September 4, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Nicaraguan Mennonites say that they have been persecuted by government authorities since they chose to shelter ex-lesbian Lisa Miller and her daughter Isabella following their escape from the United States, but add that they are willing to suffer and even die to protect Isabella from a court-ordered custody transfer to her non-biological lesbian “mother.”
Lisa Miller and her daughter fled the country in late 2009 in order to avoid sharing custody of Isabella with Miller’s former homosexual partner, Janet Jenkins, with whom she had entered into a Vermont civil union. Jenkins is not biologically related to Isabella, who was conceived through artificial insemination and never adopted by Jenkins. Nonetheless, the Vermont court declared Jenkins to be Isabella’s “mother.”
Following their breakup, Miller repented of the homosexual lifestyle and professed faith in Christ, and began to fight the shared custody arrangement imposed by the court. Although expert testimony was submitted as evidence that Isabella was traumatized by the visits with Jenkins, the court refused to cancel them.
In a letter published on a Mennonite website devoted to defending Pastor Kenneth Miller (no relation to Lisa Miller) and others involved in Lisa and Isabella’s escape, the Mennonite “Nicaraguan Brotherhood” describes pressure and harassment from both U.S. and Nicaraguan authorities regarding their decision to shelter the two after their arrival in the Central American country.
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The Brotherhood says that their churches in Nicaragua have been “questioned and pressed to give information” regarding the whereabouts of Isabella. “Some have been questioned when going to the US embassy. Others were interrogated in their homes.”
“Brethren and neighbors have been watched, interrogated and threatened,” and, “In some churches Sunday morning services have been watched and videoed,” they write. “A house of one of the brethren was searched without a search warrant.”
“Some excommunicated brethren said that they were offered free visas, a trip to the states, study offers and easy ways to become a police officer if they would help find her. The policeman also suggested they rejoin the church but work as spies for them,” write the Bretheren.
The Brotherhood says that they forgive their persecutors, but will stand firm in the defense of Isabella, now 10 years old, who “has become an innocent victim of an ungodly agenda.”
“Her wellbeing has not been given much or any consideration. According to the Bible we believe that God has given Lisa sole responsibility to care and protect her own daughter since she has no known father. According to the Bible it 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 Brotherhood add that they are willing to suffer imprisonment or death in the cause of protecting Isabella.
“The fact is that suddenly we find ourselves having to choose between obeying God and man made laws,” they write. “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.”
U.S. Mennonite pastor Kenneth Miller has already been convicted of helping Lisa Miller and Isabella to flee the United States, and may face up to three years in prison when he is sentenced. Jenkins has also filed a civil suit against Kenneth Miller for unspecified monetary damages, and has included organizations in the suit that have expressed support for Miller. Liberty University Law School’s dean Mat Staver has characterized that complaint as an attack on freedom of speech.
The letter of the Nicaragua Brotherhood does not specify which Nicaraguan Menonite churches are represented. Although its publication date is given as February of this year, it appears not to have been distributed outside of Mennonite circles. It was quoted in May in the Mennonite World Review, and was quoted in Jenkins’ lawsuit.