Christopher Coleman, the former bodyguard of televangelist Joyce Meyer, has been sentenced to life in prison for killing his family. Many people consider this a fitting punishment for such a horrible crime -- strangling his wife and two young sons in their beds -- and are happy that justice has finally been served.
But others wonder if there should be consequences, too, for Meyer herself. The way they see it: She and her Missouri-based ministry are partly to blame in the chilling murders.
How could Meyer be considered an accomplice in such a crime?
First, there's the issue of her alleged no-divorce policy. It's believed that Coleman was trying to escape his marriage because he wanted to be with his wife's high school friend with whom he'd been having an affair. However, he was afraid that if he divorced his wife, he'd lose his $100,000-a-year job as Meyer's security chief. By murdering his family, he could keep his girlfriend and his job. See? It makes perfect sense.
Then, there's the accusation being leveled at Meyer and her organization that they should have known Coleman was a threat to his family; in fact, the vicims' family filed a wrongful death lawsuit earlier this week claiming this very issue. According to the suit, Coleman had been sending threatening messages to his family from his employer-issued computer and cellphone. Allegedly, some of these emails had been intercepted by the ministry staff. Therefore, as one of the attorneys on the case explained:
This tragic murder would have been preventable if Joyce Meyer Ministries had responded to the threats and the extramarital affair and warned [the wife] appropriately.
In a situation as unspeakably tragic as this one, it's understandable that the victim's family would be vigilant in making sure that all guilty parties were held accountable. But I'm not so sure Meyer is a guilty party in this case. Yes, the business about the emails is fishy. But she's claiming she and the ministry had no knowledge of anything related to the murders -- even of the affair! -- prior to when they occurred. So how could she have prevented them?
At the end of the day, Meyer wasn't the one who killed the family in cold blood -- Coleman was. He deserves all of the blame and then some.
Image via Joyce Meyer