Yesterday Kenneth Miller was convicted of aiding an international parental kidnapping for the role he played in helping Lisa Miller (no relation) flee the country with her daughter rather than abide by a court order transferring custody to her former partner, Janet Jenkins.
But that was not the only interesting development in the case, as Jenkins has now filed a civil RICO lawsuit [PDF] against Kenneth Miller and several others who allegedly played a role in helping Lisa Miller kidnap her daughter and leave the country, including Liberty University Law School and Thomas Road Baptist Church:
41. Unbeknownst to Plaintiff Janet Jenkins, in 2009 Victoria Zodhiates (now Hyden) was an employee of Response Unlimited, Inc., and also a "student worker" at Liberty University School of Law. On information and belief, Victoria Zodhiates sent an email during this time period to her co-workers at the law school requesting donations for supplies to send to Lisa Miller to enable her to remain outside the country. Lisa Miller's attorney, Matthew Staver was the Dean of the Law School and Ms. Zodhiates's boss. Matthew Staver and Philip Zodhiates were also personal
acquaintances at this time. On September 20, 2009, both Philip Zodhiates and Victoria Hyden called Lisa Miller's father, Terry Miller in Tennessee to assist in arranging her and Isabella's transportation from a Walmart parking lot in Lynchburg, Virginia, to Waynesboro, Virginia, from whence they would depart for Canada and Nicaragua the next day.
42. In early November, 2009, elders of the Thomas Road Baptist Church packed up the personal belongings of Lisa Miller in two bags. These bags were picked up from Lynchburg, Virginia by Philip Zodhiates who arranged to have the bags transported to Nicaragua by sending them with his son's school teacher who was taking some children on a mission trip to Managua. Philip Zodhiates arranged for the teacher, John Collmus, to deliver the bags at the airport to Timothy Miller. The bags also contained some supplies for Lisa Miller, such as peanut butter.
47. Lisa Miller's attorneys Mathew Staver and Rena Lindevaldsen also routinely instructed their Law School students that the correct course of action for a person in Lisa Miller's situation would be to engage in "civil disobedience" and defy court orders.
48. Also in 2009, TRBC Head Pastor Jonathan Falwell was among several religious leaders who made a call for "Christian civil disobedience" and published a public declaration, known as The Manhattan Declaration stating that they:
"will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family."
49. Hence, Defendants TRBC and its related ministry Liberty University School of Law encouraged its agents to disregard state laws governing parental rights, particularly Vermont's law giving rights to members of same-sex families. The TRBC and Liberty University School of Law through its public declaration promoted, condoned and explicitly ratified its agent's tortious, racketeering activity. These agents and employees have followed this direction, making TRBC and Liberty University School of Law liable in respondeat superior for the consequences.
57. At the trial of Kenneth Miller in August 2012, a number of Lisa Miller's friends and supporters testified, including Defendant Wright, and several members of the PIC. When asked if any of them had met or heard of Philip Zodhiates, the answer was no. At the trial, the government introduced phone records that showed phone calls made from Philip Zodhiates's cell phone between 1:28pm and 1:30pm on September 22, 2009, to a cell phone with an Orlando area code that is registered to Liberty Counsel, a landline registered to Liberty Counsel, and a landline registered to Liberty University School of Law. Mathew Staver, Dean of the Liberty University School of Law, splits his time between Lynchburg, Virginia and Orlando, Florida. At the time that the calls were made, Philip Zodhiates was still en route back to Virginia after depositing Lisa Miller and Isabella near the Canadian border.
58. Lisa Miller's attorneys, Matthew Staver and Rena Lindevaldsen have at all times maintained that they did not know their client's location to various courts in Vermont (including in sworn testimony of Rena Lindevaldsen) and Virginia, and to the press that she simply stopped communicating with them and disappeared.
59. Meanwhile, Matthew Staver's acquaintance, Philip Zodhiates, and his daughter Victoria, an assistant in the Law School knew of Lisa Miller's whereabouts and solicited donations from other Law School employees for her aid. Upon information and belief, other law school employees who spoke to Victoria about Lisa Miller's whereabouts were too intimidated to come forward to law enforcement for fear of angering Dean Staver and losing their jobs. During the time that Lisa and Isabella were missing, Dean Staver fired several members of the admissions and financial aid department who were under his supervision. To this day, Victoria Hyden is still an employee of the law school, even though her tortious conduct involving Isabella Miller-Jenkins has been in public court records for over a year. Also, while Lisa Miller and Isabella were missing, Lisa Miller's attorneys continued to press appeals on Lisa Miller's behalf until the last appeals were exhausted in November 2010 (more than a year after she was missing), stating that they had advance instructions from Lisa Miller as to her wishes for the ongoing litigation.
