I was once told by my government that I was going to be indicted on nine felony counts which meant 45 years in prison, if they could convict me.
Why? Because I believed a Sanctuary Proclamation for the State of New Mexico by our Latino Governor in 1986 was something I could depend on. He encouraged those of us who believed in helping our Latin American neighbors in El Salvador and Guatemala to do what was like an underground railroad as an act of faith and love. The New Mexico Conference of Churches, in effect, blessed those of us who believed in International Law. That is, several of us brave souls risked losing our cars and jobs to help braver refugees who were fleeing their war-torn countries, running as ones who were afraid for their lives.
I believed the One who is the basis for my faith: he was a homeless person who walked the streets of Israel for three years before he was crucified by the government of his day. I believed in the International Law which was based on the principle of the Good Samaritan.
I believed the Salvadoran attorney who called me and said two young women needed my help to get them out of El Salvador.
Because my New Mexico defense committee believed in me and in helping Central American refugees, I was not alone, despite the scary fact of my indictment which read: “The USA versus Glen Thamert.” Because another Lutheran minister, as I, who lived in California, also believed in helping his Central American neighbors, a National Sanctuary Defense Fund came to my rescue, as well.
In the current news I am listening to the story of our one New Mexico U.S. Senator who is dealing with the heat of an allegation which implicates him in the firing of a U.S. Attorney. This same Senator was involved with the U.S. Attorney who tried me in a federal court for three weeks back in 1988.
As for me, I believe in the judicial system which tried me, spending over half a million dollars in the process. I believed in a Governor who spoke up for refugees and made his Proclamation to help save lives. I believed in a good friend who told me about a powerful attorney who referred me to another attorney who, as a woman, came to my aid with two other women attorneys, and helped save me and my two little children. Now as young adults, my children are thankful that justice prevailed and that their dad was kept out of jail.
If I can believe in our system which puts people on trial, then my children and others can also believe in this same system.
Every time I hear about people who are caught in a legal entanglement, I say a prayer. May this country never give up its system of training attorneys who believe in justice. If the New Mexico Senator is guilty, our system will hopefully prove an important point. If federal attorneys get fired when they should not be, I again believe in our system and hope such attorneys will win their cases in court.
I was blessed to be acquitted on all counts. I know others live in our prisons who are also innocent. My heart and my prayers go out to these men and women. May others rise to the occasion and help them be freed. One such Attorney General in Texas is doing just that. Because of him and because of my trial and acquittal, I will go on believing that it is possible for justice to prevail in the USA.
For those who are scared at this moment because of their predicament, I say: Keep the faith. Believe in yourself, if you are innocent. Ask for help. There are those in our world who care and who will stand up for you. Believe and never stop believing: This I truly believe.
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