January 25, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – “I have time for just a short note,” wrote Mennonite pastor Kenneth Miller to his supporters as he awaited his inevitable arrest yesterday, “'…Whom having not seen ye love, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.' (1 Pet. 1:8-9) He is risen. His Kingdom reigns forever. All is well.”
Hours later, Miller faced federal judge William Sessions III, and informed him that he would not testify before a grand jury against several acquaintances accused of helping the pastor arrange for the escape of Lisa Miller and her daughter, Isabella, from the United States in 2009. According to the Burlington Free Press, Kenneth Miller told the judge that testifying would be inconsistent with his religious beliefs.
After repeatedly urging the pastor to change his mind, Sessions found him in contempt of court and ordered him sent to jail for ten days, in an attempt to induce him to speak. “We can’t function as a criminal justice system without the grand jury,” Sessions told Miller. “I appreciate your faithfulness to your religion and your moral beliefs, and perhaps there is an inherent conflict here.”
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 lesbian relationship before converting to Christianity.
Judge Richard Cohen ruled that Jenkins is Isabella's “mother,” despite the fact that she has no biological relationship to the girl, and only knew her briefly after her birth before Miller ended the relationship. Jenkins' name does not appear on Isabella's birth certificate.
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 and Isabella's flight, Cohen issued a decision transferring full custody to Jenkins.
Pastor Miller has been convicted of helping Lisa and Isabella drive to Toronto, from where they allegedly flew to Nicaragua, to hide for several months. Their current whereabouts are unknown.
“These people they wanted him to testify against are fellow citizens of God’s kingdom,” one of Miller's lawyers, also a Mennonite, told the Free Press. “And it’s like, you wanted me to be a rat, you know, to turn on my fellow citizens. That’s basically what it came down to.”
The pastor's principled stand is shared by the Mennonites of the Nicaraguan Brotherhood, who initially sheltered Lisa and Isabella after they fled the U.S., and say they have been persecuted in Nicaragua for their actions.
The group wrote in letter last year that their battle to protect Isabella “is a war between good and evil, a battle between God and Satan. As congregations we stand united in this spiritual warfare against evil.”
“The fact is that suddenly we find ourselves having to choose between obeying God and man made laws,” they added. “We 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.”
Pastor Miller has another date with a federal judge on March 4, where he will be sentenced to up to three years in prison for his role in the escape.
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