62. Based on the foregoing, all of the Defendants named herein, in both their individual capacities and as agents of TRBC, Liberty University Law School, Response Unlimited, Inc., and CAM are liable for conspiring with Lisa Miller and with each other to kidnap Isabella Miller-Jenkins, assure her continued detention outside the State of Vermont, and for conspiring with Kenneth Miller to participate in the affairs of the Beachy Amish-Mennonite Brotherhood through a pattern of racketeering activity .. Defendants are also liable for conspiring to violate Janet Jenkins' and Isabella Miller-Jenkins' rights to a parent-child relationship on account oflsabella having two mothers instead of a mother and a father, and Defendant Wright is liable under 42 U.S.C. 1986 for failing to prevent the violation of Plaintiffs' civil rights.
As Kyle pointed out, David Barton is trying to salvage his collapsing support by yet again attacking the religious and political views of his critics, joining American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer today in smearing Warren Throckmorton as a tool of the left. Unfortunately for Barton, more and more conservatives are denouncing his right-wing pseudo-history on the heels of a scathing NPR report and the news that Thomas Nelson has yanked his latest book, “The Jefferson Lies,” from publication.
Now, the former dean of Regent University’s Robertson School of Government—named after televangelist Pat Robertson—and a leading conservative writer is adding his voice to the growing chorus of historians criticizing Barton’s sloppy scholarship. Regent University professor Charles Dunn endorsed the book, “Getting Jefferson Right,” written by professors Throckmorton and Michael Coulter of Grove City College, which is also an evangelical school. “Getting Jefferson Right” debunked many of the claims found in Barton’s book on Jefferson, and Dunn said the book “stands up for truth in scholarship against the prevarications in David Barton’s The Jefferson’s Lies”:
Getting Jefferson Right by Warren Throckmorton and Michael Coulter stands up for truth in scholarship against the prevarications in David Barton’s The Jefferson’s Lies. Because of the courage of Throckmorton and Coulter, Barton has now fallen from his pedestal of preeminence as a scholar of the early American era. Throckmorton and Coulter deserve the “Medal of Honor” for courage and probity.
Meanwhile, Barton’s deputy at WallBuilders and radio talk show co-host Rick Green who last week likened Barton’s critics to Adolf Hitler, is now comparing reasoned criticism of Barton to the Holocaust in another post denying that any of Barton’s claims have been “proven faulty”:
Hitler loved to give “examples” of Jewish “offenses” to support his effort to annihilate the Jewish people. Not only were they most often false “offenses,” even if they had all been true it would not have supported the conclusion that the entire race should be wiped out. Any intelligent observer of today’s debate must challenge the premises presented and make sure that the “facts” of the critics support the conclusion they want you to believe. In every accusation I have seen so far in this debate, no premise or conclusion of David Barton has been proven faulty.
When David Barton penned his first defense of his book "The Jefferson Lies," he asserted that his critics were motivated by "hostility toward me and my personal religious beliefs" and therefore could never point to anything that he got wrong and instead simply attack him for his faith and the worldview that he promotes.
That is obviously nonsense, but today Barton appeared Bryan Fischer's radio program to discuss the developments that led to his book being pulled from print where the two men spent a good deal of the discussion personally attacking Warren Throckmorton, one of Barton's (and Fischer's) most vocal critics and the co-author of "Getting Jefferson Right."
The crux of their attack was that Throckmorton was once a true evangelical but then turned away from supporting the use of reparative therapy to "cure" gays, at which point he lost his moral compass. Throckmorton is now, according to Barton, a radical member of the "Religious Left" .... and you know that because he associates with Right Wing Watch!
Late last year, Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission announced that his organization would be releasing a series of monthly videos leading up to the election detailing "ten new irrefutable proofs that Barack Obama is not a Christian."
