WorldNetDaily.com, 6/24/2003: Citing Mosaic law and the Founding Fathers, a Pennsylvania man insists he must bear the burden of punishment for his wife, who was ticketed for breast-feeding their daughter while driving in Ohio.
Catherine Nicole Donkers, 29, could have gone on her way after paying a $100 fine, but her case is scheduled for an Aug. 6 trial because of the couple's "deeply held spiritual beliefs," the Akron Beacon Journal reported.
"The situation here,'' said husband Brad L. Barnhill, 46, "is that, according to our faith, I'm the head of the household. I'm responsible for what she does, and no one can punish her except me."
Donkers was pulled over by police May 8 on the Ohio Turnpike after a trucker called 911 to report he had seen the woman driving her car with a baby in her lap, the Akron paper said.
She has been assessed misdemeanor charges of child endangering, failure to comply with the order of a police officer and other driving infractions but could have had it all reduced to a single guilty plea, court records say.
Barnhill vows, however, to go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary, to prove his point that as "the sole head of the family,'' he is the only one who can punish his wife for a public act.
Barnhill insists he is the defendant.
"That's the way I have to do things under my faith," he told the Beacon Journal. "And if I fail in that duty, I'm going to hell."
Barnhill follows the teachings of The First Christian Fellowship for Eternal Sovereignty, a group founded in the 1990s by a man named Christopher Hansen.
According to the group's website, the fellowship's main objective is to convert and educate sovereign Americans "to demand and defend their God given rights and fulfill their duties as freedom loving Christians against the encroachment of the Beast and his agents.''
The Beast, says Hansen, is the federal government.
Barnhill considers himself a minister to about 650 followers who correspond with him by e-mail and letters. The group follows a strict interpretation of America's founding documents. His wife cannot pay the fine he said, because it would mean "bearing false witness," which would deny her "entrance to the Kingdom.''