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Further update: Philip Zodhiates

It appears that the trial I mentioned here in the Lisa Miller case is going to be the trial of Philip Zodhiates. He is a Virginia businessman who allegedly helped Lisa Miller get out of the country. This article implies that Zodhiates had a contact in Canada who helped Lisa and Isabella on the Canadian leg of their journey to Nicaragua.

Zodhiates' trial is set to go in Buffalo, NY, this fall, possibly this month. As I mentioned before, Ken Miller is under threat of additional jail time if he will not testify, and I now conclude that it is Zodhiates against whom he's being pressured to testify.

It is a bit chilling to reflect that the federal prosecutors doubtless have enough evidence to convict Zodhiates without Ken Miller's testimony but are putting Miller under the extreme stress and internal conflict of coercing him to testify nonetheless. One could look at this as sadistic, but my best guess is that it's just cold-blooded prosecutorial zeal. "We want to throw in all the evidence we have in the case. You never know what will convince a jury. Miller has evidence. Miller must be forced to testify." Pity and moderation don't apparently enter into the calculation.

And then one wonders about that Canadian contact, if he exists. Will Zodhiates be convicted, the contact found and extradited from Canada, and Zodhiates told that he will face yet more (indefinite) jail time if he won't testify against the person from Canada? The chain of potential targets of vengeance seems never-ending, with each man-link in the chain being coerced into testifying against the next.

The federal prosecutors even arrested and indicted a different pastor, Timothy Miller (not related to any of the others by that last name in the case), whose crime was apparently only helping Lisa after she arrived in Nicaragua. It's not even clear to me how he can be charged in an American court for actions performed in Nicaragua. I've heard of much more serious crimes than this being unprosecutable because the American citizen in question committed them on foreign soil, so I admit to being stumped by this one. Timothy Miller seems only to have gotten out of prosecution by agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors. He should never have come back to the states at all.

Pray for Philip Zodhiates as well as for Ken Miller's decision concerning whether to testify in his case.

Comments (51)

Tangentially related, I was watching Jeopardy! last night, which is usually one of the few things left on TV that can be watched without controversy, when one of the contestants announced that she was a Republican or conservative (I can't remember which) but in favor of same-sex "marriage" which was met with rigorous applause from the audience.

Are you aware Timo Miller was arrasted a couple weeks ago while riding his moped and is being held in prison with no charges, etc.

The embasy claims to not know anything about it etc...

Link? Did this supposedly happen in Nicaragua?

He was arrested back in 2011 (I think it was) but not tried after he agreed to cooperate with investigators.

Sorry, OT - no farewell to Phyllis Schlafly, here, yet?

A truly great American woman.

Ann Coulter's obit is wonderful:

http://www.anncoulter.com/columns/2016-09-05.html

Whaddaya know, it *is* OT! Please feel free to e-mail the editor if you have post suggestions. We are indeed a little slow around here about always posting about the latest thing, even the latest death.

Meanwhile, I await with genuine interest and concern any more info. from commentator "Just Me" about something related to the actual topic of this post.

"Please feel free to e-mail the editor"

OK, I'll give it a try.

Nope. Can't be done. But please do carry on.

Yes this is current. Incarcerated in Nicauragua now as i understand.

I just tested the "contact the editor" function, and had no problem. Must be your email application, Steve.

Yes this is current. Incarcerated in Nicauragua now as i understand

Is there a source you can point us to?

"Must be your email application, Steve."

Could be. I'm an old guy - much older than Lydia! - and I've never really gotten the hang of Windows 10.

Still, be all that as it may, I would have liked to have seen some honor given, here, to this great American woman. On the left, everybody spat on her grave. On the right, everybody but Ann Coulter ignored her passing.

Sad!

Dear sweet sunshine.

Steve, did you suppose this to be an obituary blog for faithfully departed conservatives?

Looking back, Harry V. Jaffa died in January of 2015. It appears that it took me over a week to notice, here in writing, this important fact, despite Jaffa's enormous influence on me. And even that was only a passing reference; a fuller appraisal of Jaffa had to wait until February.

Going farther back, we were pretty sharp, blogging date-wise, on the death notices for Solzhenitsyn, Buckley and Neuhaus, but sometimes it was only a single-line post with a link. Not exactly hard work; not exactly breaking news.

In a word, "everybody but Ann Coulter" did not "ignore" her passing. What happened is that you came back and tossed in a couple flash-bangs just to shake up the room.

OK, so I guess there would have been no point in contacting Paul by e-mail, even if I'd been able to figure out how to do so.

Bye, for now.

Just Me, please do post your source if you can. I wonder why they have arrested him again. Perhaps because (gasp) he helped Isabella and Lisa *again*?

Btw, I did a little research, and it appears that "parental kidnapping" is one of those crimes for which Congress has declared "extraterritorial jurisdiction" over American citizens. In other words, any American citizen abroad who helps a "parental kidnapper" can, it appears, be tried for a very serious crime in an American court if he ever returns to U.S. soil.

You can go to plainnews.com

"Btw, I did a little research, and it appears that "parental kidnapping" is one of those crimes for which Congress has declared "extraterritorial jurisdiction" over American citizens. In other words, any American citizen abroad who helps a "parental kidnapper" can, it appears, be tried for a very serious crime in an American court if he ever returns to U.S. soil."

It's ironic that these men that helped Lisa and Isabella actually helped prevent a kidnapping. I get that is not what the authorities will say, but it is what is true. If anyone needs to fear being tried and court and possibly jailed it should be the judges who actually did try to kidnap Isabella and hand her over to a stranger. This is one of those aggravating cases, so much pain and suffering inflicted on innocent people just to try to make homosexuality appear normal and good. The legally and morally right solution is and was extremely obvious and the authorities went the other way.

JM, one has to be a member of the site (it's actually .org) to view the content, including news content, and one has to be Mennonite or a member of a similar group to obtain a subscription.

