Thursday, August 13, 2009

Arizona Man Prosecuted For Saving Lives

Buried deep in today's New York Times is the story of Walt Staton who was found guilty of littering and sentenced to 300 hours of trash pickup in Arizona. Federal prosecutors had pushed for a $5,000 fine and he could also have received a year in jail so I guess you could say he got off lightly.

Even so, 300 hours of trash pick up seems a little harsh for a littering charge but this was no ordinary trash. Staton belongs to No More Deaths, an organization committed to saving the lives of migrants attempting to cross the harsh Arizona desert into the US. Volunteers place water jugs along the commonly used routes where well over 100 migrant men, women and children have recently died.

Federal Fish and Game officials oppose the water drops on grounds of littering however, it seems that the prosecutions are more political than environmental. Staton's attorney Bill Walker claims as much "we're appealing because we don't think that Walt committed any crime by putting out fresh, clean jugs of pure water to save human lives on the refuge." Conservatives such as Debbie Schlussel have also used the situation to spit bile on organizations such as Staton's and illegal immigrants in general. And these are the same pundits accusing the proposed health plan of setting up "death panels?"

At what point do we, as a purportedly Christian country, put aside the political differences and realize these are the lives of fellow human beings we are discussing? What would Jesus do? Actually He did have something pretty specific to say on the subject:

"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in" (Mathew 25:35)


airJackie said...

This is how low the US has come in 8 short years as we show the World what we mean by Christian Values. We convict a man who is saving lives but we honor a President who
has innocent men/woman/children kidnapped, tortured, raped and murdered. We send a man to jail for abusing animals but justify murdering 1 million Iraq people as they sleep while the US bombed their homes.

Jesus asked for water and was denied but one brave woman gave him a drink. God is watching and all will answer.

Anonymous said...

I see the kindness Mr. Walker intended by leaving water.
Dehydration has been named the most painful way to die. Your insides feel like they are on fire.

We still need to realize the people crossing are breaking laws. And many of them have committed violent crimes once they get here.

When the woman gave Jesus water at the well He wasn't breaking any laws. My bible tells me I am to obey the laws of the land. Mr. Walker was aiding and abetting those who would illegally enter the U.S. If he were aiding bank robbers he would be in jail. It is not for citizens to decide which laws are bad. There is a process to change bad laws, to break them at ones own discretion is vigilante activity. As we approach nearer to the end of this world, it will become ever more important that we obey all laws that do not violate God's commandments. There could be food or fuel shortages. Will Christians steal because they think the laws are bad? Right is right no matter the circumstances and wrong is always wrong. Situation ethics are just an excuse for self will.

Judge Not said...

"It is not for citizens to decide which laws are bad. There is a process to change bad laws, to break them at ones own discretion is vigilante activity."
I'm sorry but your country, The great United States of America was founded on the sinful rebellion of breaking the laws of their King. They openly disobeyed and rebelled against his authority. I guess as U.S. citizens we are all guilty of continuing that rebellion and therefore are in violation of God's commandments. Or can we just pick and choose which ones are convenient to obey?

PM Summer said...

The Laws of Man vs. the Law of God: An unresolvable conflict this side of Heaven, and yet... we will be held accountable for our loyalties both now and later.

Philip Barrett said...

But surely Jesus was executed for breaking the laws of the land? That would seem to answer the "who trumps who" question pretty definitely?