Three Historically Black Churches Burn within 10 days

THOR, Son of ODIN(2)

The blazes that destroyed three historically black Baptist churches in St. Landry Parish within 10 days are considered “very suspicious,” officials said Thursday, as community members grappled with the destruction and voiced concerns about more fires.


St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz, Louisiana State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning and agents from local offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives gathered Thursday for a joint press conference, less than 12 hours after the most recent blaze.


https://www.theadvocate.com/acadiana/news/crime_police/article_184e3a04-5700-11e9-abc2-933685108b42.html

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THOR, Son of ODIN(2)

Like Mount Pleasant, both churches burned overnight and the structures
were reduced almost entirely to rubble. There were other similarities,
too. Each of the churches has been active in the community for more than
100 years, the pastors said, and the buildings were located on or near
rural highways.

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elvis

One of the first things they'll be checking on will be the insurance. Were the churches over insured?

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studio10001

God help St. Landry. These folks can't seem to catch a break.

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Here's a basic difference --

Elvis immediately wonders if the churches' themselves are the culprits.

I immediately wondered if there are white nationalist/KKK types active in that area.

Two different worlds.

Kate

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AITG

Even though Dylan Roof was sentenced to death by lethal injection nearly two years ago, I fear if this keeps up we may see a race war...which is what he and people like him are after.

Something's gotta give.

Not even a potential death sentence seems to deter these people.

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THOR, Son of ODIN(2)

Never mind the history of St. Landry Parish, LA.

The Deadliest Massacre in Reconstruction-Era Louisiana Happened 150 Years Ago
In September 1868, Southern white Democrats hunted down around 200 African-Americans in an effort to suppress voter turnout

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/story-deadliest-massacre-reconstruction-era-louisiana-180970420/

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THOR, Son of ODIN(2)

Add a 4th church in a parish to their north.

Cue the victim blamers.

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elvis

Something's gotta give.

Not even a potential death sentence seems to deter these people.

I agree, aitg. Question is: Who are "these people"?

Who wants to start a race war? Lots of people, sadly. On all sides, and all for terrible reasons.

Or it was for the insurance money.

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don_socal

Cue the victim blamers.

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AITG

Enablers of our worst angels.

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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

There are periodic burnings of black churches -- always worrisome, and a reminder that we are not far removed from the days of the night riders.

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Pidge_

You are right, Nancy. To suggest that historic churches that have been around for many decades have been burnt down by their parishioners to collect insurance money is almost beyond belief.

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Ziemia(6a)

"Or it was for the insurance money."

Guess no one local has thought of checking...

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elvis

There are periodic burnings of black churches -- always worrisome, and a reminder that we are not far removed from the days of the night riders.

Here's a modern example of a "black church", as Nancy puts it, arson wherein the deed was done by a church member. The 100+ year old church got a brand new building, no one got hurt. The big problem for McClinton was that he got caught. Did he do it to smear Trump? Did he do it to cause racial tension? Did he do it to help his church get a new building?

JACKSON, Miss. — A member of a black church in Mississippi has pleaded guilty to burning the church, which was also spray painted with the slogan “Vote Trump,” a week before the 2016 presidential election.

Andrew McClinton, 47, pleaded guilty to arson Thursday, the Delta Democrat-Times reported. His sentencing is set for late April.

Investigators said McClinton, who is African-American, belonged to Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Greenville, which was vandalized and burned.

Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney, who is also the state fire marshal, told The Associated Press that investigators believe the graffiti was intended as a distraction from some other sort of wrongdoing. Chaney would not specify what that was.

“He tried to make the arson appear it was politically motivated, but it was not,” Chaney said.

Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church was founded in 1905 in the heart of an African-American neighborhood, and the congregation has about 200 members. Some walls of the beige brick church survived the fire, but the remaining walls were torn down. A new structure was built in its place.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/mar/28/andrew-mcclinton-black-church-member-pleads-guilty/

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THOR, Son of ODIN(2)

Off topic.

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elvis

Not off topic. The OP title is:

Three Historically Black Churches Burn within 10 days

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studio10001

For clarification's sake, the comments from elvis are separate theories, one being that the churches themselves are involved in criminal acts of arson, the other being that a criminal may have used arson as a coverup - four times.

