Ralph Ovadal, the pastor of Pilgrims Covenant Church, is often accused of being a "criminal with a rap sheet." These accusations are thrown around by individuals who hate the
Word of God and hate those who defend it. The reality is that from November of 1988 until May of 1992, Pastor Ovadal was arrested a number of times for blocking the entrances of abortion clinics with his own body. This he did along with
others in a completely nonviolent fashion for the purpose of saving unborn life and making the issue of unborn child killing one which the nation could not ignore. In both regards, the rescuers were extremely
successful, although viewed in retrospect, the ecumenical nature of the
overall movement was entirely wrong (see More
Than These). During his participation in the "rescue
movement," Pastor was arrested approximately 130 times in Wisconsin and around the nation. Most of these arrests were under city ordinances such as trespass or disorderly
conduct; a few of the arrests resulted in state charges. Due to his decision to obey a higher law and interpose for the innocent, Pastor lost his
driver's license for
ten years. It has since been ruled by the Wisconsin Supreme Court unconstitutional to take a
driver's license away for non-driving offenses. Pastor Ovadal also spent a considerable amount of time in jail and had thousands of dollars in liens put on his property. But again, none of this was for any violence of any kind but rather to stop the violence of abortion.
Pastor Ovadal has also been unjustly arrested a number of times for preaching and for other
First Amendment activity covered by the US Constitution. In most of these cases, the charges have either been dismissed prior to trial or Pastor was found innocent at the end of the trial. In a number of other cases, the charges were dropped after successful
federal lawsuits were filed such as Ovadal v. Elkhorn and Ovadal v. Monroe.
Over the years, Pastor Ovadal has sought to avoid arrest whenever possible and has never been arrested in his life for anything violent or for anything except ministry work. He has the highest regard for police officers and has many friends who wear the badge. He also teaches and preaches that we are to obey the civil authorities as "powers . . . ordained of God" so long as the commands of those authorities do not conflict with the clear commands of God.