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Just a few weeks after Christians were singled out and massacred in Roseburg Oregon, once again Christians are being targeted because of their faith.
An arsonist targeted a seventh St. Louis-area church Thursday — the latest in a series of fires set in mostly black neighborhoods in recent days.
In each case, the fire was set at an exterior door and when no one was at the facility, according to a joint statement from the St. Louis Police and Fire Departments and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
“We believe that this fire-setting activity is meant to send a message,” the statement said. It didn’t specify what the message was.
The fires were set over 11 days. At least six were at predominantly black churches, KMOV reported.
St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson said the latest fire occurred at the Shrine of St. Joseph Catholic Church early Thursday.
The New Northside Missionary Baptist Church was an earlier target for arson. The fire department put out a fire at that church’s front door.
“I was very thankful in that the potential for more damage was there,” the Rev. Roderick Burton told reporter Brooke Baldwin.
“Our biggest concern is for whomever is doing this. We want them to get help. We want them to stop absolutely, and I think people would like to know what is the motivation behind it,” he said.
The Rev. Earl Nance Jr. described the fires as a travesty.
Although his Greater Mount Carmel Baptist Church wasn’t among the churches targeted, he said, “When this kind of thing happens to one or more of our churches we must all come together.”
Authorities are investigating, but haven’t determined if the fires are connected.
“If you have observed anyone who has recently expressed anger or frustration with our religious community or with these particular churches, we ask that you contact us,” the statement said. “If you have noticed anyone or anything suspicious or unusual in the areas near the churches please contact us.”
Rewards totaling $9,000 are being offered, KMOV reported.
But I know the Lord will help those they persecute; he will give justice to the poor.