Would you feel comfortable quoting a passage from the relevant news item at the site?

I am genuinely concerned about Timo Miller. Assuming that this arrest has happened, one wonders, is he going to be extradited? If so, does that mean that the Nicaraguan govt. is starting to cooperate in such extraditions? What does that mean for Lisa's and Isabella's safety? So this is a very worrisome story for everyone concerned about the case. Moreover, I doubt that the Nicaraguans are exactly nice guys in their treatment of prisoners. So one worries that Timo is being "encouraged" to give more information by the Nicaraguan police.

DR84, quite right. One of the things that has always struck me about this case is the many different good reasons the judge had to do differently from what he did. Lisa originally did cooperate in sending Isabella for visits with Janet Jenkins. I don't know how many of these visits there were, but my impression is that it was only a few, and that they were for a couple of days apiece, including overnight. Lisa defied the court orders completely only after Isabella showed definite signs of harm from these visits, and she presented evidence to this effect to the court. Once that information was in place, the family law judge in Vermont could *easily* have rescinded his order of unsupervised visits. He would have had a perfectly good excuse, and not just an excuse--a real reason in family law. Family law is supposed to be based on the "best interests of the child." Family law judges have a lot of leeway. My own _guess_ is that Lisa would have permitted short, _supervised_ visits between Isabella and Jenkins, though of course no such thing should have been required. But I doubt she would have fled the country rather than allow Lisa to hang out at a community center or a McDonald's in Virginia for a couple of hours every two months with Janet Jenkins and an agreed-upon third party supervising. Bad enough, and unjust, but not insupportable.

My point in general is that the judge could have even gone on pretending that this was a normal custody divorce case, since he believed that was what he was required to do in law. He could have ruled, on the merits, that it was too distressing to Isabella to be sent to spend that much time, unsupervised, with Jenkins, and that it was therefore not in her best interests, and modified his demands accordingly.

But no. The judge, like so many such petty dictators, couldn't stand being argued with. He was by golly going to force that little girl to have unsupervised weekends with her so-called "other mother," to prove a point about his own power if nothing else. And when Lisa continued to defy him, he then ordered full custody to Jenkins just to show her she couldn't get away with defying him. Judicial spite, in other words.

Lydia, can you give us a brief reminder of the bare facts of this, like:
when the two women got a civil union
when Isabella was born
when Lisa stopped living with Janet
when did court-ordered visitations start
when did the Lisa leave Vermont
when did Janet sue for full custody
when did Lisa go into hiding / flee?

I also wonder if Lisa's repentance from and repudiation of her past homosexuality played a factor in this. I know nothing about the judge, maybe he is just a petty man who cannot stand being defied, maybe he also sympathizes with the so called LGBT rights side. If that is the case, I would imagine that her repudiating homosexuality would not have come across well. If a similar case were to happen again, it would not surprise me in the least if the repentant biological parent were not deemed unfit for their repentance full stop. If it has not already happened, it seems only a matter of time before courts starting questioning how fit any parent is who is known to not support homosexuality.

Anyway, it seems odd, to say the least, that the state can declare a person who is not a biological parent to be a parent against the wishes of an actual biological parent. That principle is highly concerning in it's own right. It makes far more sense to me that the biological parent is just understood to be the primary authority of their children. Perhaps a biological parent could file paperwork letting the government know they are allowing some non-relative to act as a parent, but that authority could be revoked at any time by the biological parent. Something like that makes much more sense overall to me.

Tony, the early dates and facts in the Wiki article are, as far as I know, correct:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller_v._Jenkins

The answers to your questions, in order by your questions, are

--2000
--2002
--2003 (Isabella was 17 months old)
--2006 (after a protracted legal battle over which state's laws were to apply to the custody case)
--2003 or 2004 (I would have to track that down, but it was quite soon after the dissolution of the civil union)
--Jenkins didn't have to "sue" for full custody, the judge granted it to her gratis because he said that Miller's behavior was "getting out of hand" for her refusal to continue with the visitations he had ordered. The judge warned Miller that he would do this earlier in 2009. The official declaration of full custody was made in November of 2009, with turnover to occur on Jan. 1, 2010. Lisa and Isabella had already fled by the time the official full custody order was handed down, because the judge had made it clear what he was going to do if Lisa kept defying orders for unsupervised visitation.
--September, 2009

What is incorrect is the statement from the wiki article that Lisa Miller "consistently failed to comply" with visitation orders between 2006 and 2009. In fact, as these articles from WND documents (and as was consistently stated at the time), Isabella did have several unsupervised visits with Jenkins (because they were ordered by the court) some time during those three years, when she was between four and seven years old.

http://www.wnd.com/2008/12/83473/

http://www.wnd.com/2009/01/87430/

It was only when Miller saw the harm that these were doing that she refused to comply with the orders.

Anyway, it seems odd, to say the least, that the state can declare a person who is not a biological parent to be a parent against the wishes of an actual biological parent. That principle is highly concerning in it's own right. It makes far more sense to me that the biological parent is just understood to be the primary authority of their children. Perhaps a biological parent could file paperwork letting the government know they are allowing some non-relative to act as a parent, but that authority could be revoked at any time by the biological parent. Something like that makes much more sense overall to me.

DR84, from a legal perspective, it is actually bizarrely logical. (This is in the sense that G.K. Chesterton said that the problem with a madman is not that he is illogical but that he is only logical. That is, consistent with an insane first premise.)

Civil unions (which wimpy, confused conservatives would do well to remember) were always, always intended to be the legal equivalent of marriage, custody customs and family law included.

In a marriage, when a woman gives birth to a child during the time of the marriage, the "other partner" (which normal people automatically call "the husband") is automatically, legally, the other parent of the child. This is known as presumed fatherhood. That's why a married man doesn't have to adopt his own children.

