Black Churches Burning Across South, FBI Investigating
1 John 3:10
By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.
I cannot believe that a string of 10 Black churches burning in 10 days is a coincidence. Mount Zion AME church in Greeleyville, S.C. burned just one week after it was featured in an article by the Los Angeles Times covering the long history of violence against black churches in the US.
Ku Klux Klan
It burned again almost 20 years after the first razing when two former members of the KKK were responsible.
Then 37 Black churches burned in the South between 1995 and 1996. Rev. Nelson Rivers worked closely with authorities,
“My prayer is that we’re not having a repeat. But we’re not going to take chances and we are plotting where the churches have burned so far, reaching out to the pastors and the congregations, and?authorities?to see what they think.”
After Mother Emanuel
“As the nation grapples with the massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., one of the oldest Black churches in the South, other Black churches have become recent targets of arson.”
Mark Potok, senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center which tracks extremist activity said,
?It?s no surprise that Black Americans are very worried, and with some reason, that this may be a reaction to all that?s happened in the past couple of weeks.?
The FBI, ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives), state law enforcement divisions, and fire departments are investigating fires at predominately Black churches.
“From slavery and the days of Jim Crow through the civil rights movement and beyond, white supremacists have targeted the Black church because of its importance as a pillar of the Black community, the center for leadership and institution building, education, social and political development and organizing to fight oppression,”
?Vandalism? is deliberate damage to, or destruction of property, while ?arson? is the criminal act of intentionally setting a fire. The FBI determines a fire as a hate crime whether or not the arsonists leave behind a message. It is common practice to consider fires at churches hate crimes.
Arson is suspected in at least three church fires. Tuesday’s fire is the ninth church in the South. Six churches have predominately Black congregations.
Federal investigators track the fires in an arson database looking for trends or similarities.
Church Fires Since The Emanuel AME Shooting
1. SATURDAY, JUNE 20
New Hope Lutheran Church, Brevard, Fla. Arson.?A Melbourne man was charged with first-degree arson inside a structure with people?present.
2. SUNDAY, JUNE 21
College Hill Seventh Day Adventist Church.?Knoxville Tenn. Vandalism. Bales of hay outside the church were set on fire. A church van was damaged.
3. MONDAY, JUNE 22
God’s Power Church of Christ. Macon, Georgia. Investigation underway.
4. TUESDAY, JUNE?23
Fruitland Presbyterian Church. Cause undetermined.
5. WEDNESDAY, JUNE?24
Briar Creek Baptist Church. Charlotte, N.C. Investigation underway, appears to be vandalism. The sanctuary was left untouched.
6. FRIDAY, JUNE 26
Glover Grove Baptist Church. Warrenville, S.C. Investigation underway.
7. FRIDAY, JUNE 26
Greater Miracle Apostolic Holiness Church. Tallahassee, Fla. Electrical fire.
8. MONDAY, JUNE 29
Disciples of Christ Ministries. Jackson, Miss. Electrical fire.
9. TUESDAY, JUNE 30
Mount Zion AME Church.?S.C. Investigation underway. (It burned to the ground 20 years ago and was ruled arson.)
“Strike at the Black church, and you strike at the heart of Black American life.”
In pride the wicked hotly pursue the afflicted; Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised.
These sources were used in researching this article: