Christians worldwide refutes an online connection with a militia group accused of
plotting an attack against law enforcement officers.
The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) said its staff did not know
the Hutaree militia group existed or that there was a link to VOM on its Web
site before several Hutaree members were arrested Sunday in a three-state raid.
“We have not had any connection with this organization,”
VOM spokesman Todd Nettleton told Mission Network News. “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.”
Federal investigators claim the Michigan-based Hutaree—which
says its name means “warriors of God”—planned to kill a Michigan law
enforcement officer then ambush the officer’s colleagues at the funeral,
ABC News reported. The Hutaree Web site says the group was “preparing for the
end time battles to keep the testimony of Jesus Christ alive.”
Nine of its members have been indicted in the alleged murder
plot. Eight were arrested Sunday, including leader David Stone. The last,
21-year-old Joshua Stone, surrendered Monday after a standoff with authorities.
VOM said it allows any individual or group to link to its
Web site in order to broaden awareness about the persecution of Christians. But
the group said e.
we understand that all are innocent until proven guilty and wait for
the legal process,
we want to clearly state that
violence is not an acceptable response to religious
differences,” VOM said in a statement. “Our Christian brothers and sisters who
have suffered persecution in Jos, [Nigeria], and other places do not advocate a
violent response; they are not calling us to take up arms or to provide them
with weapons. Instead they offer love and forgiveness to those who attack them,
in the hopes of representing Christ’s love and living out the gospel message.”
Some are using the arrests to suggest that many Christians are terrorists or extreme, which Nettleton sees as an opportunity for believers.
“This is definitely an opportunity for the true followers of
Christ to step forward and say we do not believe in violence, we do not believe
in attacking those who oppose us,” he told Charisma. “So it’s an opporutnity for us to step up as
Christians and live out the example of Christ, which is also the example of our
persecuted brothers and sisters around the world.”
VOM was founded in 1967 by Richard Wurmbrand, who spent 14
years in communist prisons in Romania for preaching the gospel. The ministry
said it seeks to serve the persecuted church through practical and spiritual
assistance, while encouraging Christians in free nations to support them
through prayer and advocacy.