Now, what the judge was doing, in line with the intent of the Vermont legislature (and he may have been right that this was their intent) was applying the principle of "presumed fatherhood" to the *other partner* in this legal-marriage-equivalent union. That "other partner," of course, happened to be a woman who *could not possibly* have been the other biological parent of the child.

Any sane person knows that the original reason for presumed fatherhood was to maintain family unity because, in theory, the husband *could* have been the father of the child. The principle goes back, of course, to the days before DNA testing, and the idea was just to _presume_ that this was the father, since it could possibly have _been_ the father. No such consideration applies to a lesbian partner, but the judge ignored that in trying to make the civil union as much "like marriage" as possible--to pretend that this was just another divorce custody case and to treat Jenkins as being the equivalent of the man in such a case, where Isabella was "a child of the union."

Anyway, it seems odd, to say the least, that the state can declare a person who is not a biological parent to be a parent against the wishes of an actual biological parent.

But that is exactly what happens in the case of unfit parents. And it is shameful when judges remove children from foster or other care and return them to unfit biological parents who are clearly a threat to them. Many children have been abused and killed for this reason. The judge is acting extremely unwisely and vindictively, but it doesn't seem to me biology is the real issue here.

Civil unions (which wimpy, confused conservatives would do well to remember) were always, always intended to be the legal equivalent of marriage, custody customs and family law included.

I think you are right - this was exactly what was intended by the people who pushed for civil union laws. I suspect, however, that it is NOT true of many of the legislators who voted "aye" for the law, possibly even a majority of them, being hoodwinked into the claim that it was "just for limited purposes". Certainly many legislators had no notion of how it would play out in fact-patterns like this. Idiots.

But that is exactly what happens in the case of unfit parents. And it is shameful when judges remove children from foster or other care and return them to unfit biological parents who are clearly a threat to them. Many children have been abused and killed for this reason. The judge is acting extremely unwisely and vindictively, but it doesn't seem to me biology is the real issue here.

Mark, I agree with you completely, that this is what happens with unfit parents - who have severely ABUSED their rights as parents by abusing a child, thus overcoming the state's (necessary) presumption that biological (and legally married) parents have full parental authority over a child. This presumption is a fundamental part of our social order: we believe that parents don't get their authority over their children from the state, they get it naturally by being parents. The state can act to remove the exercise of that authority ONLY on proof that the parents have severely abused that authority.

For this legal presumption of parental authority, one of the immemorial customs of our society is that a man who is married to a woman when the child is born *is* the father. Not merely "is to be treated as if" he is the father, but IS the father. The fact of the marriage before the law, in ancient times, actually trumped the biological factor: even if the woman could be proven to have been unfaithful, and even if the father had been away for a solid year fighting a war, the child was his if he didn't repudiate the child being his. (This is a feature that made St. Joseph legally Jesus's father, which protected Mary from the charge of being an unwed mother.) The legal standard that he is the father leads to the legal result that he has full parental authority. This is one of the social ramifications of the state recognizing marriage by licensing and recording it.

What we have here is a combination of 2 factors (at least) that are not playing out correctly: first, the legal presumption that Jenkins "is" one parent is fraught with disorder, not least because she was not married to the mother at the time of conception or birth: civil union was not (legally) marriage. I don't claim to know state law, but I suspect that back in 2002 Vermont was still working out the details of what their civil union law meant in detail, partly through the courts, and it may have been possible for THIS judge to decide "civil union does not carry every one of the SAME presumptions of parenthood". (Or perhaps not, I don't really know.)

The second matter is Lisa's claims that the child was being harmed by the visits, being shunted aside. Again, I don't know enough about the facts on the ground, but normally a custodial parent's claims that visits with the other "parent" are resulting in harm must be taken seriously, not waved away as mere antipathy. Lisa's actions to not allow visits legally ordered were not taken solely out of repudiation of the gay agenda, but based explicitly on those claims of harm.

I also find it difficult to believe that there is total support in state law for the notion that the principle of "best interest of the child" can be set aside to "honor" the custodial presumption of a parent (or "parent") for whom the child has, first, no biological ties, and absolutely NO memory as being her parent, because the other heretofore custodial parent has been determined to be an "unfit parent" SOLELY on the issue of unresolved issues of custody. We have seen tons of cases of CPS being ordered to return a child to an abusive parent where the abuse is MUCH more harmful to the child than the harm that can be placed at Lisa's door, merely because the harm is not considered severe ENOUGH to warrant the state taking the child away. In reality, the "harm" (in the legal sense) here is not to the child at all, but to Jenkins. The child has no such thing as an ordinary child-parent relationship with Jenkins, she has no memory of Jenkins of the sort that "not living with Jenkins" will constitute a kind of harm to the child emotionally. Again, in reality, to REMOVE the child from Lisa Miller and give full custody to Jenkins would be utterly contrary to the best interest of the child on any standard I can think of. I cannot see how the judge can twist the "best interest of the child" standard out of this, and I don't understand why an appeal to a higher court didn't reverse this judge's manipulative and punitive animus against Miller.

Just as an aside, perhaps Vermont never had to face this issue before in family law, but I am sure it has come up in other states - before civil unions and gay "marriage" came up: there must have been instances in which an infant born to a woman (say unmarried), she then marries, and the child was legally adopted by her new husband , with a subsequent divorce not very far down the road, say within 18 months. I find it difficult to believe that back in the 70s and 80s, there was a court in the land that would have EVER awarded custody of the child to the adoptive father on the exact same basis as if he was the child's biological father. I find it difficult to imagine that even then, family law was so bent and broken that a non-biological, adoptive father's "rights" would be considered legally EXACTLY the same as a biological father's, with the potential that the court would presumptively hand over custody to the adoptive father if they found 5 or 6 years later that they had issues with the mother. I do (as indicated above) allow for a very strong sort of legal protection of "family" even if that trumps biology in some cases, but biology should count for SOMETHING. The situation of an adoptive father is, for a time, a situation of the state deciding to treat someone who is not ACTUALLY a father, AS IF he were the child's father. The relationship of "real" fatherhood (meaning, primarily, that of love) will normally develop over time after the adoption occurs, but that hoped-for relationship can be recognized as having failed if the husband and wife divorce in only 18 months. At which point, biology should trump the adoptive "treated as if" standard, the adoptive father should not be considered to have the same rights as a biological father. And, of course, Jenkins should legally have no more rights over the child than a non-biological adoptive parent whose union (not marriage) failed in only 17 months.

But this also points up a further lacuna in state law: children brought into the world via IVF should, as a matter of course (if the state isn't going to outlaw it altogether, that is), have state intervention similar to adoption. Generally, for at least ONE party (often for both who are seeking to "get a baby", if there even ARE 2) there is no biological relationship to the child. The state ought to simply say "hey, no biological relationship means we need state oversight and approval comparable to adoption". You can think of corporations buying the "carrying" services of poor women to create slaves via IVF, if you don't think there is a need for state oversight. And, even though a couple might be married when the (IVF) child is born, that shouldn't create the state legal automatic presumptions of parenthood, but the state legal status comparable to adoptive parents. Which should have put Janet Jenkins in a more difficult position in claiming the rights of a parent, once the union fell apart.

Actually, Isabella's conception wasn't via IVF but I believe via the more low-tech process of artificial insemination. (I hope I haven't accidentally stated differently at any point.) So Lisa was her biological mother in a fairly ordinary sense of the term, though she hadn't had sex with the anonymous sperm donor who sold his sperm! A crazy situation every way, but that has always been one of the ways in which lesbian women have babies.

And Jenkins didn't even adopt Isabella. She claimed parental rights _solely_ on the basis of Isabella's having been born "in" (during) the civil union.

In some of the lengthy debates I've had about this case with people who tried to justify the judge, I've gotten the impression that judges *do* sometimes award (or at least threaten to award) full custody to punish a parent who won't cooperate with visitation. This wasn't unprecedented. As you say, Tony, this doesn't square with a "best interests of the child" analysis, but apparently it's pretty blatant and not all that uncommon. The court must be obeyed. What will be said is something to the effect that a judge can't just allow his visitation orders to be flouted or he is "rewarding" the custodial parent for disobeying, that it is a necessary part of the "rule of law" that this kind of nuclear option (losing primary custody entirely) is on the table in divorce cases where one member of the couple is uncooperative with what the court decides.

The judge *had* fined Lisa for refusing some of the visitations, as I recall. And I seem to recall that she had been paying at least some of those fines. My guess is that he could have ruined her eventually financially but that he was outraged by her stubbornness and willingness to do anything rather than send Isabella again for unsupervised visits.

Picked up off the Street

I got a call about an hour ago saying that the local Nicaraguan Police picked Timo Miller up this morning on his way home from delivering doughnuts on his bicycle. (Timo’s family bake doughnuts for a living.) Apparently the neighbors saw it happen and brought Timo’s bicycle back to their house.

Since that’s all we know, it is a mystery why Timo would be arrested in this way. Several weeks ago local authorities were at *************'s house, asking about Timo, because of the ongoing legal case against him in the United States. ********explained that Timo is not hiding and is just waiting until they call him up to the US to face his supposed crime. *********assured the authorities that they could go to Timo and talk to him personally. They in turn promised that if it were necessary to arrest Timo, that they would allow him to turn himself in honorably.

Now this.

8-12-16
And now the plot thickens. Supposedly they don’t have Timo at the local police stations in Managua. The Interpol knows nothing. The prosecutors in the US don’t know anything about it. The US embassy knows nothing. So unless somebody is lying, Timo disappeared in thin air. And right now it looks more like a kidnapping than anything else. But God knows where he is. Nobody is pulling the wool over his eyes! Nobody is pushing Jesus off of his throne. And I am sure that HE can handle this one too. So we rest in him…

5:00 pm

Just got a call from *********** They found out that Timo is being held in Managua’s political prison, called Chipote, a prison supposedly known for its human rights abuses. Joanna and ********** are on their way over there right now.

7:00 pm

The authorities in the Chipote refused to give any information about Timo. They wouldn’t even say for sure if Timo was there. But a police friend had already told ************ that he was there. There is a possibility that this is only the local Nicaraguan authorities investigating Timo and that the US authorities aren’t involved.

Excerpts
8-13-16
So far there has been no contact with Timo. And no sure word of even where he is. And any attempt to get information at Chipote resulted in a scolding. But the same friend that says Timo is in Chipote says the Interpol is definitely behind it. That comes as a relief for us here. We believe that if he is in International hands, he is probably treated more humanely

8-15-16There’s not a whole lot new on Timo tonight. Over three days have gone by, and no one steps forward to explain what’s going on. The American embassy claims they know nothing and have nothing to do with it. The Interpol, likewise. The local police will give barely any information. Local friends of the police force and lawyers all say that the US or the Interpol is behind it, because El Chipote is the prison they send people they want to extradite. But why wouldn’t they want to tell a mother and five children what’s going on? Is there something illegal going on?

8-16-16I just got done sighing in relief and shedding some tears. Joanna was able to see Timo, finally, for a short visit, a little before noon.

He was chilling, and apparently sick, but he says the police are promising to bring him some meds soon. Otherwise, he seems upbeat and okay, and quickly assured Joanna they told him he is being extradited to the United States, but no one knows how long the paperwork will take. He says they have been treating him fine (as well as could be expected in those conditions, I suppose). He has not been investigated much, and hardly knows what is going on himself. He is now in a cell with others, and he has made friends with them all.

Timo estimated it’s around 110 degrees daytimes in his cell, and it’s sort of like a dungeon. Half underground on a hillside. And there is not much light. He did say he was glad for a Bible he got a hold of, and though Joanna didn’t ask him how, he obviously somehow finds enough light to read.

