Update: To read a statement that VOM posted two days after the April 25th letter from VOM president, Jim Dau wrote, click here. (Note 2020: The original link has been removed by VOM.
As many of you know, Voice of the Martyrs long-time Executive Director, Tom White is suspected of committing suicide last month. On Wednesday, April 25th, 2012, Voice of the Martyrs president, Jim Dau, issued a statement titled: “Heartfelt Letter from VOM’s President on Tom White.” The letter expressed deep sorrow for the untimely suicide death of Tom White. The letter did mention that White took his life after allegations came forth that White “had inappropriate contact with a young girl.” While the letter said that White loved his wife and children and that personnel at VOM were heartbroken, virtually nothing was noted in the letter to express the deep sorrow that should be felt for the alleged 10- year-old victim. When a child is molested, it is a scar he or she will live with the rest of his or her life.
While we can understand that VOM staff and leaders are most likely in a state of shock and despair over Tom White’s apparent suicide and the circumstances surrounding his death, they need to understand that they are being watched right now by millions around the world to see how they will handle this tragic situation. God forbid that they would try to white wash and minimize what Tom White allegedly did. When you have organizations such as the American Psychological Assocation stating that sexual contact with children is OK as long as the child is consenting, and when you have a fallen society, such as America, that says homosexuality is normal and abortion is acceptable, and when you have a society that is filled with pornography from grocery stores to the Internet, Christian believers cannot fall into such a demoralizing evil trap that by its very nature denies God.
Even referring to White’s alleged child abuse as “inappropriate contact with” somehow minimizes such a crime. Using the word “with” can give the impression that there is some sort of mutual agreement. Rather than stating “inappropriate contact with,” it would be better to state “immoral contact against” the girl. We don’t mean to sound picky, but VOM should choose their words very carefully right now, for the sake of their ministry, for the sake of child abuse victims everywhere, and yes, for the sake of the Gospel.
We are not trying to say that the work Tom White participated in for many years at VOM to help persecuted people should be negated. But please, VOM, do not try to make this less than it is. Take this opportunity to humbly apologize to the body of Christ, to the little girl and her family, and to God.
Voice of the Martyrs has, as have most mainstream Christian organizations, been promoting contemplative spirituality and showing signs of being sympathetic toward Catholicism. Wouldn’t this tragedy be a perfect time to get right with God, and in so doing, point the world to the One Who came to save whosoever shall believe on Him?
Perhaps, Jim Dau left out feelings of remorse for the little girl in order to protect VOM financially or legally. But if VOM thinks they will help their organization maintain its integrity and financial strength by writing letters like the one Jim Dau wrote, they are terribly mistaken. Donors will flee by the droves. Humility, repentance, restitution (to the girl and other possible victims), biblical integrity, honesty – these are the qualities that their donors and supporters will be looking for.
Letter to Tom White of Voice of the Martyrs (September 2011 by a LT reader on ecumenism)
Resources on Child Abuse from Lighthouse Trails: