Family Research Council: Pray That God Helps a Kidnapper Break the Law:
The Rude Pundit was looking over his conservative email on his secret nom de rude account this morning when something struck him as particularly disgusting. See, the Rude Pundit subscribes to a number of conservative groups to spy on what they say when they don't think anyone is listening. The most entertaining of these is the Family Research Council's Prayer Team Targets (generally referred to here as "The Super-Duper Prayer Team," but let's try for a bit of decorum today). Every week, the FRC sends out a list of items that we members of the Prayer Team ought to pray for. Mostly it's the usual "Please, God, help us hate homosexuals, abortion, sex education, health care reform," you know, all the things that Jesus might want us to spend our precious time on earth concerned about.
Today, the Rude Pundit noticed something unusual: a prayer directed against a single individual, a woman who has no power whatsoever. She just wants to be able to visit her child after a break-up. The only reason for calling on celestial intervention is that the woman is a lesbian.
Let's put this in heterosexual terms first: say a married, straight couple want a child, but they can't conceive because the husband is sterile. So the couple go through the sperm-selling websites for some operational sperm. The lab-made embryos are implanted in the wife, and, lo and behold, she has a child. At that point, would anyone rationally argue that the husband is not the child's father? Would the husband have to adopt the child? No, obviously not. Now, what if, a year later, the wife decides she doesn't want to be married to the husband and moves away? We would, of course, expect visitation rights for the father to not only be maintained, but enforced. And if the ex-wife decides that the ex-husband is a bad influence on the child because he's, say, Norwegian? We would say that unless he's abusive or neglectful to the child, she's got to abide by any joint custody arrangements. If she refuses to do so, well, who among us would not say that she is legally in the wrong and something needs to be done?
In a nutshell, that's the case between Janet Jenkins and Lisa Miller, except make the husband into a civil-unioned female partner and "Norwegian" into "lesbian." Miller is the biological mother of Isabella, and about a year after Isabella's birth, in 2003, Miller broke up with Jenkins and left Vermont with Isabella to live with family in Virginia. She and Jenkins agreed to and maintained a rough visitation schedule. In church one day, Miller got born again and "decided" not to be gay. She pushed for sole custody of Isabella in 2004, wanting to completely cut Jenkins out of Isabella's life.
In 2008, Miller said of Jenkins, "I do not feel safe leaving my daughter with her, and I believe I have a God-given and constitutional right to raise my child as I see fit. There is a homosexual agenda at work here, and Isabella is a pawn in their game. It has nothing to do with the law. Isabella was saved at age 4, loves God, and knows what's right and what's wrong. We don't hate Janet, we pray for her soul and salvation."
Has this gotten insane enough for you yet? Has our juvenile tangle of laws regarding gay marriage, civil unions, and whatever finally begun to seem untenable? At what point does the notion of "states' rights" become worthless when it comes to human and civil rights? Or when "civil union" is obviously not the same as "marriage"? Wait. It gets worse...
After Miller lost her petition for sole custody (after a tangle of cases involving various state and federal laws), Jenkins just wanted visitation rights, which the courts granted her. Miller refused to abide by court-ordered visitation because she feared that Isabella would not be taken to the right church, among other aspects of the "homosexual agenda" that she dislikes. So a judge in Vermont, citing federal kidnapping law, as argued by Jenkins' attorney, gave custody to Jenkins in November, with a January 1, 2010 date for Isabella to be given to Jenkins. By the way, Jenkins said she still wants Miller to be able to visit Isabella. Wait. It gets worse...
Miller has now disappeared with Isabella. The last anyone heard from her is on December 4, 2009. No one claims to know where she is, not Miller's mother, not her attorney. Isabella is now officially considered a "missing person." Miller has 30 days to turn Isabella over, or she faces arrest. By the way, Miller is represented by the evangelical lawyers at the Liberty Counsel. Indeed, much of the conservative Christian community is backing Miller, even as she disregards a court order.
Which brings us back to the Prayer Team Target. The Family Research Council asks us to pray the following about the case: "May God protect Lisa and Isabella Miller from this unrighteous decree. May Virginia authorities stand by her." In other words, we are supposed to pray that either Virginia challenges the Vermont court order or that God takes care of Miller so that she can continue to break the law. And if that's what we good prayer team members should pray, then it's not that far of a stretch to say that the Family Research Council is advocating that Christians help a woman violate a court order, perhaps even offering her assistance and encouragement along the way, which is itself illegal, all to demonstrate just how scared they are that their god is wrong, all to prevent a child's parent from being part of the child's life just because the parent is gay.
(The emailed prayers always include "relevant" Bible passages, although, truly, it's mostly a stretch. In this case, the FRC offers something that doesn't have a single thing to do with this. It's Leviticus 18:15, which reads, "'Do not have sexual relations with your daughter-in-law. She is your son's wife; do not have relations with her.'" That's just farce.)