While the first idea of over insuring is theoretically possible, I am trying to picture the annual budget meeting that makes it work:

"Why is the line item for insurance so much higher this year?"

"Well, Joe, we're hoping to burn the church down while the weather holds to raise money for a new one. Show of hands?"

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queenmargo

studio- perhaps someone can over ride the annual budget meeting. Perhaps done behind closed doors. Not all is what seems at times.

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Ziemia(6a)

Mantra of conspiracy fans:

"Not all is what seems at times."

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studio10001

:))) Margo, every time you say that, can't help myself, this is what I think of:


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leona_2008

What is there to gain by refusing to believe these arsons were probably committed by white supremacists?

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chase_gw

Given the history of violent actions towards the Black Community , I can't imagine insurance being the first place my mind would go when four different churces all burn to the ground in the rural south.

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studio10001

It would certainly be the fastest thing to check out in an investigation, though, making it the dumbest idea for a fundraising event in parish history. x4.

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elvis

Some people aren't fixated on race and hatred. An open mind looks at all reasonable possibilities. Not to say your mind is closed, nor that you are fixated on race and hatred, but they are not the first possibilities that come to my mind.

Since you brought it up.

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Joanie

Here's a modern example of a "black church", as Nancy puts it, arson wherein the deed was done by a church member.

As long as the arson is committed by a white stranger it’s all right?

Over insured? That’s the first thought?

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mrskjun(9)

They believe it is probably the work of one person. Until they are caught we have no idea what the motive is. Security is being added at other black churches and hopefully the person will be caught.

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Carro


leona_2008

What is there to gain by refusing to believe these arsons were probably committed by white supremacists?

It's like they don't even hear themselves any longer. Remarkable they forget Jussie Smollett's hoax crime in which he said 2 white MAGA Trumpers brutally attacked him.

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MissMyGardens

"Remarkable they forget Jussie Smollett's hoax"

Nobody forgot. And nobody forgot the overwhelming history of who burned black churches. Some even locked the doors and let the people inside burn to death. But the South will rise again.

Create possibility hoping to widen any divide. Good job if you have no soul.

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patriciae_gw(07)

Well Elvis, what can I say. Racism is not the first thing that comes to your mind. All the years of racists burning churches and murdering and attacking blacks and Jim Crow and black people over represented in prison and blacks who have been exonerated from Death Row being over whelming black and on and on and on but for you that is not the first thing that comes to mind when black churches are burned. I am sorry that is the case.

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foodonastump

Insurance didn’t enter my mind when I read this, but I admit I found myself sliding into “wait and see” mode. No agenda on my part, not even sure what the “preferred” outcome would be. Just being realistic.

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lily12

tRump speak has certainly warped the minds of many people in his cult.

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elvis

but for you that is not the first thing that comes to mind when black churches are burned. I am sorry that is the case.

I'm certainly not sorry for that! Remaining vigilant is one thing, allowing yourself to remain hopelessly mired in bitterness and cynicism is quite another. No thanks!

Hopefulness does not preclude the ability to be clearsighted.

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catticusmockingbird

"Suspicious fires at three historically black churches in St. Landry Parish in a 10-day span have State Fire Marshal H. "Butch" Browning Jr. recalling another rash of fires at black churches in Louisiana.

Browning was with the Baton Rouge Fire Department on Feb. 1, 1996, when the unthinkable happened. Fires burned three black churches and a fourth church building on the same night: Cypress Grove Baptist in Zachary, and St. Paul's Free Baptist, Sweet Home Baptist and St. Thomas Chapel Benevolent Society hall, all in Baker.

"Clearly those fires were set and all at the same time," Browning recalled Friday.

At first, Browning said, there was no proof of a hate crime. But six months of investigation led authorities to a group of young adults who specifically targeted black churches.

"It was, in fact, a crime of hate," Browning said.

A January 2000 report by the National Church Arson Task Force says the perpetrators brought tires and gasoline to the churches. One fire was started with a Molotov cocktail.

The Louisiana fires were among 30 fires that burned black churches in the United States in 1996.

It's too early in the investigation of the three St. Landry Parish church fires to determine the motives. All burned under suspicious circumstances and Browning said he believes there are similarities. Officials won't release details.

