(Context by A. Nee): "Our sisters, Annmarie Barret of Metanoia House and Regina Rust of the White Rose Catholic Worker are currently incarcerated with 22 other men and women in the Muscogee County Jail of Columbus, Georgia. A dozen of these protesters, including Annemarie and Regina, were arrested for their part in a planned direct action. The rest were subject to a mass arrest of random individuals."
Never in the twenty-year history of the movement has police behavior resembled such arbitrary and flagrant disregard for civil liberties. As a result, local attorneys never before associated with the movement have volunteered, outraged by what has happened. Their inside expertise of the labyrinthine city and state legal domains has already proven invaluable… Who are these men? The blind, whose scales fall from their eyes, healed by Jesus? The paralytics, whose listlessness turns into dancing beside the pool of Bethesda?
Among lawyers, a strain of fundamentalism runs deep, such that a case that treats a first amendment violation is worthwhile whether or not it means defending bigotry of neo-nazi’s. This fundamentalism looks to the founding father President John Adams as a prophet for our times. Indeed, the nemesis of Thomas Jefferson took the position of a voice in the wilderness when he championed the case of English soldiers in the aftermath of the Boston Massacre. A witness of this kind stands for due process, but some might question the moral relativism of such lawyers. For a contemporary example, consider the first amendment defense of direct actions by Westboro Baptist Church (see the Snyder v. Phelps case analysis by the citizen media law project).
The men who teamed the defense deserve our gratitude, not such rude appraisal as I seem to imply. They have taken risks to do as they have: one, whom the judge never acknowledged, explained that they had previously been close friends. Before we surmise them shysters seeking media attention, we can appreciate their effort and celebrate the momentary close of a gap long divisive in the Columbus legal community. Such a healing, unexpected, reflects the grace of God laboring in our midst! Why should we be spare with love for such men? Knowing that Jesus healed those in households of all classes of men, including the Roman centurion, we too can rejoice in the revelatory faith of these dark horse heroes.