For some time, a Mississippi church has been defying government orders to keep lockdown rules in place in order to hold services as is its constitutional right to do so. However, one arsonist took it into his own hands to make churchgoers suffer for practicing said rights.
According to Fox News, the Holly Springs church was burned down on Wednesday, and while police are investigating it as an arson, the arsonist left a message for churchgoers with spraypaint:
The First Pentecostal Church of Holly Springs in Mississippi burned down early Wednesday morning. The congregation had been in a legal battle to continue holding services despite the novel coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown orders.
The building went up in flames between 2-4 a.m. Investigators said the church was spray-painted with graffiti before an explosion blew out the front of the building, according to Fox 13. Maj. Kelly McMillian of the Marshall Count Sheriff’s Department confirmed the fire to be a criminal act of arson.
Thomas More Society senior counsel and lawyer for the church, Stephen Crampton, spoke with Fox News about the fire and said the perpetrators spray-painted a message that read, “I Bet you stay home now you hypokrits.”
Crampton noted that churches all over the nation have put targets on their backs thanks to their firm stance on practicing their right to freedom of religion.
“We’re in a time where I don’t think it’s any secret that there’s a growing hostility toward churches, across the board,” Crampton said. “And now, here are churches like First Pentecostal that are sort of stirring up the waters by being outspoken and somewhat firm about seeking to protect their Constitutional rights.”
He added, “They’ve had bad comments [sent their way] on social media. … There is just a segment that takes issue with the church standing up, and the church just being the church.”
Fox News reported that the church had been in a longstanding battle with local politicians for its right to open. The city had previously granted them the ability to do “drive-thru” services but this was seen as a massive violation of constitutional rights by the parishioners. As such, the church began taking the matter to higher courts and was expected to hear a ruling by Friday. Sadly, the church was burned down before the ruling could come through.
Knowing church congregations, a burned down church is likely not going to stop them from gathering to worship.