Prosecutor almost directly quoted Bible in trial against man who helped migrants

Charged with providing food and water to migrants in an area of the desert that has claimed the lives of at least 32 so far, Arizona teacher and humanitarian Scott Warren will not be going to prison—at least not yet. Now, people familiar with the Bible are finding particular irony in a prosecutor’s statement during the trial. 

Warren was charged with three felonies last year after helping two migrants who had crossed into Arizona from Central America. He faced 20 years in prison, and his case drew international interest as a landmark decision regarding volunteer aid on the U.S. border.

After 15 hours of deliberation, the jury failed to reach a verdict on June 11. 

Among the celebratory responses, Twitter user Ken Klipperstein pointed out that the accusations levied by the prosecution are almost word-for-word the instructions that were given to Christians in Matthew 25:35.

“He gave them food, he gave them water, he gave them a place to stay… He did a bad thing,” prosecutor Anna Wright said in her closing argument, according to advocacy group No More Deaths, which posted live updates from the trial.

The Bible verse reads as follows: “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.”

The only real difference is that Wright tacked the rather weak judgment of “he did a bad thing” onto the list of Christian virtues.

https://twitter.com/BabaYetu_/status/1139613979263864837

Some wondered if it was a deliberate attempt to sabotage the case given that prosecutors generally have to work the cases they’re given, whether or not they agree with them.

But a woman who says she was a witness to the trail thinks otherwise.

“The prosecutor read her script fairly well, but stumbled over her words during questioning,” the witness, Jennifer Bennett Powers, tweeted. “She definitely wanted to win the case.”

People were pointing out that Jesus himself was born to desperate migrants.

Commenters also noted the irony of the court requiring Warren to swear on the Bible before attempting to prosecute him for obeying it.

Klippenstein’s tweet has now jumped to Facebook as a shareable post, so there’s likely more commentary to come. 

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Siobhan Ball

Siobhan Ball

Siobhan Ball is a historian, archivist, and journalist. She also writes for Autostraddle and bi.org