8-20-16 Timo’s charges had been dropped in the Vermont courts a few years ago, since Timo had given truthful testimony. But now the Buffalo courts are claiming they are not bound by the agreement and have recharged Timo with aiding and abetting a kidnapping. They also claim Timo breached the agreement by not appearing on summons for Ken’s trial, which we know was because of his wife having a child right over that time. Tmo had told them ahead of time that that date would not suit for him to attend the trial, and the prosecutors had attempted to get the trial delayed for that reason, but the judge denied that. They are also claiming that they now question Timo’s recorded testimony, though they haven’t shown any proof of that, either. The charges are basically the same as the last time.

8-21-16 According to some Nicaraguan officials they say it looks like someone is paying good money to the Chipote jail officials and certain nicaraguan investigators to catch and hold Timo until they can find a way to extradite him in an illegal way. They say that it has been tried to be done before. The US is saying that they did not order an extradiction because his charges are not big enough to do it. Is that why someone is trying to do it this way? These are questions that we might never know the answers.We do not have to know as long as God is in control.

8-23-16Friends, the Nicaraguan judge finally made it into El Chipote and found out that the jail officials said Timo does have a red card against him in the Interpol. I guess they were just not telling us what was going on. They say the case is with the Immigration offices in Nicaragua now, that there is nothing more we can do on this end, and that he will be extradited any day. Joanna was not allowed to meet with Timo this morning, not sure why.

8-31-16 We did get word that in 2 weeks the states plan to have him up there. All I have to say is he is here. Praise God. He may have something else in mind. But we still would go up to face this. Hopefully just a different way than being deported. So let's pray that God will move according to His will and He will continue to open doors to speak into all the more lives.

9-7-16
I did get in to see Timo today after 6 hours of waiting. They told me I will be the last and I had 15 minutes instead of 30. Those 15 minutes were spent with the dearest on earth to me. And, sad to say, I left feeling sad. Because of the heat, Timo is really struggling with his blood pressure. He never has had this issue before, but he says he's on meds now because it is high in there. He did not look really healthy. But as his body is weakened, his spirit is soaring far beyond those four walls. It's been a struggle for him, but he testifies to the grace of God.

His cell is about 12 by 14 feet, I believe he said. There are 4 with him in that cell right now. It is better than the first one he was in. The first one just had a hole in the floor you use as a toilet. And you also shower there with a bucket of water. The cell was smaller and double the amount of men. The room Timo is in now is small but it has a toilet and shower. It is wet because of water that leaks into it. It is dark with the only light coming from the ventilating bars at the ceiling, but he gets enough light in the day to read.


Mark, I agree with you completely, that this is what happens with unfit parents - who have severely ABUSED their rights as parents by abusing a child, thus overcoming the state's (necessary) presumption that biological (and legally married) parents have full parental authority over a child.

You’ve followed Lydia’s line of thinking on assumption of legality, but it’s a very flawed account.

Historically the legal aspects of fatherhood did not hinge on the assumption that husbands could be the biological father as she stated. The assumption was in fact that a man accepting the responsibility for raising a child in absence of dispute is the legitimate father to the child. The relevant concept here is legitimacy, a political term. Even if he were the biological father he could have rejected and exposed the child, or left the mother if she could keep him from doing that, but he did not and accepted the child willingly. That was the father in the eyes of the law.

The state did not care or have any reason to care whether he was actually the biological father unless there was reason to think a dispute will arise, and without wealth or status that was highly unlikely. Of course this means that everything about birth and adoption was far more complicated for those with status and wealth as everyone knows since one could be highly motivated to challenge paternity over inheritance and such.

Look, marriage since Roman times and no doubt before depended on consent, not consummation or anything else. The changes in the Lutheran Reformation didn’t change that. You say your account of biological fathers being considered legal fathers is “automatic". Yet it isn't clear to me what has changed from then to now. A mother doesn’t have to list a father on a birth certificate if she doesn’t want to. Biological fathers can be left off of birth certificates by the consent of either party. The birth certificate is a legal document. People have no concept of what legitimacy means anymore. Per Tom Wolfe's phrasing, we've gone "Back to Blood".

This is the classic view. Here’s Aquinas in the Summa:

I answer that, Sonship belongs properly to the hypostasis or person, not to the nature;

As sonship does not properly belong to the nature, so neither does adoption.

Mark, I think we're not going to debate this here. If you think that automatic legal fatherhood of a married man vis a vis the children his wife bears during the marriage has had *nothing to do with* the biological fact that men and women can have babies together and that married men and women usually do, then you're out to lunch. You have your own ideas, but we're not going to discuss them endlessly here. And by the way, I was talking about English common law, not Roman law, and last time I checked, a father didn't have the right under English common law to expose his child on a hillside. Very much to the contrary.

Just me, thank you very much for those quotes. That's terrible. I don't understand the business about "Vermont courts" and "Buffalo courts" from a legal perspective, because in both cases it is a _federal_ prosecutor, and one would think such a federal agreement would continue regardless of what venue is under consideration. It sounds like an excuse for re-accusing him and finishing up "unfinished business." His family must be in terror for him. I just hope that whatever bribery has worked here to get him extradited does not also result in the Nicaraguan authorities' finding Lisa and Isabella.

By the way, everyone interested in this case will probably want to know (though it's not happy knowledge) that Janet Jenkins the ever-vengeful is just waiting in the wings with a civil suit against all of these good people--Timothy Miller, Kenneth Miller, and Philip Zodhiates--once the criminal trials are over. It has been delayed only by the criminal courts who have been concerned about possibly biasing the criminal case.

Lydia, you’ve made inaccurate statements about the moral foundations of the law that are very consequential. If this account doesn’t really matter, why did you write it? Now you’re trying to portray my pointing out this highly significant matter of legal history as claiming that though humans are necessarily biological beings (at least on my account), as well as sexual beings by necessity biologically, somehow this means I think “biology has nothing to do with” whatever the hell it is you’re trying to attribute to me. Really?

