How giving water to migrants became a religious freedom issue

The Trump administration has brought some faith-based volunteers to court as part of a broader crackdown on illegal immigration.

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  • Krisl Sutherlin, OR
    June 17, 2019 9:18 p.m.

    The article did not address how many people are found dead in the desert. Those are the people they find. How can we humans let other humans die of thirst. Some of those people pay with their life savings and are told not to bring personal items other than water with them. The coyotes make it sound like an easy trip when it can be life threatening. Some coyotes will even abandon people in the desert to fend for themselves with or without water or shade in the height of summer when temps can reach 100+ degrees. People can only live for 3 days without water. He is doing the most humanitarian deed possible in these situations. Not all illegals are not bad guys.

  • MK52 Arlington, VA
    June 17, 2019 2:25 p.m.

    This is where the United States is now. This is who we are. With all the problems this country currently faces, Congress does nothing about immigration. Fire them all. This is what we are fighting over? We have lost all direction and decency. Instead of complaining about people coming into this country, let us look at all the leaders on all sides who are failing us.

    June 14, 2019 2:23 p.m.

    The wall is not enough.

  • RichardB Murray, UT
    June 13, 2019 7:30 p.m.

    Mercy cannot rob justice and remain righteous.

    Enforcing laws does not show a lack of compassion, on the contrary, it teaches people right from wrong, and helps them down the path of righteousness.

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    June 13, 2019 5:04 p.m.

    Fleeing Israel into Egypt was like going from Utah to Kansas. Both "countries" were part of the Roman Empire.

    They were escaping the rule of Herbert to live under Kelly. Trump would be the president either way.

    And, the way refuge should work, they went back home when the danger passed.

  • BobP CA, 00
    June 13, 2019 5:04 p.m.

    Charity is not restricted to giving things. It is the pure love of Christ. "Obeying the law of the land" sometimes sounds a lot like the Pharisees condemning Christ.

  • 65TossPowerTrap Salmon, ID
    June 13, 2019 4:21 p.m.

    I'm just glad that Egypt didn't arrest Joseph, Mary and the Baby Jesus and return them to the murderous tyranny of Herod the Great.

  • EightOhOne St. George, UT
    June 13, 2019 4:20 p.m.

    Christians In Name Only

  • Kate Hutch Kenmore, WA
    June 13, 2019 3:18 p.m.

    I really don't want to hear what any person who supports Trump has to say about 'following the law.' He has trampled our constitution and our laws and it will take quite some time to recover from the damage he has done to this country.

  • utahcoyote St. George, UT
    June 13, 2019 3:02 p.m.

    are we still talking about the hordes of illegal workers bound for trump properties?

  • EscherEnigma Ridgecrest, CA
    June 13, 2019 2:58 p.m.

    "The way you write, Democratic leadership is fully on board for immigration reform and security. Have you been listening to Democratic leaders?"
    Have you read what I wrote?

    I was pretty explicit: pro-immigration congress-critters (both Democrats *and* Republicans, including the *Republican* President W. Bush) have tried to *compromise* with anti-immigration congress-critters.

    Not "fully on board". Not even "current leadership". Just "pattern going on for decades".

    Bottom line is that over the last couple of decades we have miles and miles of new fences, now have "walls", have dramatically ratcheted up border patrol, made the TSA an insane agency, have made everything within a hundred miles of a border a zone where border patrol can pull over anyone and question them, and so-on. The border-security types have gotten a *lot*.

    What have the reform types gotten?

    But sure. The reformists are the ones unwilling to work with the security folk. Despite the voting records and public deals (that the security types welshed on) saying otherwise.

    You want this to be about Pelosi, but it's not. It's not even about Trump. It's about a pattern.

    June 13, 2019 2:15 p.m.

    reriding "The basis for the charge against Warren as described in the criminal complaint include providing food, water, shelter and clean clothes to, as well as talking to, two undocumented migrants."

    The food, water and clothes were irrelevant to the charge of harboring a person here illegally or transporting.

    Does a persons religion give them a right to break the law. (felony)

    What would Jesus do? Tell them to follow the commandments, do not steal, lie or covet.

  • RiDal Sandy, UT
    June 13, 2019 2:05 p.m.

    Providing food and water: humanitarian.

    Providing overnight lodging and not notifying authorities: breaking the law.

    Charity is a Christian virtue. But "charity" means voluntarily giving your own resources. Following the law and not abetting criminals in your society is also a Christian value.

  • WeThePeople Sandy, UT
    June 13, 2019 2:01 p.m.

    So sad to see the liberal's perverting the cause of religion to weaken our Nation.

    America is under dire threat. Our Leader Donald Trump knows that if we want to keep our Country a safe strong and Christian Nation, we need Wall.

