Good Story

Below is an angering and inspiring story! Reading things like this makes me wish my life counted for more!! Below is the entire story:


"For 19 days in March and April, Walter Hoye was locked in a cell with 29 other prisoners at the Santa Rita jail near Oakland, Calif. There were times when he wished he could have stayed longer.

When the metal door first clanged shut behind him on March 20, Hoye, 52, decided the space was really more of a cage than a cell. A metal grid penning in prisoners. Fifteen bunks lining two walls. Two toilets and a urinal for all 30 men, and a shower that inmates had gradually transformed into a pornographic shrine.

As Hoye made his way to an empty bunk, a few prisoners, mostly black and Latino, dogged his path. "You smuggle in any drugs, man?" one of them asked.

"No," Hoye said quietly.

Then the veteran inmates left him alone, he told me, except for "one of the brothers who was kind enough to help me make up my bed."

A few minutes later, another man walked over to Hoye's bunk and jabbed his finger at a newspaper he was holding. "This you?" he said, eyeing Hoye skeptically.

Hoye peered at the Oakland Tribune headline: "Anti-abortion pastor chooses jail."

"Yeah, that's me," he said.

In the next moment, the inmate was striding up and down the length of the cell, announcing, "Hey, he don't have to be here! He turned down probation! He doing straight time for what he believed in!"

It was true: On Feb. 19, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Stuart Hing sentenced Walter Hoye, a Missionary Baptist minister, to 30 days in jail after Hoye refused a plea deal that included three years' probation, a small fine, and an order that he stay at least 100 yards away from Family Planning Specialists, an Oakland abortion clinic.

Passionate about the sky-high abortion rate among African-Americans, Hoye began offering men and women assistance at the clinic in 2006. About one in three Oakland residents is black, compared with a statewide African-American population of 6 percent. And though blacks make up only 12 percent of the U.S. population, they account for one-third of all abortions performed in the United States. More than three in 10 black women abort their unborn children.

According to the 2006 census, deaths now exceed live births among African-Americans. "We're no longer replacing ourselves," Hoye said. "So we're not using terms like holocaust and genocide just to elicit a response. It's the truth."

In response, once a week Hoye stood quietly outside Family Planning Specialists with a sign that said, "Jesus loves you and your baby. Let us help." When people approached the clinic, Hoye would ask their permission to speak with them about abortion alternatives; he also offered them pamphlets describing available help.

In 2007, pro-abortion clinic "escorts" began to show up in groups, surrounding Hoye and impeding his movement. They blocked his sign with sheets of blank cardboard and shouted down his low-key offers of help. When that didn't scare Hoye off, clinic managers lobbied the Oakland city council and in December 2007, the council instituted a "bubble-zone" ordinance applicable within a 100-foot radius of any Oakland abortion clinic. The law made it a crime to "approach within eight feet of any person seeking to enter" a "reproductive health care facility" in order to offer literature, display a sign, or engage in "oral protest, education, or counseling."

"This law is horribly unconstitutional," Hoye said. "It allows abortion clinics to decide which U.S. citizens are allowed to retain their constitutional right to free speech."

Represented by Life Legal Defense Fund (LLDF), Hoye challenged the ordinance in court. The case is still pending, but in May 2008, Oakland public attorneys acting in cooperation with clinic managers charged Hoye with "unlawful approaches" to women, and "force, threat of force, or physical obstruction."

What prosecutors did not know was that LLDF attorneys possessed four hours of uncut videotape documenting Hoye's activities outside the clinic on the dates in question. At trial in January 2009, the tapes impeached the testimony of clinic director Jackie Barbic, who claimed that Hoye repeatedly broke the 8-foot rule and that she and a patient had to put up their hands to fend him off. Instead, the tapes showed Hoye standing still as Barbic approached him; then they showed Hoye walking away. No incident shown on the tape matched Barbic's testimony, and even clinic escorts testified that Hoye was always cordial and never obstructed anyone's path or used threats or force.

