So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. --Isaiah 59:14-15
There is perhaps no better argument for the timeless relevancy of scripture than the Tucson courtroom of U.S. District Judge Earl H. Carroll, where 11 sanctuary workers are on trial because they have provided sanctuary to innocent people fleeing the U.S.-financed violence in Central America.
Throughout the now 18-week-long trial, truth has been absent in what is said as well as in what cannot be said. The defendants include two Catholic priests, a Presbyterian minister, and a Catholic nun, yet Judge Carroll will not allow them to explain the religious motivation for their sanctuary work. International law stipulates conditions for political asylum, but Carroll will hear no international law in his Arizona courtroom.
Refugees aided by the sanctuary workers have fled their homelands in fear for their lives, but the jury does not hear their heartrending accounts of torture, imprisonment, rape, and murder. Several refugee witnesses had sneaked into the United States and gone into hiding because United Nations refugee workers in Mexico told them the United States accepts only 2 percent to 3 percent of Salvadoran and Guatemalan asylum applications. But Carroll will not allow such explanations, saying, "We're not going to have all these statistics presented to the jury." All this information and more Carroll has deemed "irrelevant to the government's case."