Nothing I’ve said to illustrate depends on whether or not infanticide is legal. There is such a thing as moral progress in society, at least of this sort, and we can see it all around. English Common Law did take measures to protect infants, and also passed laws narrowed laws to specifically apply to “bastard” children. Before then when it was normally punished it was in ecclesiastical courts.

People can judge our two social-legal accounts quite well enough as is. In all the smoke and flash of your response you’ve neatly sidestepped the issue of legitimacy. Your interest in English Common Law is quite selective.

The debate between myself and Lydia and Tony’s perspective is essentially about what “automatic” means in terms of fatherhood. It seems to me for them the logic runs: automatic -> typical -> given, where the characterization of this progression is seen to be fulfilled by our biological nature.

When something functions well, it can well be described as automatic. But in what sense? For whom does this automaticity hold, and why? Motherhood in general has been understood as “automatic” in biological terms for fairly obvious reasons. In contrast fatherhood, when it obtains as “automatic”, is so in terms of habitus, classically characterized as “second nature”, which are essentially deep grooves within one’s social-rational nature that can guide a fundamentally social-rational animal the most definitively. This correlates with the fact that there aren't historical examples societies where mothers abandon their children in any numbers. With fathers, we do know of such societal examples.

Natural Law is meaningless as a shared term without some basic agreement about human nature. It contains within it assumptions about human nature. I realize now that Natural Law can be used merely in terms of moralism or legalism. In that case Natural Law = biology. But that isn’t Natural Law in any real sense. Aquinas said: ”the natural law is nothing else than the rational creature's participation of the eternal law”. Without basic agreement on the meaning of “rational creature” or what rationality generally means, use of the term Natural Law is quite meaningless.

Natural Law is meaningless as a shared term without some basic agreement about human nature. It contains within it assumptions about human nature. I realize now that Natural Law can be used merely in terms of moralism or legalism. In that case Natural Law = biology. But that isn’t Natural Law in any real sense. Aquinas said: ”the natural law is nothing else than the rational creature's participation of the eternal law”. Without basic agreement on the meaning of “rational creature” or what rationality generally means, use of the term Natural Law is quite meaningless.

If natural law depends on the agreement of men as to what it is to mean, then it isn't natural law.

If natural law depends on the agreement of men as to what it is to mean, then it isn't natural law.

That's not what I said. Here's Aquinas once again:

”the natural law is nothing else than the rational creature's participation of the eternal law”

Natural Law doesn't require agreement, it depends only on a rational creature to participate in it.

Discussing anything requires a shared understanding of the point of discussion, though not necessarily agreement. If I know when you say 'unicorn' you mean what I know as 'Doberman Pinscher', I can participate in a discussion with you about what you think are unicorns. But if you don't know that what you call unicorns are what most people call Doberman Pinschers it will be confusing for you, and others who've not learned of your idiosyncratic use of the term.

In all the smoke and flash of your response you’ve neatly sidestepped the issue of legitimacy.

Not even remotely. Indeed, the whole point of legitimacy was that it was a presumption that the child was the father's "issue." Though this was sometimes a legal fiction (and allowed to be so because it was beneficial to society to make it difficult to disown a child, and hard cases make bad law), that *was* what the legal presumption *was* in English law. If you don't know this, I'm not going to run around and find the references for you. Do your own work. It was not *merely* legal fatherhood, as in adoption, for an adoptee could not inherit entailed property (for example), but a presumed heir of the body could do so. A father could sometimes get out of supporting a child who was not his biological issue and have the child declared a bastard, but it was difficult to do so and required proving that the child "could not" have been so in an extremely strict sense (e.g., that the husband was a child or impotent at the time of the conception). Presumed fatherhood was not merely the equivalent of the father's choosing to be kind enough to be the child's legal father, as if every father were tacitly adopting his wife's children. Far from it. Again, if you don't know this, do your own homework.

Now, I've told you that we aren't going to have this debate on this thread. You are going to stop blathering that I'm uninformed or have sidestepped this or that or whatever it is you want to keep saying. Bag it. For some reason you have a bee in your bonnet about the word "biology." It's like a red rag to a bull to you. Too bad. Realize that some things are closely related to biology, and if they weren't, we'd be living in crazyland, which is what the leftists are trying to make us live in anyway.

Maybe you should spend the time you want to spend telling me about how I don't know what I'm talking about praying instead for Timo Miller in a dungeon in Nicaragua because he cared about biology and God's law manifested therein, or for Philip Zodhiates about to go on trial, or for Ken Miller in federal prison for the same reason.

Look, I'm the one who stated out the outset that legitimacy was presumed for married couples in absence of dispute. Then as now, biological fatherhood only matters when those involved wish to dispute it. You wish to leap from what is typical to what is essential about God's most complex creation.

There are and have always been commonly understood two senses of fatherhood, unlike motherhood. Bastardy was the flip-side of legitimacy. It simply meant fatherless. A bastard wasn't necessarily a child whose biological father wasn't known. In fact some fathers who could afford it were known to support their bastard children, though not openly.

It wasn't even until 1926 in England that post-hoc legitimization was introduced under the Legitimacy Act. Until then there was no possibility of post factum legitimization of bastards at all. Until then if a father didn't accept his child as his own legally never could at a future time, no matter how much evidence, testimony, or even obvious physical similarities there might be.

Maybe you should spend the time you want to spend telling me about how I don't know what I'm talking about praying instead for Timo Miller in a dungeon in Nicaragua because he cared about biology and God's law manifested therein

Spare me your piety. What is the illegitimacy rate in your county Lydia? Pretty high in mine. I use my knowledge of it to minister to real fatherless kids. Having the experience of being and having a father, even a very good one, isn't enough to know what to do for those who don't. Legitimacy is something that goes way beyond the law and has a deep emotional and psychological basis. It's a thing, the same as it ever was and ever will be.

