Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Re-Sentencing of Walter Hoye

Heroic Oakland Pastor Walter Hoye is scheduled to be in court tomorrow for a re-sentencing hearing for the crime of asserting his First Amendment right to free speech.

Our friend Bill May of Catholics for the Common Good fills us in on the details:

Last month, over 100 people came to support Rev. Walter Hoye and his wife, Lori, as he faced sentencing at the Alameda County Courthouse in Oakland, CA for an unjust conviction related to his peaceful Christian witness in front of a local abortion clinic. Now, they need your support again as he goes back for re-sentencing at 2 PM on Friday, March 20.

Last month, Rev. Hoye refused to accept the terms of probation that the judge tried to impose, which included giving up his first amendment rights for 3 years within 100 yards of the clinic where he was arrested. Since then, Rev. Hoye has been back to the clinic continuing his witness while complying with all local ordinances.

In a letter following the first sentencing hearing, Reverend Hoye wrote:

"Starting at one hundred (100) feet my 1st Amendment right that assures my freedom of speech is taken away. “Harassment” is defined as “counseling” and “counseling” is defined as having a conversation, displaying a sign and/or handing out literature.

This is an unjust law that does not apply to doctors, nurses, employees and volunteers who have the consent of the abortion clinic.

Since my viewpoint on the subject of infanticide (i.e., I believe life begins at conception) is different than those who endorsed this unjust law, I do not have the consent of the abortion clinic to hold a sign, engage in conversation and hand out literature to those seeking to terminate the life of their child.

In other words, I am not a part of the “protected class” of United States citizenry as defined by the Oakland City Council.
According to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, Tuesday, April 16th, 1963, "Letter from a Birmingham Jail” … “An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself...."

Bill May's letter continues:

When he returns to court this week, the Judge could either propose more reasonable terms of probation or could order Rev. Hoye jailed for up to 2 years and fined up to $4,000. This case continues to draw national attention. (And international attention--it has been covered in Poland, the Netherlands, and Spain).

Rev. Hoye's crime was standing outside of an abortion clinic with the sign reading "Jesus [God] loves you and your baby. Let us help you." If you are unfamiliar with Rev. Hoye's arrest and conviction, please read the background and see a video of his activities at the abortion clinic.

This is again a time for an expression of Christian solidarity with him and the unborn. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, please make every effort to help pack the court house on Friday to offer silent prayer and support. Ask friends to join you.

Arrive at the court house by 1 PM to allow time to get through security. For those who are not able to fit into the court room, please remain in the hallway outside in silent prayer. Please no signs. We must be quiet, dignified, and respectful at all times. A press conference will be held after the sentencing -- probably outside of the main entrance. Just follow the crowd.

Friday, March 20, 2009, 1 PM (Re-sentencing at 2 PM)
Judge Hing's Courtroom, Department 109, 5th Floor
661 Washington Street (at 7th Street), Oakland

Six blocks from the 12th Street BART Station (Daly City-Millbrae/Richmond, SFO/Pittsburg, and Freemont/Richmond Lines)

For those who cannot make it, please pray for Walter, for his wife, Lori, and for Judge Stuart Hing.
Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

1 comment:

Julian D. Woodruff said...

1) I don't understand why there are no comments!
2) Rev. Hoye is a national hero, a worthy successor to ML King, C Chavez, & R Parks. Even greater , perhaps, because, while he has not (yet) suffered to the extent that those did, his cause is more basic, and his comportment meeker, betokening that of the Christ, the author of life.