USA (MNN) — Nine members of the
Michigan-based Hutaree Christian militia group face sedition and weapons
According to the U.S. Justice Department, the group was
planning to kill a law enforcement officer, then attack the funeral procession
The group drew much of its cult-like
substance from the events described in the Book of the Revelation and the end times. As a result, according to the
indictment, they seemed to see local and state police as "foot soldiers"
for the federal government, the "New World Order."
The group's name means "Christian Warriors," and they have a martyr's complex. Todd
Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs says, "We have not had any connection with this organization. We
do not have any contact with any member of
this organization. This is simply a situation where they put a link to
us on their Web site."
VOM wants to tell the stories of the
persecuted church, so they have an open
link policy. That doesn't mean, however, that they
endorse the group using the link. In
fact, VOM functions on a different mission from the Hutaree cult. "The Voice of the Martyrs has never
advocated violence. In fact, the Christians that we serve around the world
respond to persecution with forgiveness."
In a release, VOM notes, "While
we understand that all are innocent until proven guilty and wait for results of
the legal process, we want to clearly state that violence is not an acceptable
response to religious differences."
WOM also observes that Christians who
survived the slaughter in Jos, Nigeria do not advocate a violent response; they
are not calling Christians to take up arms or to provide them with weapons. Instead,
they offer love and forgiveness to those who attack them, in the hope of
representing Christ's love and living out the Gospel message.
It is that message that keeps doors
open for communication. One of the ways
VOM invites Christians in the free world into that fellowship is through their Web
site, www.persecution.com. VOM web policy allows any person or group to place a link to persecution.com on
their Web site if they would like to inform others about the persecution of
Such a link does not imply that VOM
has any direct contact or partnership with the owners of the site. VOM policy is
that the ministry does "trade links" to outside ministries or organizations on
As a result of the terrorism
charges and other extremist views being reported on this group, scrutiny is close. As the story unfolds, numerous media reports
are portraying Christians as terrorists.
What does this scenario bode for the
future of Christians sharing or practicing their faith? Nettleton says, "If we live out the
example of Christ, if we live out His love and forgiveness in our communities,
that's what we can control. We can't control what else happens."
The Voice of the Martyrs exists to
provide practical and spiritual support to persecuted Christians in restricted
nations, while inviting Christians in the free world into fellowship with them.
VOM's founder, Richard Wurmbrand, encouraged
Christians to love everyone–even their "enemies"–with the hope that by doing so,
their hearts might be softened toward the Gospel message of Christ. Keep praying for wisdom for believers and a
boldness of faith that speaks the love of God.