(Oakley, California 5/5/11) The area newspapers accomplished their goal. They set out to destroy a Christian pastor and they succeeded. Pastor Jerry Hanoum who founded Mountain View Christian Center in Oakley, died at 8:30 A.M. yesterday morning (5/4/11) in his truck parked in the driveway of his Brentwood home. A fatal gunshot wound to the head took his life. While his death is listed as "an apparent suicide," further investigations, including an autopsy scheduled for today, will determine that conclusively.
Pastor Hanoum was accused of, and under investigation, for alleged financial improprieties regarding loans and investments made by church members. He was scheduled for a court appearance on May 10th.
The local and area newspapers made the most of the allegations, elaborating on them in three front page stories about his 'character' and a perceived past history which was not clearly defined.
Being a writer/journalist, it is fully agreed that the press has a responsibility to report news of interest. This means pure journalism with facts without attacks. The initial stories were sensationlized versions of the facts that should have been reported responsibly. In this case, they were not.
Pastor Jerry Hanoum, a bigger than life preacher who was boistrous, flamboyant, strong take-charge kind of guy also had a huge tender heart and would do anything for anyone. He helped many people, was generous and wanted everyone to have a better life including financial success which he felt he could achieve for them. He found himself unable to repay the investments. He had bitten off more than he could chew.
His friend and fellow pastor, Dan Helix said that Pastor Jerry was 'a very good person who made some mistakes'. And that is the crux of the matter.
Having a tender heart, he was crushed at the accusations of the hometown papers which were not totally accurate. Pastor Jerry was devastated by the newspaper's portrait of his character and the talk that it generated throughout the area.
The day before it happened, he told this writer, a close friend of his, that he planned to announce his resignation and the resignation of his Board of Trustees at last night's worship service, an announcement he would make again at the Sunday service and then leave. He said that there is no way that the church could continue with all the controversy about him that the newspapers generated and he did not want to see that work end. His resignation, he felt, would allow the church to regroup, rebound and survive, which was his main interest.
He also had a meeting scheduled for yesterday morning. It seemed logical that he would be in his truck, window down, getting ready to go to that meeting. A meeting he never made it to. The outcome was totally unexpected. Hopefully the additional investigations will clear it up.
Suicide, if indeed this is the case, is irreversible. It is a permanent action. For a person to go through with such an act can only be propelled by extreme desperation, a feeling of utter hoplessness with no possible way out….except…..
Note For Christians: Is suicide a sin that will send one to Hell? That is preached from a lot of churches, particularly the Catholic Church. This chaplain says, not necessarily. God considers all things including the desperation that has driven one to a point of, yes, temporary insanity, meaning that you are not in your normal or right mind. God understands and is merciful. And thank God for that. If man were doing the judging, none of us would make it.
Fortunately, God, in His judgments, looks at the heart. And Pastor Jerry Hanoum had the biggest heart of anyone I ever knew… a heart that was breaking. And this writer knows for fact that during this terriible time, he was asking God's forgiveness for his own misjudgments that led to this entire controversy, and he intended and wanted to make it up to everyone concerned.
Jerry Hanoum is dead. Killed by a gunshot wound to the head. The newspapers pulled the trigger that drove him to take this drastic action. Pastor Jerry Hanoum can now rest in peace. It is doubtful that the newspaper editors and writers (who mercilessly went after him) will