No Forced Mediation for Rifqa Bary, Florida Pastor Under Fire for Helping Runaway Teen

by | Dec 23, 2009 | Charisma Archive

An Ohio judge ruled Tuesday that Christian convert Rifqa Bary does not have to meet with her Muslim parents as part of a possible reconciliation plan.

Magistrate Mary Goodrich of Franklin County Juvenile Court in Ohio denied Mohamed and Aysha Bary’s request to force their 17-year-old daughter to participate in mediation, the Columbus Post-Dispatch reported.

Image: AP Photo/ George Skene

Bary has refused to have contact with her parents or siblings. She said she has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because of her ordeal and is not ready for mediation with her family. She is working with a counselor to determine if she has PTSD.

The teen will also be allowed to receive Christmas cards, letters and other messages from her supporters despite an attempt by her parents’ attorney to block such “third-party correspondence.” Mohamed and Aysha Bary’s attorney, Omar Tarazi, had filed a motion asking that all third-party communication be directed to Franklin County Children Services. He withdrew the motion Tuesday without explanation.

Bary ran away from her home outside Columbus, Ohio, to Orlando, Fla., in July, saying her Muslim father threatened to kill her for converting to Christianity. Her father denies that allegation, and a Florida law enforcement investigation found no evidence to support her claims.

The teen was returned to Ohio in October, where she has been living in foster care. She seeks to remain in foster care until she turns 18. A hearing in her dependency case is scheduled for Jan. 19.

Meanwhile, Orlando pastor Blake Lorenz is under increasing scrutiny over his role in getting Bary to Florida. Lorenz and his wife, Beverly, met the girl through a prayer group on Facebook and sheltered her for nearly three weeks before she was placed in foster care.

In an affidavit filed in Ohio this week, a former administrator at the Lorenzes’ church, Global Revolution Church, said several lawyers told Blake Lorenz that transporting the teen across state lines was unlawful.

In his sworn statement, Brian Smith said Lorenz and another church member bought Bary a bus ticket under a false name. Smith said Lorenz asked him for church money to pay some of the teen’s expenses, including the cost of a bed and a disposable cell phone, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Smith claims Lorenz refused to call Florida’s Department of Children and Families when police and others advised him to report that the teen was living with him and his wife.

Lorenz told the Sentinel he was not worried about Smith’s claims and that the truth would prevail. His attorney, Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel, called Smith a disgruntled ex-employee.

“There’s a lot of allegations in that affidavit that I know personally are not factual,” Staver told the Sentinel. “I’ve known the Lorenzes for 20 years. The last thing they would do is intentionally violate the law.”

Smith denied that he was disgruntled and said his statement is truthful based on the information he was told. 

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement told the Orlando newspaper it has completed its investigation into the pastors’ role into Bary’s flight to Florida. A decision on whether or not the Lorenzes will face charges has not been made.


Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


What Is ‘The One Thing’ God Wants From You?

What Is ‘The One Thing’ God Wants From You?

In 1971, I was invited to spend one month in Singapore at a new institute that had been started by John Haggai. It was still in the formative stages then—a place where Asian church leaders would be trained and challenged to witness for Christ. Today, more than 40...

37 Prayers for the Suffering Persecuted Church

37 Prayers for the Suffering Persecuted Church

It was a Pentecost bloodbath and most Christians never heard about it. More than 50 Christians were killed in one of the deadliest terror attacks on Nigerians this year. Scores of gunmen rushed in to kill Christians in the midst of worship. All told, over 360 million...

The Man Who Spent 23 Minutes in Hell: The People I Saw in Hell

The Man Who Spent 23 Minutes in Hell: The People I Saw in Hell

In 1998, God gave me a life-changing vision of hell. I receive many questions about my experience from people all over the world, but one question I'm often asked is, "Who did you see in hell?" There are others who say they've had an experience like mine, and they...

The United States: Birthed in Prophetic Symbolism

The United States: Birthed in Prophetic Symbolism

One of the most amazing facts about the Founding Fathers of our nation is this: The one referred to as the "voice" of the revolution (John Adams) and the one referred to as the "pen" of the revolution (Thomas Jefferson) both died on the same day—July 4, 1826—exactly...


Why Did God Give ‘This’ to Me?

It’s a question I frequently hear. It’s one I’ve asked. And maybe it’s one you’ve asked, too. The question is, “God, why did You give this to me?” This can be any number of issues, from emotional or...
No Evil Can Stop What God Has Planned

No Evil Can Stop What God Has Planned

I sense it. And I perceive a growing number of people in massive proportions sense the increasing momentum of power and might worldwide. Something is on the horizon—something more eerie and ominous than what the people of the world have ever before experienced. Even...

Curt Landry: 6 Ways to Open Your Heart and Mind to God’s Voice

Curt Landry: 6 Ways to Open Your Heart and Mind to God’s Voice

We are told that we must listen to God’s voice when we need to make important decisions. What does the Bible say about hearing God’s voice? How do we apply this to our everyday lives? 7 Bible Verses About Hearing God’s Voice “So then faith comes by hearing, and...

Pin It on Pinterest