Six St. Louis, MO area churches have been set on fire in the last two weeks, and authorities believe the arsonist is racially and/or religiously motivated.
Christian Today reports that the six churches which were set on fire were of different denominations, but five congregations were black, and the sixth was racially mixed.
The first church to be targeted by the arsonist was Bethel Non-denominational Church. This was followed by arson attacks on New Northside Missionary Baptist Church, St. Augustine Catholic Church, New Testament Church of Christ, New Life Missionary Baptist Church, and Ebenezer Lutheran Church.
St. Louis Fire Capt. Garon Mosby stated that “it is arson” and that hate crime “is part of the dynamic” of the attacks.
In each attack, the front doors of the church were set on fire.
A number of the congregations are praying for the yet unknown perpetrator.
"This is a sin issue. It's not a race issue," Rev. David Triggs of New Life Missionary Baptist Church stated. “I have prayed for them. I have forgiven them,” he added. “I don't want the communities to be angry. I don't want the churches to be angry, because it is in these moments that our character is tested."
Michele Brown, business manager at St. Augustine Catholic Church, also mentioned that the church had prayed for the arsonist. "We are upset and we're concerned that there's an individual who, for whatever reason, is sick. We prayed for them Sunday. There's something wrong with someone who would do something like that," she said.
Rev. Rodrick Burton of New Northside stated that there has not been much of an outcry locally concerning the arson attacks.
"Whether you practice faith or you don't, everyone should be very concerned about that. Religious freedom is part of our identity as Americans,” he said.
Publication date: October 22, 2015