A Mississippi church was burned to the ground in an alleged arson attack, reportedly because someone was upset that they weren’t “social distancing.”
Investigators say they believe an arsonist started the blaze that burnt First Pentecostal Church in Holly Springs to the ground, saying they found the message “Bet you stay home now you hypokrits (sic)” written on the church parking lot near the decimated building.
“We’ve tacked our brains and we have no idea,” Pastor Jerry Waldrop said. “No enemies that we know of. We don’t know anyone that we even think could be capable of doing something like this.”
The church had been embroiled in a legal battle with the local government after they say police officers disrupted their mid-week Bible study and the church’s Easter service and cited them for violating local shutdown orders. Waldrop had filed a lawsuit over the matter back in April, saying he had held his services outdoors when he could but saying he’d moved them indoors – but practiced social distancing – when the weather was bad. The suit alleges the City of Holly Springs had gone too far in prohibiting church services during the COVID-19 outbreak, citing state rules that included churches in their list of “essential businesses.”
Police who cited the church, however, claim the congregation wasn't practicing "social distancing" during their indoor events.
In the meantime, Waldrop said the church plans to rebuild.
“We have a tight group that’s been faithful, so whatever means is necessary, that’s what we’ll do," said Waldrop.