    The democrates will not build Wall, so these people die in the Desert. That is the price of American Freedom.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    June 13, 2019 1:35 p.m.

    So as fully expected, those who object to respecting freedom of conscience in declining to attend a party or promote a message they find offensive, are suddenly very much in favor of letting this fellow break the law regarding immigration. These are the same people who demand the full penalties of law be brought to bear on a man for peacefully riding an ATV up an existing trail whose closure was being legally contested.

    Yet again, we see a lack of any real guiding principles other than, "I want things the way I want them."

    I do not believe anyone should be charged with a crime for providing legit humanitarian aid to those in need.

    Actively encouraging and aiding violation of our immigration laws is a different story than merely helping those who have gotten themselves into some trouble while violating our laws.

    I believe freedom of/from speech and association, as well as religious freedom all protect photographers from having to attend events whose message offends them. I do not believe these freedoms should permit forming mobs outside those parties, or funerals, and shouting fighting words at the celebrants or mourners, respectfully.

  • Joe Hilll Salt Lake City, UT
    June 13, 2019 1:10 p.m.

    @Take the Red Pill and Cultural Revolution
    its not a zero sum game. we can and should take care of or citizens and show compassion towards asylum seekers.

    the polygamy comment is not only a straw man argument but also inaccurate.

  • jeclar2006 Oceanside, CA
    June 13, 2019 1:05 p.m.

    EscherEnigma - Ridgecrest, CA
    @The Article
    So according to Warren and his lawyers, and this "religous liberty" argument, it should be legal for *him* to give water and directions to illegal border crossers, but if I (an agnostic/atheist) did the same thing, it would be illegal?

    During the Vietnam War some number of young men claimed 'conscientious objector' status when required to appear for induction into the US military.

    In The United States v Seeger(1965) the Supreme Court found that determining condition is:
    [a] sincere and meaningful belief which occupies in the life of its possessor a place parallel to that filled by the God of those[who had routinely gotten the exemption].

    So, if you have a sincere and meaningful belief that those in need should have the help they need for their immediate situation, it would seem this decision would be applicable.

    Of course you may have to go to court, prove your sincerity, but there is hope that the government will have to drop charges, or judge required to give a jury this criteria for defense.

  • David Centerville, UT
    June 13, 2019 12:46 p.m.


    The way you write, Democratic leadership is fully on board for immigration reform and security. Have you been listening to Democratic leaders? They want open borders, elimination of ICE, no detention, all social safety net benefits for illegals, plus voting rights. Does this sound like an immigration system or a sieve?

    I understand you are pointing out the hypocrisy of Republican leadership. I get that. I agree with you. I am frustrated that immigration reform has failed for 40 years. This is on both political sides, and both sides have failed. But at this moment, which political leader is trying to do anything about the border crisis?

    Pelosi? Schumer?

    I think Trump is the main driver on this. I don't like his style, but he is actually trying to get things done.

  • Cultural Revolution Shanghai, China, 00
    June 13, 2019 12:29 p.m.

    It seems that the left always want illegal aliens to receive special treatment that regular US citizens do not get.

    They want polygamy to be illegal, even when it is founded on sincere and long-standing religious belief. But, any excuse to help illegal aliens should be legal.

    It is clear they don't like their fellow citizens, and want to replace them with foreign invaders.

  • mcclark Salt Lake City, UT
    June 13, 2019 12:25 p.m.

    The same people who say they should be able to discriminate against gay people because of their religious beliefs say prosecute these people for their religious beliefs.

  • jeclar2006 Oceanside, CA
    June 13, 2019 12:04 p.m.

    Spokane Ute - Spokane, WA
    June 13, 2019 10:58 a.m.
    65TossPowerTrap - Salmon, ID
    June 13, 2019 9:07 a.m.

    Hmmm, I'm just wondering what Jesus would do.
    Obey the law of the land; just like the Mormon Church does. I hope that helps.

    Perhaps the a Mormon version of the Bible is different, in particular the various stories depicting Jesus' activities, include such things as working on the Sabbath, in the form of taking some wheat from a field, and rubbing it enough to chew the kernels(while the KJV version uses the word "corn", corn is a New World plant, so the plant most likely would be wheat or barley.)

    'Work' on the Sabbath was prohibited in Judea, as it still is for observant Jews today. Jesus uses the examples of healing the sick, and an ox fallen into a pit, both being emergencies which would override the general prohibition.

    Giving water to someone in the desert should not be a crime ever. Giving directions in the desert to places for food and water should never be a crime.

    In an era where 'Freedom of Religion' has come to mean 'freedom to discriminate and hate', it is heartening to hear stories of someone's faith actually helping others in their need.

  • EscherEnigma Ridgecrest, CA
    June 13, 2019 12:03 p.m.

    @The Article
    So according to Warren and his lawyers, and this "religous liberty" argument, it should be legal for *him* to give water and directions to illegal border crossers, but if I (an agnostic/atheist) did the same thing, it would be illegal?

    I think I see a big problem with trying to make this a "religious liberty" issue.

    "Can't the Left see a need for an immigration system that creates order, security, and benefits everyone?"
    Y'all made this argument back when we had President W. Bush in the white house. He supported reform, but anti-immigration congress-critters demanded more border fencing before they would support reform.

    They got their fencing, and then welched on the reform.

    This repeated under President Obama.

    And it's already repeated under President Trump.

    Fact is, there have been multiple rounds of increasing "security" at the border in the last two decades, but the promised reform has never happened.

    But sure. It's all those mean democrats that stopped Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnel from proposing immigration reform in 2017 and 2018.

  • viejogeezer CARLSBAD, CA
    June 13, 2019 12:01 p.m.

    The terror in central america is largely due to the US insatiable appetite for drugs. This spawned the drug cartels. These people are the victims of our intemperance yet we refuse to take responsibility for our actions and want to coop up the victims in the mayhem we created. Until we get our own house in order perhaps we should show a little more compassion.

  • QuickRick Brigham City, UT
    June 13, 2019 11:50 a.m.

    It's not clear from the article, which is becoming more and more common in the DN, what actually happened there. Did he give them directions away from immigration officials, or toward them? Seems like that would be a critical piece of information.

  • shamrock Salt Lake City, UT
    June 13, 2019 11:21 a.m.

    This is like prosecuting a starving mom for stealing bread to feed her family. If the law is inconsistent with ethics and compassion, a decent person opts for doing the good and decent thing. Remember: "As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me" and "But the greatest of these is charity."

  • embarrassed Utahn! Salt Lake City, UT
    June 13, 2019 11:07 a.m.

    I have a question for those of you who is number one priority is in honoring, obeying, and sustaining the law… Did you feel so strongly when President Obama was in office?

  • Spokane Ute Spokane, WA
    June 13, 2019 10:58 a.m.

    65TossPowerTrap - Salmon, ID
    June 13, 2019 9:07 a.m.

    Hmmm, I'm just wondering what Jesus would do.
    Obey the law of the land; just like the Mormon Church does. I hope that helps.

  • 🎼TruthIsMarching Boston, MA
    June 13, 2019 10:24 a.m.

    It would be nice if all these people who say they would assist illegal aliens would actually take care of them. This includes housing, medical care, and paying for private school for their children so they don't overwhelm the public school system.

    Why don't Pelosi, Romney, and Schumer open the gates to their properties to these illegal aliens? Pretty clear Pelosi cares more about her tennis balls, as she has a fence around her tennis court.

    Those who want to help the illegal aliens always want to use someone else's money to do it, not their own. Thus, it is a clear case of manipulation, not reason, logic, or truth.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    June 13, 2019 10:20 a.m.

    Does anyone really know the ins and outs of immigration? Both republicans and democrats call for reform. What is the process now?

  • 👍 Peter Wiggin Saratoga Springs, UT
    June 13, 2019 10:11 a.m.

    Why didn't the "Christian" offer to fly the illegal aliens to Canada, where they have a better safety net? Why don't all these people trying to manipulate our emotions put up the money to bus all these illegal immigrants Canada?

    If these people were really looking out for the immigrants, they would send them to Canada.

    It shows they are only interested in destroying the United States, not in help the illegal aliens.

    Emotional manipulation is not a good reason for anything.

  • dmcvey Los Angeles, CA
    June 13, 2019 10:00 a.m.

    Good for these volunteers. I believe Jesus would be giving assistance to these people who are suffering.

  • All American Herriman, UT
    June 13, 2019 9:59 a.m.

    There is nothing wrong with helping people, even illegals. Give them water, food, clothes if you choose, and point them back to Mexico. It is not against the law to help people with provisions; it is against the law to help them come into this country illegally. So simple....

  • 100MillionDead RU, 00
    June 13, 2019 9:27 a.m.

    If you really want to stop migrant deaths, support Trump and Brian Kolfage.

    If you support "recycling" children and the drug cartels, support the people trying to manipulate your emotions.

  • Pepe the Frog 🐸 ,
    June 13, 2019 9:16 a.m.

    He could have easily called border patrol.

    Human smuggling is not in the Bible. Helping drug cartels "recycle" children and rape women is not in the Bible.

    "Render unto Ceaser" is in the Bible.

  • David Centerville, UT
    June 13, 2019 9:13 a.m.

    I can understand the government's position--they are trying to establish some control along the border. When you have 100,000+ illegal immigrants entering the country every month, it overwhelms communities, societal support, agencies, medical providers, economies, security, etc. There must be a system to process and settle migrants. Migrants should come through the front door, through our immigration system. But when you have people smuggling illegal immigrants in, the government doesn't know if those illegal immigrants are human traffickers, drug smugglers, terrorists, or simply individuals looking for a better life. Regardless, there must be order along the border.

