Pastor in Same-Sex Parent Dispute Remains Jailed
A pastor was taken back to jail Thursday for continuing to refuse to tell a grand jury what he knows about a woman who fled the country to escape a custody dispute with her former lesbian partner.
Kenneth Miller, a Mennonite pastor from Stuarts Draft, Va., and U.S. District Court Judge William Session III continued their philosophical discussion about deeply held religious beliefs versus the needs of the law.
Miller told the judge that the week he has spent in jail has strengthened his resolve that his beliefs require him to follow God’s law when they conflict with civil law. He said he is willing to pay the price, even if it means more time in jail.
"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," Miller said.
Miller has refused to testify about another man involved in the 2009 flight of Lisa Miller and her daughter, Isabella, rather than allow the girl to spend time with Lisa Miller’s ex-partner. The Millers are not related.
Sessions told Kenneth Miller that the pastor wasn’t being asked to pass judgment on the target of the grand jury investigation. Rather, Sessions said, he simply would be recounting the facts, an essential part of the law enforcement process and critical to the smooth functioning of the criminal justice system.
"I need to be convinced that a further period (in jail) would not result in your answering questions. I think that you also need to reflect upon the function of our system of justice here, and I am not convinced that that is necessarily inconsistent in this particular context with your religious beliefs," Sessions said before ordering Miller back to jail.