Inexplicably, the jury still found Hoye guilty. At sentencing, the prosecutor recommended the probation and the clinic stay-away order—or two years in jail. When Hoye refused the stay-away order, Judge Hing appeared "surprised," Hoye said. "The judge was essentially asking me to stop trying to help men and women outside an abortion clinic, and I just would not voluntarily give up my First Amendment rights."

In February, Hing levied a sentence of 30 days and Hoye reported to the Santa Rita jail a month later. After the newspaper-reading inmate touted the Tribune article to the other prisoners—many of them inner-city drug dealers whose highest aspiration was to stay out of prison, they clamored to know why a man would choose jail over freedom. From that moment on, Hoye found himself in constant demand.

"I would be holding court with about 30 guys, explaining why I did what I did," he said. "I explained what an abortion actually does, that it takes an innocent human life. We held prayer vigils, we had Bible studies. I must have counseled and mentored guys all day and all night. It got to the point where we started talking seriously about Christ."

Most of the men in the cage at first mouthed pro-choice slogans, Hoye said. "But when I forced them to complete the sentence, 'I believe that a woman has a right to choose to kill an innocent life,' they couldn't do it."

One morning at about 2:30 a.m., a good-looking young man named Terrell approached Hoye's bunk and asked what actually goes on during an abortion. Using his fingers to simulate a woman's legs spreading, Hoye showed Terrell how the abortionist inserts a vacuum aspirator and sucks out the developing child.

Terrell, 18, told Hoye he had gotten his girlfriend pregnant and that she had aborted. "She made the decision," he said. "It was her choice."

"Yes, I know that, but what did you do?" Hoye replied. "Did you offer to marry her?"

Terrell shook his head. "No, I didn't."

"Did you offer to help her raise the child?"

"No, I didn't."

"Did you tell her that you love her and that you were going to go the distance with her as a man should, even if she decided to give the child up for adoption?"

"No, no, I didn't," Terrell said, his eyes filling with tears. "I never knew. No one ever told me what an abortion is. No one ever made it plain."

When Terrell understood that he had, "perhaps because of his own lack of participation, been complicit in the murder of his own child, it really broke him," Hoye said.

Before Terrell went back to his own bunk that night, Hoye prayed with him. "I told him God could forgive him, that what he'd done wasn't an unforgivable sin."

But the conversation didn't end then. Terrell continued to visit with Hoye. "He began to understand that men have a responsibility to women, and vowed that, for him, an abortion would never happen again. He came to me a young man in jail for dealing drugs, trying to make some money and live the large life. I began to see him grow up."

Released from jail on April 7, Hoye rejoined his wife, Lori, in their Oakland home. Today, he is not sorry for his choice. "I've been a jail chaplain in jail before, and even had the privilege of being a guest preacher at San Quentin. Being an inmate is completely different. I was actually one of them and it gave me a different kind of credibility. I'm sure my adversary meant my incarceration for evil, but God used it for good.""

11 comments:

"Once you choose Hope, anything is possible."

April 28, 2009 at 8:06 PM  

Dang. That make me feel like I need to stand for more.

What a great story, man. Thanks for sharing this.

April 29, 2009 at 8:41 AM  

I believe that a woman has the right to choose. I don't need to complete an incorrect sentence that implies wrongdoing to know that I am right and that the law backs me up.

April 29, 2009 at 8:55 AM  

Anonymos, thanks for commenting. I respect your belief, but as you probably guess by my post that I respectfully disagree. Your comment assumes that just because there is a law that supports abortion that it is morally justafiable. I think we could all agree that lawmakers are fallible, just like every human. I adamantly oppose abortion because I believe that at the moment of conception, the baby is a human life, worthy of all the God-given rights every human being should have, most importantly the right to live. So, if the baby is a human from conception, and abortion ends that life, abortion is murder, whether it is allowed by law or not. A woman's "right to choose" gives her the right to choose murder. I belief in choice too, that a baby should have the choice to live, breath, and experience life.

