A fire that broke out in South Carolina on Tuesday at a historic black church once destroyed by the Klu Klux Klan, was not intentionally lit, according to a report.
Twenty years after two members of the KKK torched Greeleyville's Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church, the community again watched it burn in flames on Tuesday evening although federal law enforcement officials reportedly said that a preliminary investigation has ruled out arson. Investigators are trying to determine whether lightning may have caused the fire.
"You feel sorry, it's devastating to put the church and the community back through the same thing. Even though it was 20 years ago, it seems like it was just yesterday," Mayor Jesse Parker of Greeleyville told CNN. "We stood out here last night, the church folks, the pastor and we had a prayer vigil as the church burned … This is a Christian community, our churches are cornerstones of our community so I'm quite sure the church will rebuild." more >>
The First Church of Cannabis, a so-called religious group, says it will abstain from using marijuana during its opening worship service, according to it's leader, amid concerns that police might arrest those in attendance because pot is illegal in Indiana.
The Indianapolis-based "church," which garnered national headlines earlier this year by becoming an officially recognized religious sect, announced Monday that marijuana will not be part of its first service.
Bill Levin, leader of the group, commented on social media that he's concerned about potential police action against the First Church of Cannabis if people use the banned substance during Wednesday's service. more >>
Fox News contributor Father Jonathan Morris, who serves in the Archdiocese of New York, said two men spat on him during Sunday's NYC Pride parade in an unprovoked attack, following the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage.
In a Facebook post shared with his 283,000 followers on Sunday, the Roman Catholic Priest of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in the Bronx, New York, said that he was attacked by two men while walking down Broadway and 22nd Street during Sunday's gay pride festivities. It is unclear whether Morris, 42, filed a police report after the alleged incident and the suspects have not been identified.
"Walking down Broadway and 22nd Street just now, I ran into gay marriage parade. Two men walked by and spat on me. Oh well ... I deserve worse," he wrote in a June 28 Facebook post, later adding: "The two men who spat on me are probably very good men caught up in excitement and past resentment. Most in that parade would not do that." more >>
Following a mid-June attack on a Christian church in the Indian town of Attingal in Kerala state, Hindu radicals have threatened to wipe out a Christian congregation and burn the church's pastor if they continue to worship and pray in there.
According to International Christian Concern, a U.S.-based Christian persecution monitoring organization, a mob of 200 angry Hindus surrounded the Reaching the World with Love Ministries Church in Attingal on June 14, while about 400 congregants were in the middle of their Sunday worship service.
As the large mob shouted loud Hindu chants, including "Bharat Mathaki" [Hail Mother India], the congregation's pastor, known by the name Shiju, told ICC that 30 Hindus broke into the worship hall, charged at him while he was preaching and began beating him down and caused him internal injuries. more >>
The recent, racially-motivated massacre of a bible study group in a historic African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston has sparked grief, shock, rage, and an almost-unbelievable and moving expression of forgiveness from the victims' families. The shooting reignited a national conversation on the appropriateness of public displays of the Confederate battle flag; many prominent Southern Christians spoke in favor of its removal. Within Charleston, the church which was the site of the massacre was packed during the next Sunday's service. Thousands participated in vigils, and an estimated 20,000 people of every background marched together in solidarity, singing "This Little Light of Mine" and "God Bless America." Many public leaders recognized and reflected this solidarity and the forgiveness offered even while acknowledging and mourning the history of anti-Black and anti-Black church violence in American history; a vocal few, primarily from the political left, chose instead to exploit the tragedy for their own ends.
Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, gave an impassioned speech denouncing America and aligning all white Americans with the sentiments of the racist murderer. This speech was given at historic Metropolitan AME Church in Washington D.C., the "National Cathedral of African Methodism," and received thunderous applause and cheers. Farrakhan did not hold back with his extreme and inciting vitriol. Speaking of the white people of Charleston that joined in the services, vigils, and marches he shouted, "White folks march with you because they don't want you upsetting the city. They don't give a damn about them nine."
Because the police fed the murderer shortly after he was (without incident) apprehended, Farrakhan accused them of supporting the murders. "And you know what they [the police] were saying? 'You did a good job killing all them [racial epithet].' You think they were sympathetic? If they were sympathetic with us they would have snatched him, put him in chains, had the gun on him." (Photos show the murderer in handcuffs.) more >>
The FBI is investigating a string of fires that have occurred over the past week at primarily black churches in the South and so far at least three of them have been ruled an arson.
Less than one week after 21-year-old white suspect, Dylann Roof, allegedly opened fire and killed nine worshipers at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, churches in Tennessee, Georgia, South and North Carolina and Florida caught fire and investigators are trying to determine whether the blazes are connected.
"They're being investigated to determine who is responsible and what motives are behind them," FBI spokesperson Paul Bresson told BuzzFeed News. "I'm not sure there is any reason to link them together at this point." more >>