After eight years of having a conservative, evangelical Christian in the White House, I haven’t been very comfortable with the idea that if elected President, Sen. McCain will have chosen to have an uncurious, anti-intellectual, conservative Pentecostal a heartbeat away from assuming the most powerful executive position in the world.
I was reminded what I specifically am concerned about is while watching CSPAN-3 this past weekend. There was a book tour event from 2006 that was being replayed where Michelle Goldberg was talking about her book Kingdom Coming: The Rise Of Christian Nationalism. Without going into a lot of detail, the book addresses how Christian Nationalists, while being only about 15% or less of the American population, have permeated all three branches of the federal government beyond their population numbers. Their basic philosophy of Christian Nationalists, as described by Goldberg, can be defined as:
[T]he “Christian worldview” that envisions Christianity governing “every aspect of public and private life, and [holds] that all — government, science, history, culture, and relationships — must be understood according to the dictates of scripture.” Christian nationalists have “biblically correct positions on every issue, from gay marriage to income tax rates.”
My guess is that Gov. Palin is another Christian Nationalist sympathizer in the mold of our current president.
So, let’s discuss an issue that’s not currently being discussed in the main stream media, but that the Liberty Counsel is currently discussing in both an “action alert” and a prayer request letter from one of the Liberty University School of Law’s Assistant Professors, Rena Lindevaldsen. It’s the custody case of Isabella Ruth Miller-Jenkins.
Janet and Lisa Miller-Jenkins made love in the morning before leaving for the doctor’s office. At least that’s how Janet remembers it. “We had a connection in the morning before we left,” Janet said. Afterward, eager to keep their tender connection alive amid the clinical setting of the infertility specialist’s office, Janet laid her hands upon her partner — one palm on Lisa’s thigh, the other on Lisa’s upper arm — as a doctor inseminated Lisa with sperm from an anonymous man the two women knew only as donor No. 2309. It was, according to Janet, a ritual the Virginia couple repeated more than once before Lisa gave birth April 16, 2002, to a 5-pound, 15-ounce baby girl named Isabella Ruth Miller-Jenkins.
“This baby was made in love,” said Janet, now 42 and living in Vermont.
Lisa, 38, offers a dramatically different account of the begetting of Isabella. According to her, Janet didn’t even go with her to the fertility doctor’s office on the day Isabella was conceived.
Lisa Miller, as she now is called, is identified by the Liberty Counsel as someone who has “left the homosexual life through the redeeming power of Jesus Christ.” The problem for Miller is that she doesn’t want to recognize the parental rights of her former partner Janet Jenkins with regards to Isabella: In Vermont where the two were “civil unionized,” the state statutes explicitly recognize parental rights of same-sex couples. In Virginia, where Lisa Miller has resided for a number of years, the state statutes don’t recognize parental rights for same-sex couples. Janet Jenkins won visitation rights in Vermont. And, to quote the Lindevaldsen Letter:
[Below the fold: the Lindevaldsen Letter‘s take on what to think, how to pray, and how this is an “evil” that to this point has triumped.]
…Janet then brought the Vermont order to Virginia, asking Virginia to give full faith and credit to the Vermont orders that treated Janet as a mother and gave her visitation.
Fast forward to today — Lisa has lost every single appeal in Vermont and Virginia. As I sit here today, I can tell you that the Virginia appellate courts have decided that the Vermont orders are to be given full faith and credit in Virginia even though Virginia’s marriage laws — including the Marriage Amendment we passed in November 2006 — state that all orders coming out of a same-sex relationship are void and unenforceable. The Virginia courts made these determinations even though the Virginia Attorney General stated in court documents in Lisa’s case that Virginia cannot give full faith and credit to the Vermont orders.
Now, Janet’s attorneys have asked the Vermont court to switch custody from Lisa to Janet. They’ve made the request because Lisa has not given visitation for the past months out of concern for her child’s physical and psychological well-being. On October 27, 2008, Judge Cohen in Rutland County, Vermont will hold a hearing on Janet’s motion and decide whether to punish Lisa for disobeying the court-ordered visitation. Even before that, on September 29, 2008, the United States Supreme Court will hold a conference where it will decide whether to hear Lisa’s appeal from the Vermont decisions [the Court declined to hear the case-Editor]. A couple weeks later, the United States Supreme Court will decide whether to hear Lisa’s appeal from the Virginia decisions. Although we all know that the Supreme Court needs to take the case to protect Isabella (by reversing the Virginia and Vermont decisions), the odds are against Lisa since the court only takes one percent of all cases that come before it. The odds are even worse in Lisa’s case because the Supreme Court tends to only take cases where there is a conflict between the states. Here, because Virginia courts ignored Virginia law, Vermont and Virginia are in agreement – Lisa has to turn Isabella over to Janet for visitation (or even custody if on October 27, 2008 Vermont switches custody to Janet). We’ve asked the Supreme Court to do what every single court in Virginia and Vermont has refused to do in over four years of litigation: squarely address Lisa’s fundamental rights to raise her child. The Virginia courts have repeatedly failed to explain how a legal stranger can be given visitation to Lisa’s child without violating Lisa’s fundamental constitutional parental rights. The Vermont Supreme Court did look at the issue once, stating simply that because Vermont had declared Janet a parent, she now had equal constitutional rights to that of Lisa.
As you can tell, Lisa and Isabella need your help. Lisa’s desire to raise her child according to the truths of Scripture are under attack: at one point during the Vermont litigation, Janet’s attorneys argued that Lisa shouldn’t be allowed to keep primary custody of Isabella because Lisa believed that God had a plan for Isabella’s life and that God would protect Isabella. I’m asking you to consider whether you can commit to prayer on behalf of this family. At times like this, the Church needs to stand united before our Lord to intercede on Lisa and Isabella’s behalf.
I would also ask that you consider what you can do to let others around the nation know about this case. There are so many other women around the country who have left the homosexual lifestyle and are struggling to keep their children. The nation and Church need to know about this in order to do something to prevent this from happening in our courts to other women, and to come alongside these women and minister to them.
Attorney Rena Lindevaldsen even quotes Edmund Burke’s famous line in her letter: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” In Lindevaldsen’s and other Christian Nationalist’s minds, LGBT people and LGBT assertions for civil rights are evils. It’s evils they want to crush; it’s evils for which they want to put statutes and court interpretations in full legal alignment with how they interpret the dictates of the Bible.
The Log Cabin Republicans may not see a problem with having a Vice President who may very well turn out to be a Christian Nationalist, but I certainly do. And, I certainly hope most LGBT people consider the possibility of another Christian Nationalist within America’s Executive Branch as much as an anathema as I do too.
* From Concerned Women For America‘s U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Lisa Miller Case (call this “opposition listening”):