Antiabortion protesters jailed over protest at Focus on the Family
The longstanding feud between hard-line abortion foes American Right to Life Action and Focus on the Family founder James Dobson came to a head in a Colorado Springs courtroom Thursday.
Rev. Bob Enyart, a pastor at Denver Bible Church who proudly refers to himself as “America’s most popular self-proclaimed right-wing, religious fanatic, homophobic, anti-choice talk show host” was sentenced to nine days in the city pokey after refusing to pay a $400 fine for trespassing on the Focus campus.
Enyart, his brother Brian and fellow Denver Bible Church pastor Kenneth Scott were convicted May 8 in a one-day trial after the trio staged a Sept. 4 protest in the reception area of the multi-million dollar Christian ministry and publishing empire.
The Enyarts and Scott are longtime fixtures on the national antiabortion protest scene and are loosely connected to violent militia groups. Focus spokeswoman Lisa Anderson asked the judge to consider the safety of ministry employees and visitors when handing down the sentences.
The group’s ongoing beef with Dobson is that he’s not antiabortion enough. After attempting to deliver a letter to Focus president James Daly deploring Dobson’s endorsement of 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain, American Right to Life Action members staged an hour long standoff with ministry security, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.
The trio, who served as their own lawyers throughout the proceedings, complained they were not able to expound on their antiabortion views in their own defense.
The verdict was reached in just 30 minutes, reported the Gazette:
“What was important to the jury was that as a pastor, you’re supposed to obey the word of God,” said jury foreman James Jones. “And the word of God says obey the law of the land.”
To which Bob Enyart responded, “Many of the Apostles and the Lord himself ended up in jail for their beliefs.”
The Gazette also noted that Bob Enyart and Scott donned red T-shirts that read “Jesus is Judge” for Thursday’s sentencing hearing.
A statement following the sentencing was posted on Enyart’s radio show Web site:
Bob Enyart and Ken Scott were ordered to pay fines with no jail time. However, they refused to pay the fines because they did not want to help fund an immoral system. Therefore they were sentenced to 45 days and 60 days respectively minus 30 days suspended sentence. There will also be time off for good behavior which should reduce Bob’s time in jail to approximately 1 week and Ken’s time to roughly 2 weeks. Please pray that Bob and Ken will bear fruit in their full-time, government-funded jail ministry.
Brian Enyart agreed to pay a $100 trespassing fine and avoided a jail sentence.
Judge Spencer A. Gresham warned the defendants that he will increase their fines if they re-offend in the next year.
“This is a passionate crusade for you all,” said the judge. “But you have to make certain you do it in a law-abiding fashion.”
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