As explained in the previous edition of the Patriot, Reverend Walter Hoye, a Baptist pastor from Berkeley was arrested for approaching clients outside an Oakland abortion clinic while holding a sign reading, “Jesus loves you and your baby. Let us help,” despite no “victims” stepping forward. This innocent action was made illegal thanks to a city ordinance that creates a “bubble” of eight feet around women, staff or escorts entering the buildings.
He was sentenced in February to 30 days in prison and three years probation. He was also ordered to stay 100 feet away from Oakland abortion clinics and to pay $1130 in fees and fines.
Reverend Hoye began his sentence on March 20th in Santa Rita jail in Dublin, California. While in prison he preached the gospel and states that he led eight men to Christ even in the brief time he spent there. Hoye explains, “I grew spiritually from every encounter with every man every day.”
In what he calls the “spirit of James 2:15-17” (Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?), he bought food and supplies for every man (about 30 men) in his pod.
Prior to his incarceration, Hoye fasted for the 40 days.
After 18 days, with days off for good behavior, Reverend Hoye was released. He plans to return to sidewalk counseling on May 7th, the National Day of Prayer. In the meantime, the Life Legal Defense Foundation, representing Rev. Hoye, is currently challenging the constitutionality of the ordinance in federal court, since it substantially restricts free speech.
Campus opinions are mixed on the subject. Second-year Andrew Lee states, “I feel like the legal system has done him a great injustice by violating his free speech and trying to force him into submission. If it is an unjust law, he has every right to fight it just as the African American population did during segregation.”
First-year Pegah Zardoost explains, “The fact that he was arrested for that was a little extreme. I’m not necessarily against the law… but I also think that he has a first amendment right to free speech.”