Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) is an organization that exists to help “persecuted” Christians who go to countries where proselytizing is both unsolicited and unwelcome.
Tom White was the executive director of VOM, having worked for the group for some 20 years, until April 17, 2012, when he was reported missing. Cops pinged his cell phone to find him, and did, Wednesday morning, inside a warehouse at VOM’s HQ in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, where he reportedly left a suicide note in his car.
In the United States, one hears bogus cries of “Christian persecution” every day (the annual make-believe “War on Christmas” does not count as “persecution”). If you’re a Christian who really wants to indulge your martyr complex, you’ll have to practice annoying total strangers (also called “spreading the gospel”) in other countries, far, far away, where you can get decapitated or crushed under rocks for shoving your faith down the throats of others (also called “witnessing”). Or, if you survive, you can come back and tell the Catholic bishops what the absence of “religious liberty” really means — and what it doesn’t.
Of course, the solution would be to stop going to countries where you know they’ll kill you for proselytizing, but then, that would defeat the whole purpose of being able to complain about persecution.
On the other hand, Christians are taught to take joy in persecution, so we’re not sure why they don’t welcome the modern-day equivalent of being thrown to the lions. “In any case,” writes one reader in response to an Ed Brayton article and discussion thread that really deserves to be read in full, “to be persecuted and happy does not suggest that one should kvetch about persecution.”
If you still want to experience the masochistic joy of “Christian persecution” without leaving the U.S. (and without any risk to your health, save for possible emotional trauma), you could always join Pennsylvania’s Glad Tidings Assembly of God, and pray they surprise you with a fake terrorist raid.
Why would a devout Christian, in a position of great authority in an organization in which he truly believed, commit The Ultimate Sin, abandoning his wife, his children, and his grandchildren in order to enter the Seventh Circle of Hell?
Only Mr. White knows (er, knew) for sure, but one thing is clear: At the time of his death, he was under investigation for child molestation, accused of sexually abusing a ten-year-old girl.
There’s not much more to tell, other than the details in the links below. Do notice, however, two things: 1) the most fundy Christian and other hardline, right-wing sites soft-peddle the suicide angle, saying that White “passed away” (with the exception of Christianity Today, which isn’t as hardline as some), while the wildly right-wing-fundy Christian Post completely omits any mention of suicide and/or the abuse investigation (but then, CP bids adieu to Watergate felon and rabid homophobe Chuck Colson with “Goodbye, Friend and Hero,” so what do you expect?); and 2) VOM’s statement on the situation is quick to note: “None of those in leadership at VOM, including our Board of Directors, were [sic] aware of these allegations at the time of Tom’s death.” (Why deny something before anybody accuses you of it?)
• “Tom White, Voice of the Martyrs Executive Director, Passes Away,” Christian Post, April 18, 2012
• “Voice of the Martyrs Director, Tom White, Passes Away,” The Church Report (“Christian. Conservative. Concise.”), April 19, 2012
• “Bartlesville Police: ‘Voice Of The Martyrs’ Leader Target Of Investigation Before Death,” NewsOn6.com, April 20, 2012
• “Voice of the Martyrs’ Tom White’s Death an Apparent Suicide Following Molestation Investigation,” Christianity Today, April 20, 2012
• VOM statement on Tom White, April 20, 2012
• “Voice of Martyrs exec Tom White was under investigation for molestation when he was found dead,” Tulsa World, April 21, 2012
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