Scenes from the Abortion Wars

Two recent episodes in the abortion wars are worth recounting here. Both demonstrate the importance of pro-life resistance to the culture of death. The first is a bittersweet story, in which the pro-death camp thought it had the upper hand, but it turned out to be a good news story for the pro-life movement.

Black Baptist pastor Walter Hoye spent 19 days recently in a jail near Oakland, California. His crime? Seeking to prevent the slaughter of the innocents by standing up for the unborn. As World Magazine reports, Hoye was sentenced “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’.”

The story of his incarceration is discussed: “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!’”

Conditions were far from ideal, but Hoye was willing to stand up for his convictions. But the story gets even better. Hoye was able to share the Gospel with fellow inmates, as well as tell them the truth about abortion: “‘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’.”

The story concludes, “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’.”

Notre Dame

The second story involves the ongoing saga at the University of Notre Dame, and its decision to feature pro-abortion President Obama at its May commencement address, and to present him with an award. This Catholic University has been roundly condemned by pro-life Catholics for its betrayal of Christian principles.

As bad as the Notre Dame decision is to feature the extremely pro-death Obama, the good news is there has been a very strong response from many Catholics on this. Let me provide an update on the pro-life fight back thus far. A number of leading Catholics have condemned the decision, and so far 48 Catholic Bishops and Archbishops have publically expressed their disapproval of the decision.

Another pro-life group has announced that at the moment Notre Dame has lost over $8.2 million in withheld donations, because of its Obama stance. According to the prolife website (referring to the Notre Dame president Fr. John Jenkins), an online effort urging alumni and donors to the University of Notre Dame to withhold donations has proven hugely successful.

And in another blow to the beleaguered university, an award that was to be given to a leading Catholic laywoman has been declined. Pro-family and pro-life academic Mary Ann Glendon was set to receive the University of Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal at the May 17 commencement. But the former United States ambassador to the Vatican has written to the University president saying that she will not attend the ceremony and will not accept the award.

This is a part of her public letter: “First, as a longtime consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I could not help but be dismayed by the news that Notre Dame also planned to award the president an honorary degree. This, as you must know, was in disregard of the U.S. bishops’ express request of 2004 that Catholic institutions ‘should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles’ and that such persons ‘should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.’ That request, which in no way seeks to control or interfere with an institution’s freedom to invite and engage in serious debate with whomever it wishes, seems to me so reasonable that I am at a loss to understand why a Catholic university should disrespect it.

“A commencement, however, is supposed to be a joyous day for the graduates and their families. It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame’s decision – in disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishops – to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church’s position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice.”

Also, prolife activist Randall Terry sent a letter to the alumni of Notre Dame, which included these words: “I know that some cautious souls fear ‘strident’ rhetoric, or ‘controversial’ images. I ask those friends to remember the Gospels: remember Jesus turning over tables; chasing people with a whip; calling Pharisees the children of hell, a brood of vipers, white washed tombs, and sons of the devil.

“In considering an appropriate response to killing babies and hurting mothers, remember Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Nathan, and other prophets – who rebuked kings and priests – who fearlessly condemned child-sacrifice in their day. They used rhetoric and images equal to the crimes they condemned. Shouldn’t we follow their example? Are we above them? Or do we and our leaders have an unholy attachment to our ‘reputation’ and ‘dignity’ that shackles and muzzles us?

“In the fight to end slavery, Frederick Douglass said, ‘It is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced’.”

It is encouraging to see the actions of prolifers, whether individuals like Pastor Hoye suffering quietly in prison for his beliefs, or the concerted effort at group activism over the Obama scandal. There is hope yet, when concerned and committed men and women stand up and let their voices be heard. May their actions inspire us to never give up.

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17 Replies to “Scenes from the Abortion Wars”

  1. Thank you for these wonderful stories about people standing up for what they believe. May God bless them abundantly!!
    Teresa Binder

  2. I follow the news on the lifesitenews that Bill lists and I am greatly moved and encouraged by the stand of those behind this site. I am humbled by the courage of the Catholic bishops and the Pope who have taken every opportunity to speak publicly for life and biblical values in the face of mockery and vicious criticism. I am moved by the actions of this Baptist pastor. Thank you Bill for writing on this.
    Tas Walker

  3. Please don’t forget our Graham Preston who has spent much more than 19 days in Queensland jails for standing up for the unborn at the Greenslopes abortion mill and who would not agree to a plea bargain that required him to promise not to do it again. Google “Graham Preston abortion” to find out more about our Aussie hero, although there seems to be precious little about his latest brushes with the law.
    Tas Walker

