Four men were arrested outside a Greensboro, N.C., abortion clinic on Saturday. Their alleged crime? Praying in public while the county is under a stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus pandemic
Several members of a group called Love Life, which is dedicated to praying to end the sin and tragedy of abortion, say they were detained and later arrested by Greensboro police after they gathered near an abortion clinic called “A Woman’s Choice” to “pray in defense of the defenseless and minister (offering hope and help in Jesus name) to at-risk mothers and fathers.” The group conducts weekly prayer walks in a number of cities, incluidng Charlotte, Greensboro, and Raleigh, N.C., and New York City.
According to a post on the group’s Facebook page:
Individual prayer walkers were out that morning and were told to leave and threatened with arrest. Upon hearing this, Justin Reeder, the LOVE LIFE founder, and its lawyer, who were both ministering in Charlotte, went to Greensboro to provide additional prayer and ministry support. LOVE LIFE’s lawyer also went for the purpose of working with law enforcement to show that, as a religious non-profit (recognized by the federal government) providing social services etc., LOVE LIFE is an “Organization that provides charitable and social services” and therefore, pursuant to several provisions of the Guilford County proclamation, not to mention the Constitution, LOVE LIFE is expressly permitted to continue prayer and ministry. LOVE LIFE’s lawyer even called the lead law enforcement officer on the trip to Greensboro and the officer refused to even discuss the ordinance with LOVE LIFE’s lawyer. Upon walking up to the abortion clinic, Justin Reeder, LOVE LIFE’s lawyer, and another minister were immediately confronted by between six to eight police cars and cited and arrested. The law enforcement officers refused to have any type of discussion about the provisions of the Guilford County proclamation.
Jason Oesterreich, 42 of Locust (Stanly County), Justin Reeder, 34 of Huntersville, Carl Ubinas, 52 of Mooresville, N.C and Isaiah Burner, 23 of Statesville, were cited and charged under the Stay At Home order.
Mr. Oesterreich, Mr. Reeder, and Mr. Ubinas were arrested and charged with one count each of Resist Delay Obstruct Public Officer.
The charges count as a second-class misdemeanor, according to Greensboro police.
Prior to Saturday’s prayer walk, the group posted a notice on its website saying that while they would not gather together to pray as planned, attendees were encouraged to pray separately in compliance with the CDC’s social distancing guidelines.
At around the 3:20 mark in the video below, you can see officers approach the men and order them back to their vehicles. “You can choose to comply with what I’m telling you or you’re going to be charged,” one officer says. “Right now I’ve given you a command to leave this location.”
“We must obey the rule of God and not of man,” one of the prayer warriors countered.
“I am going to continue to stay out here pursuant to the Guilford County ordinance,” said another.
Police then ordered the men to sit on the curb and to cease videotaping.
On the Ground at the Greensboro Abortion Center—Have Received Some Push Back.
Posted by Love Life on Saturday, March 28, 2020
The proclamation, issued by Guilford County on Friday, allows residents to engage in outdoor activity, “provided the individuals comply with Social Distancing Requirements, as defined herein, such as, by way of example and without limitation, walking, hiking, golfing, running, cycling, or using the greenways. Individuals may go to public parks and open outdoor recreation areas.” It also includes an exemption for Human Services Operations, which the proclamation said “shall be construed broadly to avoid any impacts to the delivery of human services, broadly defined.”
Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, also issued an order on Friday, saying that local governments were not doing enough to stop the spread of the virus. That order does not go into effect until Monday. According to a spokesperson from the governor’s office, the murder of unborn children is deemed an essential service.
Love Life claims that they were not in violation of the proclamation because they are a federally recognized social services organization. Greensboro Police Department did not respond to a request for comment.
Despite the fact that Guilford County has only seen one person test positive for COVID-19, the Greensboro Police Department has begun hauling Christians off the streets for praying in front of an abortion mill that the government has deemed “essential” during the pandemic.
“At least 20 children were brought to that abortion center to be murdered today,” Love Life wrote on Facebook. “Sadly, abortions are now on the rise during the last two weeks, since the new restrictions. If children are continuing to be murdered in these abortion centers, the Church must be present. Because the Church was present at the abortion centers in NYC and Charlotte this morning, at least 6 children’s lives were saved. We have a biblical mandate to protect those being led to the slaughter, even if we have to lay our lives down to do so. ”
“Abortion centers remain open for business as usual,” the group said. “There were over 20 women and children packed into that very small building in Greensboro which has to have a very small waiting room. It seems apparent that these women and children were permitted to be in close proximity with one another, against CDC guidelines, and puts them at risk for infection. If they are truly concerned about these women not getting COVID-19, why have they not shut down the abortion centers? Instead, people who are peacefully praying and practicing social distancing are getting arrested. It’s time to have eyes to see, Church.”
It’s nothing short of ghoulish that doctors and clinicians are allowed to continue killing and dismembering helpless babies while Christians who are peacefully praying for the innocent children and their mothers are rounded up and taken into custody. While there have been three deaths in North Carolina associated with COVID-19 thus far, an average of 73 babies die each day at the hands of abortionists. Where are the proclamations and declarations of emergency over those deaths?
“Until the doors of abortion centers are closed, we are encouraging and challenging The Church and all Christians across this nation to start prayer walking individually at their local abortion centers where innocent lives are being taken. Let’s be diligent to practice social distancing while we prayer walk,” Love Life said.
While I understand the need for social distancing during a time of pandemic—and we should do our best to help stop the spread of the virus out of love for our neighbors—governors and public health officials are going too far in depriving Americans of their constitutional rights, including the right to pray and worship. Such draconian orders are forcing Christians and other people of faith to choose between obeying the government and the dictates of their faith and conscience. Christians are commanded to obey civil authorities, so long as they’re not being ordered to disregard commands in scripture, such as the admonition in Hebrews: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
To be clear, God hears the prayers of his people wherever they are, and there is no mandate in scripture to pray on city sidewalks. But our rights to peaceably assemble and to speak freely in public are being infringed by state and local governments coast to coast. While for the most part, Christians are complying with the orders not to gather, with many streaming their church services online, it’s probably only a matter of time before some (many?) congregations decide they can no longer obey these unconstitutional orders.
Will we see more Christians dragged off the streets and hauled to jail for choosing to obey God? That’s not inconceivable. Nothing is at this point.
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