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Mississippi church fighting coronavirus restrictions burned to the ground

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said he’s “heartbroken and furious” after a fire this week at a church that has challenged coronavirus restrictions. The fire is being investigated as arson.

The fire Wednesday in Holly Springs destroyed the First Pentecostal Church, and investigators found graffiti in the church parking lot that reads, “Bet you stay home now you hypokrits,” NBC affiliate WMC of Memphis reported.

The church was “burned to the ground” and had been trying to open services, Reeves tweeted Thursday.

First Pentecostal filed a lawsuit last month against the city over its public health order on in-person worship services, the station reported

I am heartbroken and furious. In Mississippi, a church was just burned to the ground. They had been trying to open services. There was graffiti on the lot which read “Bet you stay home now you hypocrites.” 

ensure that this investigation is done and that it is completed,” Reeves said. “But if this is in fact what it looks like, I want you to know that we’re going to do everything in our power to find whomever burned this church down.Stephen Crampton, attorney for the church, told WMC that he has no doubt that the fire was connected to the lawsuit.”To find that that graffiti is spray painted in there — ‘I bet you stay home now, you hypocrites,’ right — seems very clearly directed at this particular lawsuit and the church’s stand for its own Constitutional rights,” he said.The lawsuit deals with alleged police disruption of a Bible study and Easter service.

Holly Springs City Attorney Shirley Byers said the church was issued a violation on April 10 after about 40 people had gathered inside and were not social distancing. The city amended its local order in late April to allow drive-thru church services. The lawsuit says social distancing is practiced inside and that services are held indoor only when weather prohibits outdoor services

Embers from the remains of the First Pentecostal Church smolder in Holly Springs, Miss., Wednesday, May 20, 2020.Kelly McMillen / Marshall County Sheriff’s Office via AP

Reeves has never outright prohibited worship services and has classified places like churches as “essential” in state stay-at-home orders.

But, he has encouraged churches to use alternatives like online and parking lot services.

Earlier this week, Reeves released guidance on resuming in-person faith gatherings, which include cleaning and disinfection, holding separate services for vulnerable populations and creating a 6-foot buffer between household groups.

Holly Springs is a community of around 7,600 in the northern part of the state near the Tennessee border, a little more than 40 miles southeast of Memphis.

Mississippi has begun reopening other parts of its economy and activities. On Tuesday, Reeves signed an order allowing places that include tattoo parlors and dance studios to reopen

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8 Comments on this post.
  • Kenneth Bottomley
    23 May 2020 at 4:13 pm
    Leave a Reply

    Devils disciples at work, people need to wake up and smell the coffee, read the last book of the bible ( TRIBULATIONS ) it’s all their, everything godly is being attacked and, sin parades down the streets without any repercussions…..

  • Tom
    23 May 2020 at 4:15 pm
    Leave a Reply

    This demonstrates exactly where the Democratic Party has come. To be a Democrat today you must believe in enormous government. A government that controls EVERYTHING. They will tell you ‘We are not against religion!’ No they are not because they have gone far beyond opposing religion. THEY OPPOSE CONGREGATION. Their enormous government can not STOP one person talking to another to another and THAT may allow ANTI-GOVERNMENT talk. Never vote for this evil group of criminals.

  • Francis Mazzarella
    23 May 2020 at 4:45 pm
    Leave a Reply

    These rat bastard Gov’s and mayors that think that social distancing is a law should check out the Constitution. As I see it, the worthless CDC only suggests these stupid ideas as long with the idea that masks help. A bunch of HS
    People should burn down City Hall and the Gov’s mansion in response to their orders against our Civil Rights. Time to stop screwing around with these sod called officials. Get a rope.

  • Keith Hein
    23 May 2020 at 5:08 pm
    Leave a Reply

    Its ok… Devine intervention is on its way… starting with Donald John TRUMP!!!
    USA!!!🇺🇲
    USA!!!🇺🇲
    USA!!!🇺🇲

  • Cecil
    23 May 2020 at 5:17 pm
    Leave a Reply

    I want everyone to be able to worship God as they choose. For a church to want to fill the pews with no regard to social distancing is totally irresponsible . I guess money in the basket is worth the risk. Church feels well mostly older people die and many have left the church in their will. They just get it in a lump sum instead of so much a week.

  • Jerry
    23 May 2020 at 6:38 pm
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    Looks like the Deep South is up to its old tricks of targeting churches to be burnt down again. Most likely the KKK will be blamed for it especially if it was a Black members church. Elsewise if it’s the good ol boys threatening and scaring the people like they used to do with the local sheriff having total control and locking people up on the work farm with chain gang labor, then it figures. And if Mississippi is Democrat controlled then it makes things much worse. They have a history of doing this sort of stuff dating way back before the Civil War ever started and not a whole lot of things have ever changed. We will just have to wait and see what transpires but don’t hold your breath for a positive outcome.

    • Beverly Murray
      24 May 2020 at 6:23 pm
      Leave a Reply

      This happened in North MS. I live in South MS and we don’t like this. We have a Republican governor and many, many of us vote Republican! This kind of thing makes me sick and was surely done by a sick person and I hope he or she is caught and punished. It’s a product of ignorance and hate! It gives the state a bad name! We are trying to overcome our bad history. We have many good people here.

  • florida bob
    24 May 2020 at 5:05 pm
    Leave a Reply

    Joe Biden did it but he doesn’t remember.

  • Leave a Reply

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