April 29, 2009 at 3:11 PM  

My comment doesn't assume that the law gives me moral clarity to believe the way I do. I actually stated that I believe I am right and the law backs me up. There's a difference. I'm not leaning on a law to justify my belief. It's the other way around.

Having clarified that, I think we also disagree on what constitutes a human life. I don't believe a life begins at moment of conception. If you believe this, then I am under the assumption that you are also against birth control. After all, birth control is simply a month-to-month abortion. So how many children do you have?

One more question... are you pro-life or simply against-choice?

May 3, 2009 at 5:26 AM  

Thanks for clarifying your belief and how it relates to the law.
I am against the use of certain types of "birth-control", like emergency contracptives (morning-after pills). I would agree that they are a form of abortion. However, I am not against birth control pills and other contraceptive options that reduces the risk of fertilization of an ovum by a spermatozoon. You said that brith control is just month-to-month abortion, but I would challenge that by restating that life begins at the moment of conception, with the ovum is ferilized to form an embryo. Birth control pills for example prevent the fertilization process, but they do not kill an embryo, and therefore are not abortion methods. Rather they are a form of responsibilty.
To answer your last question, make no mistake, I am all for choice (I make choices everyday.. what to eat...what to wear..and I love that freedom of choice) but it is unfathomable that anyone should have the right to choose to murder another human being, much less a defensless human being developed in the womb. As a fellow human-being, and particularly from my perspective as a Christ-follower, I have the responsibilty to defend and protect the defenseless. To couch abortion in the term "woman's right to choose" is to mask the reality that defenseless human beings are being murdered because they are considered inconveniences. Let's be honest, had someone decided to choose to abort you or me, we wouldn't be having this conversation right? Shouldn't every baby be given the opportunity? So in that regard I am also pro-life (not just in the political realm...but I am all for life!!!!!)
As for how many children I have...I've got one due in November.

So what do you think constitutes a human life? When does life begin?

I hope we can continue this conversation! Thanks!

May 3, 2009 at 6:09 PM  

In simplistic terms, I don't think a human life exists until the second trimester. Prior to that, it is simply a parasite.

So why are there abortions? There are probably a few leading causes... as with the women selling babies in Tajikistan, there are economic and social causes. Either women who already have children can't afford it, or unmarried women would be shamed and possibly punished if they were to try and raise a child alone. Here, the pressure applied by possibly well-meaning parents, and warnings against becoming a teen mother--as well as the stigma regarding sex out of wedlock, especially among the young--is a leading contributor, I'm sure. It's ironic that the same Christian parents who oppose abortion, by putting the fear of God into their children, help fuel the demand for that particular service. Of course, poverty is a very prevalent reason here. An abortion is cheaper than buying diapers. A small percentage of abortions are performed due to medical complications and rape, including the molestation of reproductively mature minors, some of whom are too young to safely carry a baby to term.

For those people, there is probably an immense sense of loss, and I sympathize with them, and to some degree, I believe that Democratic policies, which tend to favor social welfare and tolerance for those who fall outside strict definitions of "a family," could lower the demand for abortions due to other circumstances.

However, there is also a large piece of the pie, especially (and possibly exclusively) in the Western world, composed of both potential mothers and fathers, who simply don't want to be bothered, and apply abortion as a contraceptive. I carry only disdain for that particular group, for they embody the same action without consequence mentality that I see as one of the biggest social diseases facing our society. It's the same mentality that fuels the destruction of our environment through viral consumerism and suburban sprawl, and it's the same kind of thinking that has the citizen body perpetually electing politicians to office on vague, demagogic platforms that offer short term solutions that generally either fail to work at all, or never get off the ground.

The reason I asked if you were pro-life or simly against-choice wasn't to argue whether or not you made a choice on what to wear today or what to eat for breakfast this morning. Perhaps I should have been more clear with my questions. I wasn't referring to all choices in general - simply to the choice of ending a pregnancy. The conclusion is that most "pro-lifers" are really "anti-abortionists" instead.

