7.28.2009

Oakland A+


I have a new name to add to my "Heroes" list. Walter Hoye, an African-American pastor from Oakland, concerned with the high abortion rates among African-Americans in Oakland, began to stand quietly outside an abortion clinic with a sign reading "Jesus loves you and your baby; let us help." Pro-abortion groups started hassling him, City Council passed an ordinance forbidding anyone from coming within eight feet of anyone entering an abortion clinic in order to display a sign or offer literature, and, finally, Hoye was charged for accosting and obstructing people who were trying to enter.

Never mind that there was videotape documenting that Hoye never did any such thing, and that the clinic's own escorts noted that Hoye was never anything besides cordial. The jury still found Hoye guilty, and the judge gave Hoye the choice of probation and a stay-away order or two years in jail. Hoye chose jail.

When his fellow prisoners learned that Hoye actually chose imprisonment over freedom, they flocked around him, and Hoye was able to minister to their spiritual and emotional needs. The magazine article I linked to above recounts one relationship Hoye formed, with a young man whose girlfriend had had an abortion, and to whom Hoye explained how abortions worked as well as how God's forgiveness worked.

Now freed, Hoye, who has been a chaplain in jail before, marvels at the access he had while in jail as an inmate to other inmates. Here is a man of God who is willing to stand up and even be jailed for his beliefs, who is concerned about the effect of abortion on the black community, who was willing to endure scorn and imprisonment for the sake of the gospel, and who took that scorn and imprisonment not as an unfortunate bump in the road but a God-ordained path through which more good could be done. That makes him a hero in my book.
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