Natural Law is meaningless as a shared term without some basic agreement about human nature. It contains within it assumptions about human nature. I realize now that Natural Law can be used merely in terms of moralism or legalism. In that case Natural Law = biology. But that isn’t Natural Law in any real sense. Aquinas said: ”the natural law is nothing else than the rational creature's participation of the eternal law”. Without basic agreement on the meaning of “rational creature” or what rationality generally means, use of the term Natural Law is quite meaningless.

Did you mean this? Fix: The expression "natural law" is unhelpful in a discussion without the parties having some degree of shared understanding of that term.

Most people have some several concepts that underlie their use of the expression "natural law". I.E. Their concepts for "natural law" will include or depend on still other concepts that they _treat_as_valid_ when they use the term. For some, their reliance on those underlying concepts will be well founded, while in some cases, some of these underlying concepts will be merely assumed to be valid, rather than rooted in a sound basis.

Some people, also, misuse the term badly, being malformed with regard to legalism or merely assuming that others misuse the term as a pretense to have standing to moralize at others.

Some of these people who abuse the term so, and indeed OTHERS who abuse the term, treat it as if "natural law = biology".

But this is not so: as Aquinas said: "the natural law is nothing else than the rational creature's participation of the eternal law”.

Ideally, if 2 people are discussing natural law, they will have the same understanding of the terms "rational creature" and "reason" and "law". If they have a BASIC agreement about the terms, their discussion can be fruitful but may be hampered until they have understood the limits of their mutual understanding of the terms and how each uses the terms differently. If, per impossible, 2 normal adults had absolutely NO mutual understandings at all of the basic meaning of "reason" and "rational creature", they could not discuss "natural law" meaningfully. But, of course, there are no 2 such people - what actually obtains is that everyone understands something of what everyone else means by "reason", but disagree about the exact outlines of the concept. From which it is common for people to misunderstand each other in speaking of "natural law", when they fail to take the time to hammer out what they already agree on and what they disagree on with respect to the concepts "reason" and "rational creature".

Fortunately, everyone here DOES have some of the basic underpinnings for mutually understanding the expression "natural law". We may dispute some of the underpinnings, and / or dispute how they all fit together for natural law, but that's why we debate.

The idea that Miller is in a dungeon because he cared about biology and God's law is absurd. He's there because people like Lydia don't think there's a valid basis other than biology to publicly argue that no woman can never be a legitimate father, no matter even if hormones or surgery is employed.

The statement that Miller "cared about biology and God's law manifested therein" is weirdly abstract. I've little doubt Miller isn't thinking about abstract statements like this. I'd bet real money he's thinking of the Bible verses about the great importance God places on "defending the fatherless".

Why does my statement need to be "fixed"? I said "Natural Law is meaningless as a shared term ..." Isn't it clear I was talking about a word? What have you clarified by restating it?

Here's an expression of Natural Law as seen to be a mere moralism and/or legalism. Perhaps step2 at least will appreciate it. The content of what Aquinas means by "rational" is crucial. Romantic and postmoderns reject it.

BTW for those who don’t know how I’m using the term "Romantic", here’s a primer. The bonus is you get to see what Mary Shelley’s point was in Frankenstein.

You’ve followed Lydia’s line of thinking on assumption of legality, but it’s a very flawed account.

Historically the legal aspects of fatherhood did not hinge on the assumption that husbands could be the biological father as she stated.

Mark, you mistook my point. Fatherhood and motherhood, both, and the family, are in a certain way prior to the state. God's writ in "male and female he created them", and Jesus's reference to "in the beginning, it was not so...for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and the two shall become one flesh" points to an ontological reality of marriage and parenthood that precedes society. Social respect for marriage originates, at its root, in a recognition of something real, that is real not because society accepts it as so.

The ontological reality of parenthood, including fatherhood, includes authority over children. (And, indeed, the ontological reality of marriage (which BY NATURE precedes parenthood) also includes authority, for the man and woman become a single social unit by the marriage, and there can be no social unification of more than one rational creature without an ORDINATION of one who directs and others who comply.) As a consequence, the child is naturally subject to his father. This ordination under nature does not depend on society having a social category of "legitimate", it precedes any such formalization. Whatever details the social order puts into place, it cannot be a due social order unless it recognizes and respects that the child is subject to the father.

No commentary about "legitimacy" as society handles it can undermine my core point. Any and all the tools with which society handles its application of the underlying ontological reality of the family are only particular ways of carrying out the need to respect that reality, they cannot eradicate it.

Why does my statement need to be "fixed"?

Because your paragraph was highly regrettable, other than the Aquinas quote. But I didn't even charge for fixing it.

Here's an expression of Natural Law as seen to be a mere moralism and/or legalism.

Well, no, it actually had nothing of the expression "natural law" in it, and it had nothing of the concept of natural law in it except insofar as ALL human action reflects natural law either positively or negatively.

The content of what Aquinas means by "rational" is crucial. Romantic and postmoderns reject it.

But neither Lydia nor I do.

No, you're a neo-Thomist and she comes close to being a biological essentialist on certain subjects. Both positions overlap a good bit with the view I characterize as romantic, or perhaps owing to German Idealism would be as good a term.

Oops. I means reductionism.

Mark, you should occasionally consider not being disagreeable with the people with whom you have so much agreement. It's tiresome. You come over into our threads with your own vocabulary (which you assume someone cares to decode) for telling us all that we're all out to lunch, and you think it tremendously important to pick on and disagree with anything we say that you don't happen to agree with perfectly, even if you agree with us on the wider issue. And then you expect us to figure out precisely _why_ you disagree with whatever you picked on and precisely where you are actually coming from. It never occurs to you to realize that this is tiresome and more than a tad egotistical. This isn't, after all, your blog. And one would think that, if you agree that Janet Jenkins cannot possibly be Isabella's father and that this whole case is outrageous, we'd have more to unite than to divide us. But according to you, no. If someone doesn't think that for precisely the same reasons as you, he's part of the problem, and you have to come and threadjack through umpteen hundred comments to argue with that contributor or those two contributors, often obscurely, about whatever-it-is that they said that stirred up the bees in your bonnet. (Presumably something with the word "biology" in it.)

