Murder in Lebanon: Are Falwell and Robertson to blame?
More details are emerging about the death of the American missionary killed in Lebanon yesterday, although such key facts as her actual name are still disputed (some, such as Reuters, say Weatherall; others, like the Associated Press, say Penner. The Oregonian—probably the best source so far—says her name is Bonnie Penner Witherall).
Witherall and her husband, Gary, had been in Lebanon for two years with Operation Mobilization and the Christian and Missionary Alliance. "They were there to help people," OM president Rick Hicks told the Oregonian. "I don't know what the situation was, but it's tragic."
So far, her widower's most extensive interview appears in The Times of London. "God led us to Lebanon and we knew that we might die," Gary Witherall told the paper. "I forgive anyone who did that. It doesn't take the pain. It's a costly forgiveness … it cost my wife. I believe that … Jesus died for us, for our sins, and it was the blood of Bonnie poured over the clinic for the Palestinian women of southern Lebanon. Her brains were blown out, you know. She loved those women."
He says the two of them had a "really lovely marriage," and that his wife "absolutely, absolutely" would have forgiven her killer. "We don't care about the politics,' he said. We just wanted to put our arms around people and say 'Hey, you know what? There's hope'. The people of southern Lebanon are poor and suffering."
Meanwhile, other friends and family members are sharing recent e-mail messages sent from Witherall. "Every morning I take a walk along the boardwalk here in Saida," she wrote Sunday to Bill Perkins, a Portland-area pastor who married the couple. "I was listening to music and walking and ...1
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