MONTPELIER, Vermont, February 18, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Kenneth Miller, a Mennonite pastor who helped a woman and her daughter flee the country in 2009 to avoid court-ordered visitations with the girl's lesbian “mother,” has ended his appeal against a 27-month federal prison sentence and will be required to begin his term on March 1.
Lisa Miller and her daughter Isabella are believed to have flown from Canada to Nicaragua in late 2009 after Kenneth Miller drove them to the Canadian border. Kenneth Miller was convicted of “aiding an international kidnapping” in 2012 but was allowed to remain free while he appealed the sentence.
“God allows hardships and trials to make us into the image of His Son. THAT'S GOOD. So if this time in prison makes this poor sinner a little more like Jesus, it will be good and I will be happy,” wrote Kenneth Miller in response to his impending imprisonment.
“We are not discouraged or depressed about the future, because God is in the future and we are with God, therefore we are encouraged,” he added.
“There are some things that can never be locked up behind prison walls. Truth. Conscience. Moral righteousness. The saving Gospel of Jesus.”
Lisa Miller, who is not related to Kenneth Miller, decided to flee the U.S. after a Vermont judge insisted that she allow her daughter to have unsupervised visits with lesbian Janet Jenkins, with whom Miller had had a relationship before converting to Christianity.
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Vermont judge Richard Cohen ruled that Jenkins is Isabella's “mother,” despite the fact that she has no biological relationship with the girl and knew her only briefly after her birth before Miller ended the relationship. Jenkins's name does not appear on Isabella's birth certificate as a parent.
Judge Cohen refused to rescind his order despite testimony from Miller and several expert witnesses that indicated that Isabella was suffering psychological trauma from the visits. Following Lisa's and Isabella's flight, Cohen issued a decision transferring full custody to Jenkins. He has never been able to enforce his order, as Lisa and Isabella remain in hiding.
Kenneth Miller already served several days in jail in 2013 after refusing to testify against others who are also accused of helping Lisa and Isabella to escape. Federal judge William Sessions III released Miller after he testified that his imprisonment “has only made my convictions stronger.”
The Mennonite community in Nicaragua, which is believed to have received Lisa and Isabella when they initially arrived in the country in 2009, has shown similar courage. After months of harassment by Nicaraguan police, the Mennonite Brotherhood of Nicaragua issued a statement in 2012 clarifying that “[w]e have chosen to obey God. We are willing to give up our rights, go to jail, or even die, for the cause of helping anyone become free from a sinful life and helping that person to live in obedience to God's Word.”
Three others, including Lisa Miller herself, conservative businessmen Philip Zodhiates, and Mennonite pastor Timothy “Timo” Miller, have also been indicted for their role in the “kidnapping.” According to the Associated Press, Zodhiates is scheduled to begin trial in September in Buffalo, New York.