May 4, 2009 at 8:47 AM  

It looks like you and I share some of the same opinions and frustrations when it comes to politics, policies and the irresponsibilty of some people, especially when it comes to abortion. I also totally agree that many of the reasons why people abort, including the well-meaning Christian parents who mishandle the situation of a per-marital pregnancy. I see abortion as only one of many problems that face our society, particularly in America. It is however a topic I am passionate about, and feel responsibility for. There is no reason, excuse, or argument that can justify taking another life. In that reguard, I guess you could say I am pro-life and anit-abortion. I can't seperate the two. But again, please understand this isn't a polictical platform for me, it is a deeply held belief based on who God is as the creator of life. Which is why my original post that spurned this debate resonated so much with me. Here was a guy standing up for his beliefs and acting in a civil and law-abiding manner, and the courts completely violated his freedom by trampling on his constitutional rights and his freedom in general. It's outrageous.

So I'm curious as to what happens in the second trimester that would constitute the "parasite" becoming a human life? Also, you gave many reasons for why people choose abortion. But you seemed to think that most of those reasons were unsubstantial. In what circumstance do you see abortion as viable?

May 6, 2009 at 4:09 PM  

So I'm curious as to what happens in the second trimester that would constitute the "parasite" becoming a human life? Science happens.

In what circumstance do you see abortion as viable?I see abortion viable whenever a woman chooses it. That is to say that I may not necessarily agree on abortion as a personal choice - it is definitely not something I would ever choose for myself - however, I believe in a woman's right to choose, and I am glad that the option is there for whoever might need it. I can't possibly see myself imposing my own personal beliefs on someone else when I haven't walked in their shoes. Something Christians seem to have no problem doing. Although your reasoning will be that you're trying to save an innocent life, that will still be the core of our disagreement. A parasite is not really a human life. Just because you choose to believe otherwise doesn't automatically revoke a woman's right to choose, nor should it mean that people are allowed to harrass them in front of an abortion clinic when they are vulnerable after having made an extremely hard, personal decision.

May 7, 2009 at 5:42 AM  

Science happens? That's it? Are you suggesting that prior to that moment science didn't happen? (what with that one sperm making it through a near impossible journey, one that potentially millions of other sperm never make, to fertilize that one egg, forming a baby who develops from embryo to fetus to finally a child?) I think science itself would find your answer unsatisfactory, as do I. Honestly, I'm having a real problem understanding that logic. If something starts at point A, let's say a fertilized egg, and ends at point B, let's say a baby, how can, at any point in that pocess, the baby be any more or less deserving of life. I'm not understanding how in 12 short weeks this organism can transform from mere parasite to a human life? Doesn't it have to start at point A to get to point B? Didn't we all? Help me out here.

As for Christians imposing thier beliefs on other people, I would contend that we would be heartless if we did not share our beliefs with other people (not impose on them necessarily....though like aethiest Penn Jillette has said, if I saw a truck coming straight at you, but you didn't believe it, there is a point where I responsibiltiy deems me tackle you to get you out of the way of the truck). I claim to have the key to eternal life, the way to God through Jesus, so why wouldn't I share that with other people. I also believe that life begins at conception. The Bible says God knit us together in our mother's womb, that all our days were planned our by him, that we are fearfully and wonderfully made(Psalm 139:13-16). If I believe th Bible and I believe that about ever child concieved, then why wouldn't I try to stop someone from aborting a baby who I think is being knitted together by the very hands of God.

I realize you may not agree with what the Bible says or what I say, but you can't deny that if someone believes what we as Christians believe, but then stands idly by while babies continue to be killed then our beliefs are worthless, and, at least in my mind, our silence is the worst display of hate. There is a way to do so that is not harrassment. I can't force my beliefs on you...nor will I try. But if you give me an ear, then I will, in respect and love, share with you. Just as the guy in this story did. He didn't attack anybody, or force his believes. He followed the law to the T. He wasn't harrassing, he was attempting to educate and save a life based on his firmly held beliefs. That's not imposing, that is responsibilty.
I do want to be clear that I don't hold contempt for those who are choosing to have abortions. I don't look women who have made such a choice with any disdain. More so I feel compasion for them and for their unborn child. And I feel the obligation to try to educate them, help them see the baby as a life worthy of protecting. And all of that stems not from just one belief of a woman's right to choose or not choose, but it comes from the core beliefs of the sanctity of life.

