child for years, and then broke up. Lisa Miller, the birth mother, fled to Virginia, hooked up with Thomas Road Baptist Church (Jerry Falwell’s church), renounced her orientation and claimed a new heterosexual Christian status, and refused to let the other mother visit. After numerous attempts to get her to comply with the courts, including trips to the Vermont and Virginia Supreme Courts, the frustrated family law judge awarded custody of Isabella Miller-Jenkins to Janet Jenkins. Rather than follow the law, Miller – with the help of various people named “Miller” – kidnapped her daughter and fled the country.

Miller’s team is expected to argue that the order changing custody was not yet filed when he conspired to whisk Lisa Miller and Isabella Miller-Jenkins out of the country.

Which makes me wonder… is it Mennonite theology to try and wiggle out of responsibility based on a filing date? I would think that either a man of God would either stand for the morality of his position or would recognize his behavior as immoral and seek forgiveness and face punishment. I wouldn’t think that “standing up for Christ” was mostly about arguing about filing dates.

But, then again, I’m not Mennonite so I guess I wouldn’t know.

The Lauderdale

August 7th, 2012

“The case, which we have covered comprehensively, involves a couple who got a civil union in Vermont, planned a family through artificial insemination, raised a child for years, and then broke up.”

Not that it really changes anything, but they didn’t raise Isabella together for “years.” She was born in 2002, and I think Lisa scooted down to Virginia with her about a year later. According to Lambda Legal, she “filed an action in circuit court in Virginia seeking to have herself declared the child’s sole legal parent” in July of ’04.

This case has dragged on for virtually all of Isabella’s life to date, which I find very sad.


August 8th, 2012

I’m not Mennonite either, but I do live in an area (Lancaster County, PA) with a large Mennonite population. There is a strong history of non-compliance with what they perceive to be unjust laws, and of civil disobedience, among the more politically-active Mennonites. This usually takes the form of opposition to war and to paying for war. During the years of focus on solidarity with liberation movements in Central America, Mennonites were the core of our local Pledge of Resistance.

There is also a long history of anti-gay sentiment and action. In general the Mennonites who are most active in the peace movement aren’t the ones who are strongly anti-gay. But I can understand how the pastor involved could arrive at the conclusion that aiding the run-aways was equivalent to aiding the Central American refugees that moved through the U.S. on their way to Canada in the ’80’s and early ’90’s. Obviously I think the reasoning is faulty, but I can see how he could have arrived there believing that he was firmly within his faith tradition.

As for now trying to win his freedom on a technicality, I suspect that is a tactic suggested by his lawyer. It would not be consonant with the ethic of civil disobedience, which says that you knowingly break an unjust law with the intention of accepting the consequences of your actions and that your only defence is the assertion that the law itself is wrong.


August 8th, 2012

The real question is: where are Lisa Miller and Isabella? It’s been almost three years and little has surfaced. For all we know they could be in Timbuktu right now.


August 8th, 2012

Would it be possible to fix the bug that makes *every* BTB article shared on Facebook show up with the description of the Kirk Murphy story, please?

Timothy (TRiG)

August 8th, 2012


It is possible, on Fb, to click on the auto-generated description and edit it to something more appropriate.


Regan DuCasse

August 8th, 2012

There is a serious moral disparity between a parent that didn’t raise their child because they abandoned that child and didn’t WANT to raise the child.

And a parent whose other partner took the child away so the other parent would never have the opportunity to. And despite their best and most reasonable effort, the parent who took the child engaged in extraordinary and extreme behavior to keep the other parent and child separate, with help from outsiders to do so.

Had Janet Jenkins been a MAN, they would have been encouraged and supported in the effort to be a parent.
And not having a biological connection to that child, also makes the anti gay engage in a double standard of requiring ONLY biological parents to matter.
Which would leave adoptive and step parents in legal limbo, regardless their interest and experience in raising their non biological child.

This issue with Miller/Jenkiins is what makes this all similar to the way SLAVES in America and THEIR relationships were treated.
Black slaves couldn’t marry, and their familial interest or connection in their children was constantly under siege or subject to disruption at any time.

No decent Christian would or should engage in such cruel regression and disrespect for the parent/child relationship because of what the parent WAS, not their treatment of the child.

That any people could feel so comfortable and go to such lengths to be cruel to Janet Jenkins, is scary and awful and no legal entity should support child kidnapping to that degree just to spite gay people.
It’s not like the child isn’t and couldn’t be harmed by it. And apparently THAT doesn’t matter either.

Timothy Kincaid

August 8th, 2012


Thanks for the timeline correction.


August 9th, 2012

TRiG: Thanks. This is the only site I’ve found doing that to be necessary, and it hadn’t occurred to me to try it.

Still seems bizarre that it would happen in the first place.


August 9th, 2012

And Bryan Fischer is advocating more of this.

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