The Engage Family Blog

Official Blog of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia

The Redefinition of a Parental Right

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Guest blog commentary by Nathan A. Cherry.

A woman living in Virginia has been held in contempt of court for protecting her child. Yes, you read that correctly. A mother is doing what is in the best interest of her child physically, mentally, and emotionally, and she is now in contempt of court.

In an article on the website Lifesitenews, Matthew Cullinan Hoffman reports that Virginia resident Lisa Miller, a woman who has renounced her former lesbian lifestyle since accepting Christ as her Savior and turning to Christianity, is being held in contempt for denying her former partner Janet Jenkins visitations with her six-year old daughter Isabella.

This may sound cut and dry, but read the articles on this case and it may be an eye opener. And, if movements in California such as Proposition 8 fail, cases such as this one could become common place in our courts.

Normally it would be frowned upon for one parent to deny visitation to another parent of a child born and raised by the two during the time of a relationship. I, as a father, cannot imagine being told that I was not allowed to spend time with my son. So at first glance this case may seem like another “extremist” being ignorant, bigoted, or narrow minded. But read carefully and realize why the issue of marriage is so foundational to our society. And why, as Pastor Rick Warren has said, “For 5,000 years, every culture and every religion – not just Christianity – has defined marriage as a contract between men and women.”

Miller initially agreed to the court-ordered visitation rights of her former lesbian partner Jenkins. But after a brief period of time, and considerably disturbing accounts from her daughter, she promptly ended the visits. Isabella, just six-years old, told her mother that she was forced to bathe naked with Jenkins, 44, during one of their visits, and also told her mother that she wanted to commit suicide. After other disturbing behavior changes Miller sought advice from licensed counselors who, in two separate affidavits, confirmed the trauma experienced by Isabella and agreed that it was not in the child’s best interest to continue visitations.  More support came from a school teacher and a Sunday school teacher of Isabella.

Here is a clear-cut example of politics taking precedence over well-being. Never would a court dream of putting a child in a position to be traumatized emotionally and mentally, with the potential to be abused physically. But the politics of the same-sex marriage argument have clearly clouded the judge’s judgment and ruling, who, after hearing the sworn affidavits and testimonies of teachers decided that visitations were still a “parental right” of Jenkins despite the fact that Jenkins shares no biological or adoptive relationship with Isabella.

Steady yourselves because this could be a normal news headline that eventually gets pushed to the back page between lawnmower ads and want ads. If states choose to legalize same-sex marriage, or, if a new president signs legislation legalizing same-sex marriage across this country prepare to see more stories just like this one. The fact is, thanks to ministries such as Love Won Out, a ministry of Focus on the Family, people are turning from the homosexual lifestyle in favor of traditional marriage and family.

I’ll be honest; it evokes strong emotions from me to hear of a child being put in a situation that causes her to tell her mom that she wants to commit suicide. I have always believed that the courts were a bodyguard for children, promising to protect them and do what is absolutely best for them. But now a judge has come along and decided to play political games with the safety and well-being of an innocent child. I am reminded of something Jesus said while talking with a group of people one day. He said that it would be better if a millstone was hung around a person’s neck, and he was tossed into the ocean, than to do anything that would harm a child (Luke 17:2).

The reality is that a small minority of people are pushing to usurp the will of the majority on the issue of same-sex marriage. If a national amendment to the Constitution defining marriage between one man and one woman was proposed, I have no doubt that Republicans and Democrats alike would unite the same way that Protestants and Catholics have recently on the issue of life in order to see such an amendment pass. I whole-heartedly agree with Pastor Warren when he said, “There is no reason to change the universal, historical definition of marriage to appease 2% of our population. This is one issue that both Democrats and Republicans can agree on.” 

Nathan A. Cherry holds a Master’s Degree in Biblical Studies from Trinity Theological Seminary.  Nathan provides leadership in discipleship, culturally relevant teaching, and outreach as Associate of Ministry at Central Chapel in Hedgesville, West Virginia.



Written by Jeremy Dys

October 30, 2008 at 8:37 pm

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