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A Mississippi church in the midst of a legal battle against local shutdown orders was burned to the ground early Wednesday morning. Graffiti found at the scene seem to indicate the intention of the suspected arson was to keep the church closed. “I Bet you stay home now you hypokrits,” one spray-painted message read.
First Pentecostal Church of Holly Spring has been holding drive-in church since the lockdowns began. In April, the church’s pastor of 31-years, Jerry Waldrop, filed a lawsuit claiming the city’s stay-at-home orders contradicted the governor’s orders and violated their constitutional rights in doing so. The church wanted the option of practicing social distancing indoors, especially during inclement weather.
‘Bet You Stay Home Now Hypokrits’: Church That Refused To Close During Lockdown Gets Burned Down, Investigated As Arson
“The 14-page document claims local police officers disrupted a mid-week bible study and the church’s Easter service 10 days prior,” reported WLBT 3.
The complaint says Waldrop “held outdoor services when possible but would hold them indoors while practicing social distancing during inclement weather,” the report noted, adding that the pastor “asked for a temporary restraining order to keep the City from preventing services inside the church building.”
“It is very clear local municipalities can have guidelines that are more strict than the governor’s guidelines, but they cannot have guidelines that directly conflict with what we have put in place,” Gov. Reeves said Wednesday at a press conference.
If this was a crime committed by those who wanted to keep the church shut down, it’s bigger than simply promoting the lockdown orders. It would be a hate crime, one that may be a prelude to similar instances in times to come.
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