Today in Just Like Jesus Would Do

[content note:Christian supremacy, anti-LGBT*Q discrimination, homophobia, child abuse, kidnapping]

Kenneth Miller is a Beachy Amish-Mennonite pastor who aided a kidnapping that broke up a family:

Mr. Miller was convicted last fall for helping to arrange the covert flight to Nicaragua of Lisa A. Miller with her daughter, Isabella Miller-Jenkins, in 2009.

Ms. Miller, who is not related to the pastor, had won support in conservative Christian circles for refusing to permit court-mandated visits with Isabella by her other legal mother, Janet Jenkins, Ms. Miller’s former partner in a civil union in Vermont. After the couple split up, Ms. Miller moved to Virginia, said she was a born-again Christian and denounced her former lesbianism as a sin.

In 2009, as an exasperated family court judge threatened to transfer primary custody to Ms. Jenkins, Ms. Miller and her daughter, then 7, disappeared and a warrant was issued for Ms. Miller’s arrest.

Federal law enforcement officers later discovered that Mr. Miller had helped arrange for Ms. Miller and her daughter to fly to Nicaragua and live there with missionaries from Mr. Miller’s Amish-Mennonite sect. But officials have been unable to find the mother and daughter, who, in the view of one federal agent, have been “bouncing around the barrios of Nicaragua” for nearly four years now.

Miller was allegedly aided by "Philip Zodhiates, a wealthy conservative businessman who lives near Mr. Miller in Virginia, and his daughter, Victoria Hyden, an administrative assistant at the Liberty University Law School in Lynchburg, Va." He refused to implicate them, because Jesus, apparently:

After his conviction, Mr. Miller refused to testify before a grand jury about others who aided Ms. Miller, telling his supporters: “If I were to bring testimony against a fellow member of Christ’s kingdom, for honoring Christ’s kingdom’s laws, I would be disloyal to his kingdom and to Christ.”

Liss has emphasized before how very dangerous is the bias in U.S. society that automatically awards publicly identified "Christians" with an automatic assumption of morality and good faith. I do not know if that assumption played into the judge's decision to let a convicted accessory to kidnapping to walk free until his appeal process plays out.

But, considering that the judge told Mr. Miller he "he admired Miller for the depth of his convictions,", I have a sneaking suspicion that it did. If Miller and his cohorts had not been using Christianity to justify putting a child beyond the reach of the court (and of a judge who was so concerned about her primary-care parent that she was about to change custody arrangements) he might have been treated differently. I also have a strong suspicion that if this had been a straight couple, things would be different, too.

Mr. Miller, I do not admire your for your convictions. Your convictions are bigoted drivel, and drove you to a terrible, hateful, crime. These are "family values," I guess, except without actually valuing real families. Kidnapping: Just Like Jesus Would Do.

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