Arsonists Set At Least 3 Black Churches Ablaze In The Last Week

Back in May, during the protests in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray, the TV news media spent countless hours showing footage of a burning CVS, allegedly set on fire by angry looters. The footage served to illustrate what some considered the protest’s “violent turn,” just one of many examples of the news media equating the destruction of property as an example of civil unrest gone “too far,” and reported in manner that suggested a fire-ravaged drug store was on par with, if not worse than, the death of an unarmed Black man at the hands of police officers. There’s nothing the TV news loves more than a burning building (okay, except maybe a car chase), so why then has no one — not MSNBC, not CNN, and certainly not Fox News — spent any significant time whatsoever covering the recent spate of arson attacks on Black churches in the South?

In the week following Dylann Roof’s terror attack on Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church, which left nine Black men and women dead, there have been three confirmed cases of arson on Black churches, and a fourth is being investigated. The FBI has now taken on the investigation into these four fires, though they say that there is not yet evidence that connects them. According to Raw Story:

On Monday, someone set fire to College Hills Seventh Day Adventist Church in Tennessee, according to local WATE. The arsonist placed bales of hay outside the church doors and lit them ablaze, fire officials told the station. They also burned the church van.

On Tuesday, God’s Power Church of Christ in Georgia was intentionally set on fire, authorities told ABC News. Electronics and other equipment were also stolen in the early morning fire. Authorities told reporters there is “no evidence” of a hate crime.

On Wednesday, Briar Creek Baptist Church in North Carolina burned in the middle of the night, causing $250,000 in damage, NBC News reports. Authorities are investigating whether the intentional blaze was a hate crime. It took 75 firefighters to bring it under control.

On Friday, Glover Grove Missionary Baptist Church in South Carolina, was virtually destroyed in an overnight blaze, the Aiken Standard reports. While the cause of the fire is still under investigation, the FBI has been called in.

Three churches being set on fire in quick succession seems newsworthy all on its own to me, but it’s especially so when you consider that they all have Black congregations, and attacks on Black churches have major historical significance. Then, of course, there’s the obvious connection that can be made between these arson attacks and the racist motivation behind Roof’s mass killing (he said he wanted to start a “race war”), not to mention all of the hullabaloo surrounding the Confederate flag in recent days. Racist Confederate flag defenders are incensed that their beloved symbol of white supremacy may be taken down from its perch on South Carolina’s capitol grounds, not to mention be removed from other government emblems in the region. (Retailers have also given in to pressure, with Amazon and Walmart both removing Confederate flag related items from their websites.)

Determined to hold on to their “heritage,” these stars-and-bars diehards are not going down without a fight, staging protests that will no doubt bring their grandchildren and great-grandchildren great shame. And you can be sure that the worst among them are willing to go much further – Roof certainly did. According to Raw Story:

The Ku Klux Klan has ramped up recruiting activity in the days since the Charleston shooting. Residents in California, Kansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and Georgia woke last weekend to find bags in their lawns filled with candy and Klan flyers seeking new members.

So when will the TV news finally get around to giving this story the attention it deserves, which goes well beyond what they gave to a Baltimore CVS? Time is a-tickin’…

[Raw Story]