|Transcript of Wayne Bentís Hearing
September 23, 2009, regarding his fast in prison.
Wayne Bent: Since the facts werenít there for the conviction, my trial was essentially a religious trial. This is my point of view. And it seemed like a religious trial from the kinds of questions that were asked me in the trial that had nothing to do with the charge and so I saw in it that.. uhh...something very wrong happened there. And it wasnít just a matter of me not getting what I wanted. And so Iím fasting. Itís a matter of deep conviction. I was actually accused and sentenced for life. The way the sentence read, itís a life sentence for following my religious convictions and this became a great big issue in my mind. And soÖ is it appropriate to talk about Daniel right now?
Attorney: I think we can get to that in a moment.
Wayne Bent: Ok. And I have carried out methodically and communicated with the prison. Iíve gone public about the exact issues that are involved. And it relates to the story of Daniel where the three friends of Daniel, Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego were asked to bow to an image. Well, that image on the plains of Dura was saying, ďI am the true religion. Worship me.Ē And only three... There were a lot of his brethren that bowed the knee. But they said, ďWe canít do that, Nebakanezer, the king. We cannot do that. God will deliver us and if he doesnít we still canít bow the knee to that."
And in my trial I felt there was so many religious implications that we agreed upon would not be brought up. AndÖ but they were brought up and I was not permitted to answer to them. And so there was, it was loaded with religion.
Attorney: If you could explain, ďnot permitted to answer.Ē
Wayne Bent: An offering to the image that convicted me on the grounds that it did and in the spirit that it did, I donít want to bow to the knee of that. So I stated, I could no longer take food from the State, because it represents to me that Iím compromising myself to save myself. Iím going toÖ A lot of my inmate friends told me to do this, "Just go along and save yourself." And the same with Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego. "Go along, just bow on the knee a little bit and youíre off the hook. You go back to work." I couldnít do it, like they couldnít do it.
No, I donít have a death wish. I donít have a suicide wish. But I cannot bow the knee to this image that demands religious respect above the God that I serve. And I think every man has a conscience that he must follow. And no other man has a right to dominate that conscience. Yes, it could mean death to me, just as it was for Danielís three friends.
But all I asked wasÖ I donít have anything in prison, no friends. I donít have anything. And my loved ones have been separated from me. Thatís all Iíve really lived for is the people I love. So Iíve been sentenced to life in prison for that. And all I asked was, "Give me a little time with meals with my family, where they can bring me some food and Iíll eat." Since Aramark wasnít able to keep their commitment to me and provide me with a diet that they said they would, I agreed I'd eat from my family. And I wouldnít have even started a fast and I could have fellowshipped with them and have a little bit of my life back.
Attorney: What...? Can you describe a little bit about what happened with the Aramark food and guided you?
Wayne Bent: In an institution.... I donít think it was intentional, but they just canít do it. They have mass production meals and they forget things on the trays. New people come in. There was one person in Aramark for aÖ who I think came from the farm. For a couple of months, that person fixed my meals and they were pretty good. I got love from the tray. But when the administration at the prison changed, everything fell apart. I got meat trays. I got half trays. I got trays with hardly any food on the at all. I gotÖ But most of the time, it was just missing protein, like beans would be left off.
If God didnít miraculously intervene in some way, I would die, yes.
Attorney: All right. You mentioned an earlier time when your sentence started, where you talked about Airmark bringing you food and you said, ďAramark's got it right.Ē
Wayne Bent: Yes.
Attorney: What did Aramark do to get it right?
Wayne Bent: Well it was that two month period when one particular individual would fix my tray. And they got the tray right, until the administration changed, and then it didnít. And the beans were cooked, not half cooked. And I got the amount of beans that the menu said. And thatís the only protein I would get is the beans and if the beans didnít come, I didnít get any.
Attorney: Get it right again, to get you a vegan vegetarian meal in accordance with the menu, would you cease your fast?
Wayne Bent: No, because I have gone through all the channels numerous times, even met with the warden about my diet. I was assured what was promised me by the warden would be supplied. And it comes for two days and then itís just like you never said anything. Itís all back to the same scenario.
Attorney: Now, if they provided you on a daily consistent basis with a vegan vegetarian diet, you would continue your fast?
Wayne Bent: Yes sir.
Attorney: Did you ever file any written grievances?
- No answer -
Judge: Call your next witness.
Jeff Bent is then called to the stand
as the last witness.