May 7, 2009 at 10:10 AM  

A simple answer of "Science happens" will suffice in this instance because I can sit here and explain to you the ins and outs of that logic and why the law uses that logic to determine women's rights, but quite honestly it doesn't really matter what I say to you because you already believe a certain way. It's arguing 101. No matter how wrong the other person is, you'll never be able to convince them otherwise if they hold strongly to that wrong belief (for example, like you said, if the truck is coming but you strongly believe it isn't).

Daniel McGuire wrote an essay entitled "The Pro-Life Lie" that I wonder if you've read.

People should be judged by the ideals they most loudly profess.

O.K., "Pro-Lifers," here goes.

Archbishop Tutu (would that we had even one bishop like him in the United States!) writes: "Some 2 million children have died in dozens of wars during the past decade... This is more than three times the number of battlefield deaths of American soldiers in all their wars since 1776... Today, civilians account for more than 90 percent of war casualties."

Children are the prime casualties of modern war. As Professor Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University writes: "Children in urban war zones die in vast numbers, not just due to violence, but also from diarrhea, respiratory infections and other causes, owing to unsafe drinking water, lack of refrigerated foods, and acute shortages of blood and basic medicines in clinics and hospitals." Pregnant women and their fetuses suffer from these same lethal deprivations and pregnant women and their fetuses are being bombed in their homes.

If you who sanctimoniously wear the "pro-life" banner were really pro-life-and pro-fetus --- that would bother you and we would be hearing your voices raised powerfully in peace protests around the world. We don't. Therefore, we must conclude that you are not "pro-life" and that if you say you are, you are liars. (Those who disapprove of all abortions and also oppose war must find another motto: "pro-life" has been coopted on the American scene by right wing militarists.)

American military leaders in Iraq have been quoted as saying "we don't do body counts." (Interesting, since even "the mob" does body counts.) The respected British journal The Lancet does do body-counts; they counted the bodies of civilians killed in Iraq. They concluded that there are more than 100,000 civilians deaths, most due to U.S. military action.

President Bush is responsible for those murders because he entered this war without the Declaration of War that the constitution (Article one, Section 8) requires. A cowardly Congress in a week of infamy (October 3-10, 2002) limply handed over their war-declaring rights to him, giving the president open-ended authority to use unrestricted power, which could mean nuclear weapons, whenever he alone deemed it appropriate.

How did those who call themselves "pro-life" respond to this appalling assault on the Constitution and on life. They voted en masse for George W. Bush, the slaughter-master of Iraq, the killer of civilian men, women and children, including pregnant women and their fetuses in a war that Pope John Paul called a "defeat for humanity." Mr. Bush said he saw their vote as an endorsement of his war. He was right. The election was a chance to vote against that war, but, overwhelmingly the so called "pro-life" vote was for war.

Can you understand why we call you liars?

Sister Joan Chittister writes of a front page, large four-color picture in The Irish Times. It showed a small Iraqi girl. "Her little body was a coil of steel. She sat knees up, cowering, screaming madly into the dark night. Her white clothes and spread hands and small tight face were blood-spattered. The blood was the blood of her father and mother, shot through the car window in Tal Afar by American soldiers while she sat beside her parents in the car, her four brothers and sisters in the back seat."

Indifference to this and to all those war crimes like it, on the part of anyone is criminal and sinful in the extreme. Indifference to it by those who canonize themselves with the "pro-life" insignia shown by their recent vote for more of it, is even worse. Such hypocrisy should be called by its name. Its name is fraud. Its name is lying, lying under the very banner of "life."

May 7, 2009 at 11:07 AM  

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