    I can also understand the humanitarian side of this topic. As Americans, we are the most giving country on earth. And conservatives are the large majority of charitable givers....we have compassion for others in need. I would give directions and aid to an illegal immigrant and would be arrested. I could not see someone in need of water, food, medical care and not help...

    Can't the Left see a need for an immigration system that creates order, security, and benefits everyone?

  • 65TossPowerTrap Salmon, ID
    June 13, 2019 9:07 a.m.

    Hmmm, I'm just wondering what Jesus would do.

  • Daedalus, Stephen Arvada, CO
    June 13, 2019 9:02 a.m.

    Would he have a stronger argument for a religious freedom exemption from the law if he left a wedding cake and a flower arrangement in the desert instead of water, food, and clothing?

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    June 13, 2019 8:46 a.m.

    Some appear to be in a preaching mood today, citing the teachings of Jesus.

    Here's one. Matthew 22.
    The king invited his friend to a wedding. They blew him off. (Jobs Americans won't do? Low birth rate?)

    So, he sent invitations out into the countryside, looking for folks who wanted to come. (Our generous immigration policy?)

    But one man showed up without a wedding garment. (Unlawfully present?)

    The king had him bound hand and foot and carried away into outer darkness. (Deportation?)

    It is moral to expect people to enter in through the door, not climb up by some other way. We accept about a million of the legal ones each year, mostly relatives of people here. (That isn't in our best interest.)

    And for our largess we are supposed to open our borders to anyone who wants to come in, even if they don't follow the rules?

    Let's cut out the phony virtue signaling.

  • Mack2828 Kenton Vale, KY
    June 13, 2019 8:18 a.m.

    I'm a Christian and a Latter Day Saint who believes in honoring, obeying and sustaining the law. I am grateful for President Trump and the brave men and women of the Border Patrol who are doing all they can to insure that our immigration laws are upheld and who are working night and day to keep us safe.

  • Thomas Jefferson Salt Lake City, UT
    June 13, 2019 8:11 a.m.

    I cant imagine hating a race/nationality/skin color so much as to pass a law like this but then I am not a right wing extremist or a politician who feels the need to pander to that group.

  • NobodySpecial Alpharetta, GA
    June 13, 2019 8:04 a.m.

    It is estimated that around ten thousand migrants have died while trying to cross the Mexican border in the last twenty years or so. The people who are dying are human beings, whose only crime is that they are trying to find a better life for their families.

    When our children and our grandchildren and our great grandchildren reflect on this chapter of American history, I suspect they will find it painfully difficult to understand our collective indifference, or even hostility, towards these unfortunate fellow human beings.

    The prosecutors in Arizona who took this to trial should be ashamed of themselves.

  • Boomstickdad Provo, TX
    June 13, 2019 7:37 a.m.

    As is commonly the case with Deseret News articles these days, this story cries out for more balance.

  • Third try screen name Mapleton, UT
    June 13, 2019 7:35 a.m.

    I'm confused. I missed the part where the guy was arrested for giving water to an illegal. He was arrested for helping them enter the country undetected by suggesting a route for them to take. He got caught. It's not about water at all. that fake news?

    On another note, it's too bad Bob Bennett isn't in the senate. He could have presented a bill to indemnify this guy. He had experience protecting a faith group from aiding, abetting and harboring illegals. I'd like to see an InDepth story on how that came to be and the actual language used.

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    June 13, 2019 7:27 a.m.

    These days, anything and everything is a "religious freedom" issue!

  • Rita B Herriman, UT
    June 13, 2019 7:21 a.m.

    "For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in."

    As a practicing Christian, I side with these brave volunteers.

  • reriding Salt Lake City, UT
    June 13, 2019 7:18 a.m.

    RRB, did you read the article?

    "The basis for the charge against Warren as described in the criminal complaint include providing food, water, shelter and clean clothes to, as well as talking to, two undocumented migrants."

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    June 13, 2019 6:27 a.m.

    @Seldom Seen Smith
    straw man = poor argument

  • embarrassed Utahn! Salt Lake City, UT
    June 13, 2019 6:13 a.m.

    Look at that "big beautiful fence"...SMH! What a scar on our landscape and our nation's soul. Christians supported the wrong candidate. Period. Full-stop.

    June 13, 2019 3:13 a.m.

    So it had nothing to do with giving them water.

  • madirishman Seattle, WA
    June 13, 2019 12:46 a.m.

    No water = no compassion = no Christ in our heart.

  • Seldom Seen Smith Orcutt, CA
    June 12, 2019 10:09 p.m.

    No border = no country