Today, Cass released part seven of the series which lays out that Obama has been friendly to Islam while being hostile to Christianity, even though the Bible says that "Islam is the doctrine of demons and originates in Hell." And the reason Obama doesn't believe that America is a Christian nation, the CADC explains, is because he had a "Moo-slum father and step-father":
A few years back we noted how Chuck Pierce, Dutch Sheets and a group of prophetic intercessors took credit for the capture of Saddam Hussein in 2003. But it seems they were not alone in using the power of prayer to capture world leaders as Cindy Jacobs revealed on Friday's episode of "God Knows" that another group of intercessors were responsible for the capture of Manuel Noriega in Panama back in 1983 after they drove buses around the nation, praying that God would bind Satan so that "the power of the Strong Man was broken":
Members of the African American Ministers Leadership Council (AAMLC), a program of People For the American Way Foundation, spoke out today against efforts to restrict early voting opportunities in four Ohio counties that are home to 56 percent of the state’s African American population.
"Jim Crow is alive in the 21st century and evident in the struggles we still face for equal access to the ballot box," said Rev. Dr. Tony Minor of Cleveland, Ohio. "There are politicians doing the unthinkable: they are making it harder for their constituents to exercise our constitutionally guaranteed right to vote. And once again, these suppression efforts are aimed directly at African Americans in swing states.”
Officials in four Ohio counties -- Cuyahoga, Franklin, Summit and Lucas -- are set to deny night and weekend early voting to their citizens. Those four counties are home to some of Ohio’s largest cities and over half its African American population. The state has already ended early voting for most residents in the final three days before the election. Last year, nearly 20 percent of early voters in Cuyahoga and Franklin counties went to the polls during that final time period.
The African American Ministers Leadership Council, founded in 1997, has been working nationwide to help bring African Americans to the polls in every election, most recently through the newly-launched non-partisan “I Am A VESSEL and I Vote!” program. The new early voting restrictions in Ohio are a setback to efforts to increase turnout and ensure that every vote counts.
"These efforts are intended to discourage and distract voters in the state of Ohio, but they will not succeed,” added Rev. Minor. “We have strengthened our efforts to educate our congregations and our communities about their rights and their civic responsibilities. Believe me, no matter how hard they try to stop us, we will fight back against these restrictions and we will show up at the polls and vote."
The problem with David Barton's false statements and pseudo-history is not simply that it receives support from leaders like Glenn Beck, Michele Bachmann,Mike Huckabee, and Newt Gingrich; it is that his claims get picked up by other Religious Right speakers and, in doing so, get twisted even beyond Barton's original bogus claims.
Case in point: today we came across these recent remarks delivered by Jerry Boykin where he claimed that "there is no question that there was divine inspiration" behind the writing of the Constitution, which is why "the Bible is referenced four times more than any other document in our Constitution":
Of course, the Bible is not referenced at all in the Constitution ... but you will not be surprised to learn that Boykin's claim finds its inspiration in Barton's "America's Godly Heritage" (skip ahead to the 4:00 mark) though Barton simply claims that the Bible was cited by the Founding Fathers four times more than they cited figures like Montesquieu and Blackstone.
Yet even Barton's original claim was itself problematic and Boykin has only made it worse by falsely claiming that the Constitution directly references the Bible multiple times, when it obviously does nothing of the sort.
Today on "Faith and Freedom," Matt Barber railed against health care reform legislation, in particular the contraception mandate, declaring that it was like something out of George Orwell's 1984." Barber blasted the "secular socialist Obama administration" for having "trampled" over the Constitution and the Bible and essentially declaring "we're going to burn them both":
As we noted earlier, it has not been a very good week for David Barton, so this seemed like a good opportunity to pull together a list of some of the most absurd things that he has said over the last year or so just to give people who might not be particularly familiar with Barton or his work a better sense of just what sort of claims he likes to puts forth.
Yesterday we posted a list a ten demonstrably false claims Barton has made in recent months but this list, though also filled with falsehoods, focuses more on the sorts of patently ridiculous claims that Barton is prone to making:
Given this sort of record, is anyone surprised that a publisher that agreed to print a book written by Barton ultimately had to recall it?
Last week, People For the American Way Foundation launched a new report, “12 Rules for Mixing Religion and Politics,” which offers guidelines for policymakers and advocates seeking to bring faith into political debates.
Joining us at a launch party for the report and a discussion of the issues it raises were Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim in Congress; Sister Simone Campbell, director of the Catholic social justice group NETWORK; and Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.
