A week ago, Judge Sessions sent Ken Miller to jail for a week. That means the week was up and the time had come for another chat:
A pastor was taken back to jail Thursday for continuing to refuse to tell a grand jury what he knows about a woman who fled the country to escape a custody dispute with her former lesbian partner.
Kenneth Miller, a Mennonite pastor from Stuarts Draft, Va., and U.S. District Court Judge William Session III continued their philosophical discussion about deeply held religious beliefs versus the needs of the law.
Miller told the judge that the week he has spent in jail has strengthened his resolve that his beliefs require him to follow God’s law when they conflict with civil law. He said he is willing to pay the price, even if it means more time in jail.
“If I were to bring testimony against a fellow member of Christ’s kingdom, for honoring Christ’s kingdom’s laws, I would be disloyal to his kingdom and to Christ,” Miller said.
“I need to be convinced that a further period (in jail) would not result in your answering questions. I think that you also need to reflect upon the function of our system of justice here, and I am not convinced that that is necessarily inconsistent in this particular context with your religious beliefs,” Sessions said before ordering Miller back to jail.
Assistant United States Attorney Paul Van de Graaf said Miller’s refusal was no different than if a drug dealer refused to testify against fellow gang members.
The target of the grand jury investigation has not been revealed, but in court he was described as a fundamentalist Christian who is not a Mennonite.
Does the judge really think more time in prison will change Ken’s mind? I doubt it. I suspect this is just part of the legal maneuvering required. I wonder what happens when Ken’s answer is the same the next time he meets up with the judge.
It will be interesting to see what develops as two kingdoms clash in the American legal system.
What do you think of the comparison the Assistant US Attorney made?