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Religious Freedom Law Plays Key Role In Arizona Migrant-Aid Case

The acquittal of a Tucson area man prosecuted for aiding migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border is spotlighting the ability of religious freedom law to shield people of faith regardless of political ideology.

Scott Warren was acquitted last week of felony charges and a separate misdemeanor charge after his lawyers argued that his religious beliefs motivated him to leave water for migrants in the southern Arizona desert. He was given a second trial after a jury in his first trial was deadlocked last June.

The same 1993 law invoked in Warren’s acquittal was at the heart of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that exempted arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby from Obamacare’s birth control coverage mandate.

While religious liberty is commonly associated with conservatives, the law’s use in Warren’s case could represent a step forward for claims by more left-leaning believers.

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