June 18, 2019


Is it Christian or illegal to aid migrants? A hung Tucson jury, a fork in the road of faith (Brian D. McLaren, June 16, 2019, USA Today)

A remarkable courtroom drama played out in real time this month in Tucson, Arizona, a beloved story from the tenth chapter of Luke's gospel, "The Parable of the Good Samaritan." I can easily imagine a biblical court transcript unfolding something like this:

Prosecuting attorney to witness for the defense: "Sir, how can you justify what the defendant has done?"

Witness: "Shouldn't an American citizen be free to practice his or her faith? And shouldn't a person in America be free to follow the greatest commandment in the Bible? Do you even know what that commandment is?"

Prosecuting attorney: "I'm the one asking questions in this court, but we both know that according to the Bible, the greatest commandment is, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself."

Witness: "You have given the right answer; make this central, and you will reach a good verdict."

Prosecuting attorney: "And who is my neighbor?" 

Witness: "Imagine that thousands of people in a certain area suffered under gangs, drug cartels and local economies ravaged by corrupt politicians and international trade agreements. Many fled as refugees into a scorched no-man's land scattered with the human bones of thousands who had fled before them. Those who did not die were left half-dead from thirst in parched southwest deserts.

"Now comes a Political Figure who heard about them and said they infested his country. It was the same with a Religious Figure, who said the refugees were not his problem.

"But a Compassionate Citizen in the area heard about their suffering and was moved. He frequently left them food, jugs of water and supplies for warmth. Upon meeting two men who said they were cold and tired, hungry and thirsty, he offered food and water and a place to rest. For this he was arrested and charged with harboring illegal aliens and conspiracy to transport them, with a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

"Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to those wandering in the desert?"

Prosecuting attorney: "I suppose it was the one who showed them mercy."

Witness: "Go and do likewise."

A question for all Americans: What can Christians on the left and right do about the evil of our world?

The compassionate citizen in our parable, and the defendant in the very real trial that ended last week, is geography teacher Scott Warren, 36, a volunteer with the humanitarian aid group No More Deaths. He faced a lengthy federal prison sentence for "doing likewise."

There is nothing Christian about obeying an unjust law.

Posted by at June 18, 2019 12:00 AM