GREENSBORO, N.C. — Four pastors, the executive director and city director of a pro-life organization, and its attorney were arrested Monday morning as they were praying distanced apart from each other in restaurant parking lot adjacent to a North Carolina abortion facility. The arrests mark the second since Saturday over Guilford County’s “Stay-at-Home” order, as abortion facilities have continued to operate but small numbers of Christians have not been allowed by police to pray outside of them.
“We came out here to the parking lot as individuals to pray for the most vulnerable among us at the abortion center here in Greensboro,” Love Life Charlotte Executive Director Justin Reeder explained in a Facebook live video following their release.
He said that five of the men, including himself, walked over to A Woman’s Choice of Greensboro as a mobile ultrasound unit was parked nearby offering free help and hope to the women entering. Those operating the unit were also instructed by police to leave.
“It’s a sad day when abortions are deemed essential in our society,” Reeder lamented. “We could have been hanging out at the liquor store this morning [or] we could have been driving our wives here to have abortions and it would have been completely fine [with the police]. We would have had no kickback. Nobody would have been cited for anything.”
“But because we were here in Jesus name offering hope and help to those families there, we were apprehended and we were arrested.”
According to the Greensboro Police Department, besides Reeder, those arrested on Monday were Richard Whittier and John Mcatee of Arlington Baptist Church, Leroy Stokes Jr. of Destiny Christian Center, and Isaiah Burner of Calvary Chapel of Lake Norman, along with Love Life City Director Andre Gonzalez and attorney Jason Oesterreich.
They were initially cited for “traveling for a non-essential function” pursuant to the Stay-at-Home order, and when they remained, they were arrested and charged with “resisting, delaying and obstructing a public officer.” An eighth was also cited but chose to leave.
Reeder and Oesterreich were likewise cited and arrested on Saturday, as was Carl Unbinas, the chief operating officer of Love Life Charlotte. Burner was cited, but was not arrested that day as he agreed to leave.
Reeder said that because Christians were outside the abortion facility, six babies were spared.
“This is essential and vital for us to be at these places,” Reeder declared.
Oesterreich was present as he sought to speak with officers about the county order and to note that Love Life is federally recognized as a charity that offers social services. He had attempted to speak with the lead officer on the phone prior to his visit, but his desire to have a discussion was rebuffed.
Burner outlined in the video that he told the officers who inquired about his presence that he was helping to rescue people who are dying.
“What makes this time an urgent time is that people are scheduled to die today,” he explained. “If no one was scheduled to die today, then there would be no reason to be here. … [But] people were murdered today. That’s just an unfortunate truth. They’re dead already. And we play a part in stopping that.”
“I’m here because we’re living in an unprecedented time in our country today where we are putting everything on halt to save lives — primarily of the elderly — because we believe that the elderly have value. And … not only do we believe the elderly have value, and they do, but the unborn have value as well,” also shared Josh Kappes, pastor of Vertical Life Church in Newton and regional city director of Love Life Charlotte.
“And if we’re leveraging our businesses, we’re levering our finances, we’re leveraging our church gatherings, we’re not having contact with people, we’re keeping social distance to save some that might get sick, why would we not also do the same to save those who we know are going to die?” he asked, noting that babies were scheduled to die that day, either by poisoning or dismemberment.
The pastors cited that there were approximately 20-30 people in the small abortion facility, so there is “no way” the women inside were abiding by social distancing guidelines. But yet it was the Christians, who were spread out more than six feet apart from each other in the parking lot, who were found in violation of the county order and arrested.
“We’ve got people gathering in small rooms in there. If we’re really concerned about it, let’s shut that down,” Reeder opined, “versus shutting down five people who are praying, who are spread out outside … offering help and resources to these families.”
Please visit Christian News Network’s Outlaw Abortion page to help us work to abolish the worldwide holocaust.
4/2/2020: This article has been corrected to note that police stopped the Christians due to the county order, not the statewide order from Gov. Cooper. The name of the abortion facility has also been corrected.