  4. Thanks for sharing that Bill,
    Seeing the grace and providence of God in Pastor Hoye’s case was very encouraging. It reminds me of Joseph – the Lord used the hardship experienced and Pastor Hoye’s faithfulness for His own glory.
    It’s encouraging to remember God’s sovereignty in times such as those, and see the ways that He uses them to do more wonderful things than we can imagine.
    Isaac Overton

  5. Scandalous! Extremely Pro-Death! Desperate times, desperate measures, Bill.
    Murray Bentham

  6. It’s time that the Church started to agree with God in regard to the plight of the unborn. The absence of Church leaders at the Pro Life rallies last October was pathetic. We have a strategic opportunity to end Brumby’s bloodsoaked reign in 2010 and Churches must be a key factor in this. God bless us all in this conviction.
    Anthony McGregor

  7. One should not be surprised that church leaders are not interested in standing up and being counted in the war against the unborn as they are not even interested in evangelism.

    I called all the church leaders together in the town where I live and presented them with a paper on united evagelistic action. Their response was “go away, we run things around here” after admitting that in the last 12 months all eight churches between them could only muster three conversions.

    I did the same with the leaders of the church in the town where the church I attend is and their response was “We are too busy running our churches. We don’t have time for evangelism.”

    When the church becomes a social club which is what it is in most cases, it is not the church. It is an invention of man and run by him for his own self gratification. That is why most churches provide entertainment not discipleship.

    If anyone is putting his faith in man made institutionalised religion they are going to be disappointed as the church is not organisations and buildings and ritual, it is people full of the Holy Spirit doing exploits for God as they did in the Book of Acts.

    In most churches God and the Holy Spirit don’t get a look in. There is a quaint little story about a poor woman that turned up at a church and asked to be baptised and become a member. The pastor wasn’t too keen as she did not fit the image of the church so he told her to go away and think about it. She came back again and repeated her request. Again she was turned away and told to reconsider. She came back again and said that she no longer wanted to join the church. The pastor was relieved and asked her why. She said that whilst she was praying about the situation God said to her not to bother as he had been trying for years to get a look in.

    Roger Marks

  8. Bill,

    Each country has its Conference of Catholic Bishops. So if you check the website for “United States Conference of Catholic Bishops” you will find in the section titled “Bishops” the names of all the Bishops in the USA listed in alphabetical order. But I’ll let you do the counting on this occasion.

    John FG McMahon

  9. Thanks John

    But hey, don’t I already have enough work to do!? Seriously though, thanks for the tip. I copied the list from the website, pasted it into Word, and did a count of paragraphs, and it seems to be around 450 names. So that means only about one tenth have so far come out publically on this. Where are the other 90 per cent?

    Thanks again for providing the answer – or the path to the answer! If someone wants to do an actual count of names, here is the link to the list:

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  10. “Where are the other 90%?” Now, Bill, the answer is evident. So many Clergy are now caught up in “Liberation theology”, feminist agendas and the politics of today. Take for example the case of St Mary’s in South Brisbane. Archbishop Bathersby admitted that he believed in what “Father” Kennedy was doing but he, Bathersby, was forced to do what he had to do. So Bathersby agrees with Kennedy that Jesus wasn’t God etc. I suspect about 90-95% of the Clergy are Labor Party supporters if not members. Pope Bennedict has said that the Church should get smaller; in words jettison those such as Bathersby, Kennedy, Geofrrey Robinson and so many of their ilk who are Catholic in name only, not in preaching and living the Word of God.

    There is a Priest on the Sunshine Coast who organized a petition against the Israelis earlier this year but is unable to find the energy nor the time to organize a petition against abortion. In fact he took the trouble of contacting the media over the petition against Israel and had a photograph of himself together with his story in the local newspaper as well as the Courier Mail.

    But I plod on with my precious Catholic Faith because these words ring in my ears: “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of this world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

    John FG McMahon

  11. Thanks for the article Bill. We don’t often hear about our brothers and sisters in the Lord making a strong stand for what is morally right, particularly being prepared to go to jail for the unborn (as pastor Walter Hoye diid). So it’s encouraging to hear of these stories. I also concur with earlier comments by Tas Walker regarding Queenslander Graham Preston. Graham and his wife Liz (and their family) are real gems – Christian heroes in the true sense, for their amazing perseverance, personal and economic sacrifice (as Graham has spent many a long months in prison) for standing up for the unborn.
    Trevor Grace (SA)

  12. Most currently everyone is talking about the “swine-flu” with the capacity to kill many, many thousands of people. However God would say to us, what about my babies slaughted every day without even the slightest of fuss!
    Jane Byrne

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