Here are some photos of the event from People For Foundation’s Dylan Hewitt:
Sister Simone Campbell talks with People For’s COO, Nick Ucci
People For President Michael Keegan, Rep. Keith Ellison, and Senior Fellow Peter Montgomery
Michael Keegan and Rep. Keith Ellison
Sister Simone Campbell and Rabbi David Saperstein
Rabbi David Saperstein
Rep. Keith Ellison and Minister Leslie Watson Malachi, director of People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Conference.
On yesterday's installment of "AFA Today," Buster Wilson returned to the topic of Chick-fil-A to declare that the company has been successful because "they live according to God's word" and have kept God's command to meditate on His law day and night.
And that prompted Wilson to issue a not-so-subtle warning to "Big Gay" activists who oppose Chick-fil-A's anti-gay views they they are destined for Hell and therefore must "read the Bible and they need to try to believe it because it's going to have a bearing on their soul one day":
As we noted yesterday, it has been a rough couple of days for the David Barton as first his shoddy scholarship was exposed by NPR and then the publisher of his latest book announced that it has "lost confidence" in it and was ceasing publication and distribution.
The Tennessean caught up with Barton to get his reaction to these developments and the criticism that his work has been receiving and he offered up the most perfectly Bartontonian defense one could have imagined:
Barton said he met with a different group of scholars recently and they approved of his work.
“I can’t tell you how many Ph.D.’s were in the room,” he said.
But he would not give any names, saying the scholars hadn’t given their permission for him do so.
While we are not surprised by Barton's defense, we have to admit that we are a bit shocked by the utter silence from the Religious Right to these developments because we have been searching high and low and have so far been unable to find any evidence of anyone stepping up to defend him or his work.
Where are Glenn Beck, or Michele Bachmann, or Mike Huckabee, or Newt Gingrich or any of the others who routinely hail Barton as America's greatest historian? Will nobody stand up and defend Barton in his hour of need?
On his radio program yesterday, Bryan Fischer proclaimed that Lisa Miller had a responsibility to God to defy court orders granting visitation and custody rights to her former partner, Janet Jenkins, and kidnap her daughter and flee the country.
[When] the girl came home, she suffered nightmares, she was wetting the bed, she was harming herself, she gave every indication of being sexually molested while she'd been in the company of this lesbian. She told her mom that she had bathed naked with this lesbian person to whom she's not even related, hadn't seen her in like four years and she's taking baths without any clothes on with this lady at five and a half.
So she's coming home clearly very disturbed, agitated emotionally by these visits and the mom said I'm not going to do it, I'm not going to put my child back into that environment. And the Vermont judge says that if you don't submit your child to an abusive environment, it was emotionally abusive, it was sexually abusive and the judge was saying, look if you don't put your child in that environment, I'm going to take your child away from you altogether and I'm going to award sole custody to the lesbian.
That was the plan; in fact the judge ruled you gotta turn her over January 1, 2010, you got to hand her over to this lesbian household where there's a proven record of child abuse.
Today has not been a good day for David Barton. First, NPR ran a devastating piece exposing his biased and shoddy scholarship and now the publisher of his book "The Jefferson Lies" has announced that it is pulling his book:
The Thomas Nelson publishing company has decided to cease publication and distribution of David Barton’s controversial book, The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed about Thomas Jefferson, saying it has “lost confidence in the book’s details.” (See “The David Barton controversy,” Aug. 8.)
Casey Francis Harrell, Thomas Nelson’s director of corporate communications, told me the publishing house “was contacted by a number of people expressing concerns about [The Jefferson Lies].” The company began to evaluate the criticisms, Harrell said, and “in the course of our review learned that there were some historical details included in the book that were not adequately supported. Because of these deficiencies we decided that it was in the best interest of our readers to stop the publication and distribution.”
Barton is currently preaching out in Hawaii, but we imagine he is not getting much rest or relaxation as he deals with this string of bad news.
Maybe he will be a little more careful about making demonstrably false statements from now on.
In honor of all the attention that David Barton's shoddy scholarship is currently receiving, we thought we'd take some time to pull together a list of some of the demonstrably false statements that he has made in just the last several months alone.
Keep in mind, these are not simply crazy things that he has said - like life begins before conception or that Jesus opposed the Minimum Wage or that the government should regulate gay sex - but rather verifiably false claims that can be easily refuted with a basic Google search.
It is too bad that Barton refuses to engage in debates because it would be nice to see him defend his own claims instead of always just complaining that people are attacking him because of his Christian faith.