Give it a rest already, man. And consider making allies rather than enemies. Especially now. We need all the allies we can get for this fight.

And once again we see the pernicious effects of romantic or communitarian idealism. No surprise that it leads to bitterness and despair. Fantasy always compares negatively to reality. I'm not your enemy Lydia. But you've always insisted I'm a pollutant in the fantasy of your idealistic communitarian gene pool. You're the one interpreting disagreement as being disagreeable, as always.

No, Mark, you've got it wrong. From the tenor of your comments over many threads, there is no point I can recall where you were enthusiastic or supportive or positive about anything that we have said. Nor, even, constructive criticism that explicitly built on significant points of agreement. Everything is criticism and disagreement - but without ever constituting constructive disagreement in a form in which it is possible to have a fruitful exchange, like we have often had with many others who disagree. Here's an example: saying that our stance has a good overlap with romanticism, and German idealism, or German reductionism. Those are just bare, bald, meaningless strings of letters in a comm box like this: "romanticism" is even more vague and indeterminate than "conservative" in the mouths of people like Trump or Boehner, standing for whatever they want, or nothing at all. If you wanted to be constructive, or at least say something that could be found to mean something to others, you would have had to pick out specific things I said, or that Lydia said, even 5 or 10 things over several threads, and show _how_ they (a) tie together, and (b) HOW they constitute an erroneous kind of thinking (if that's what you are saying). There is no way anybody could see what you have written, tie it back to ANYTHING specific you might have had in mind as the reason you said it, and find themselves agreeing or disagreeing or making any sort of judgment on it of any sort. It's JUST BLATHER. Formless, meaningless blather.

(Assuming that you actually meant "romanticism" the way it used to be defined: The fact that trying to tie Lydia McGrew to Romanticism, of all things, is positively , outrageously, ridiculously laughable. Lydia? It is so silly I can't even adequately describe its silliness. This sort of comes about as close as I can get.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BAEJyuReWQ

That you would even remotely imagine anything she says has any sort of ties to Romanticism just shows that you have totally misunderstood her. Completely, utterly, and in all other ways. It would be a grotesque insult, if it weren't so grotesquely ridiculous first.

It's not that I think you are a liberal, or a modernist, or a Kantian, or an abstractionist, or anything like that: I have fruitful conversations with those and more. It's that none of our words mean to you what they mean to us, and none of your words and sentences mean to us what they mean to you. We're using natural English enlightened by Christianity for language, and you're speaking some sort of high philosophy-department-elitatarian - with a french snob accent.

You need to erase all the immense book learning you ever had, to get rid of the weird, myopic, astigmatic, and bilious filters and lenses you have had saddled into your mind by bad teachers and worse books, and start over from scratch. Your notion of conversation is to impose on what others say strange meanings and concepts that YOU have formed your own thinking on, with your own special nomenclature, and snip and snap at them for then being wrong according to that spindled and mutilated picture in your own mind. You have never once gotten right WHAT I was saying, much less applied to it a meaningful response. As far as you have expressed yourself, your mental framework is all askew, the meanings you have for words are all twisted, the thought processes by which you express yourself are all higgledy-piggledy. In a fair world, you could sue your teachers and schools for gross malpractice, and your comments here would be proof beyond any shadow of doubt.

And don't bother responding. It's pointless.

Because it's obviously "despairing" and an evidence of a "pernicious effect" of something or other to ask a commentator (rather nicely, all things considered) to give it a rest with the jargon-laden, unclear, incessant criticism and try for once emphasizing points of agreement.

Concerning Philip Zodhiates, I wanted to save here some research I did on him. The LGBT-ers claim here

http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/m/miller-jenkins_isabella.html

that he "ran" a now-defunct "Christian" magazine that included neo-Nazi ads, including ads for the KKK. They cite the Southern Poverty Law Center to substantiate this claim. But that isn't what the SPLC says, as far as I've been able to find. Here is the story from the SPLC:

https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/intelligence-report/2006/direct-mail-company-response-unlimited-sells-lists-subscribers-anti-semitic-newspaper

It states, _not_ that Zodhiates "ran" the magazine in question but rather that his business, which just was a business buying and selling mailing lists from various far-conservative groups, magazines, etc., purchased and then rented out the mailing list of that magazine. That's a far cry from "running" it. In fact, the SPLC even says that Zodhiates expressed some hesitation after hearing negative rumors about the magazine but that a middleman (who sounds quite unscrupulous) convinced Zodhiates that it was nothing to worry about. This was also way back in 1998, when it (probably) wouldn't have been a simple matter of calling up the magazine's web site to check it out. Obviously, acquiring the mailing list for re-sale from a magazine, after hesitating anyway and being reassured, apparently without actually seeing the magazine oneself, is not "running" the magazine, however nasty the magazine was. (And it probably was.)

Anyway, I put all this down here because the leftists have a tendency to make long "chains" of associations and guilt by association. I admit to knowing virtually nothing about Philip Zodhiates aside from his connection to the Miller case. But the evidence that he is sympathetic to neo-Nazism is thin, to say the least, and the statement that he "ran" such a magazine seems to be outright false, arising from grossly negligent reading of the SPLC's informal indictment against him.

I've been preoccupied for a few days and didn't have time to respond until now.

[There follows more threadjacking, including inaccuracy. Mark, I gave you a request to stop and a warning, many comments up. I've given you lots of rope. I'm not giving you rope any more. Stop it. LM]

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