All three churches were at least 100 years old, in rural areas and burned at night. The first to burn was St. Mary Baptist Church off Highway 103 in Port Barre on March 26. On April 2, Greater Union Baptist Church on Highway 742 in Opelousas, burned. The latest was Thursday, when Mount Pleasant Baptist Church on Highway 182 south of Opelousas, burned.

Whether the St. Landry Parish fires will rise to the level of being hate crimes remains to be seen. Browning explained the majority of church fires in Louisiana in the past 20 years that were intentionally set were to cover up other crimes, such as burglary or vandalism. There have been other sporadic fires in places of worship, he said, but most were accidental.

Rick Swanson, a University of Louisiana at Lafayette professor and civil rights researcher, said Saturday if the St. Landry Parish fires turn out to be racially motivated, "It would be very consistent with a pattern of terrorism used against black churches" and black movements in the past.

At times in U.S. history when race has been at the heart of a tragedy, or at times of political and social upheaval, including the Jim Crow era and civil rights era, black churches were the targets of hate in the form of fires and bombings. In 2015, days after Dylann Roof shot and killed nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, fires were reported at a string of black churches in the South.

"Historically, the church was considered the primary or strongest institution for African American communities, where people dealt with their problems," John Milton, a Lafayette attorney and pastor, said.

Slave revolts were planned in black churches. Civil rights demonstrations in the 1960s were organized in black churches. Black churches taught their worshipers leadership and how to fight for political representation, social justice and educational improvements. That made black churches the target of those who wanted to disrupt those movements.

Burning black churches, Milton said, would cause a scattering of that community. It was intended to intimidate and had a chilling effect, he added.

"We're certainly going through a very politically polarizing time," maybe as polarized as the civil rights era, Swanson said. He attributed it to a combination of the mass media, social media and so many media outlets that perpetuate one side of the story. That, he said, allows people to live in bubbles where they hear only the news they want to hear.

"Your opponent becomes evil," Swanson said, and that increases the tendency for violence.

Local, state and federal agencies are investigating the St. Landry Parish fires and local law enforcement agencies have increased patrols around other black churches in St. Landry Parish.

The Lafayette NAACP has been asked to look into the fires because Opelousas does not have an NAACP chapter, said Milton, who is religious affairs chairman for the Lafayette group.

"Hopefully they can find some answers before anybody gets hurt," he said."


https://www.theadvocate.com/acadiana/news/crime_police/article_ec9a9934-57c2-11e9-b0b9-6344ccf49039.html

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Pidge_

One aspect of white privelege is that many if not most white people simply don't have to think about race. They are somehow above all that. It may be comforting to believe that being "objective" somehow spares one of racial concerns. But it's not realistic.


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chase_gw

"allowing yourself to remain hopelessly mired in bitterness and cynicism is quite another. No thanks!"

In my mind that is exactly what it is to immediately think that these black parishioners purposely torched their historic places of worship for monetary gain.

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elvis

"We're certainly going through a very politically polarizing time," maybe as polarized as the civil rights era, Swanson said. He attributed it to a combination of the mass media, social media and so many media outlets that perpetuate one side of the story. That, he said, allows people to live in bubbles where they hear only the news they want to hear.

As Occasional Cortex would say these days: "True dat".


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AITG

"Hopefulness does not preclude the ability to be clearsighted. "

LOL

So let me get this straight...you are HOPING they were committing insurance fraud?

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

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Pidge_

"allowing yourself to remain hopelessly mired in bitterness and cynicism is quite another. No thanks!"

This is an excellent example of "whitesplaining."

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elvis

So let me get this straight...you are HOPING they were committing insurance fraud?

Straightforward crime for greed vs. hate crime?

Absolutely.

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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

Greed v hate crime also translates into blaming the victims v recognizing victims.

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Pidge_

A poster here is mastering "whitesplaining."

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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

I love the term "whitesplaining," so appropriately descriptive!

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elvis

nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

Greed v hate crime also translates into blaming the victims v recognizing victims.

So that's libsplaining. Do you get a secret decoder ring for that?

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lily12

The wingers are just hoping it was arson for insurance claims because they fear it was a tRump supporter wearing a MAGA hat. Remember the mail bomber whose car was plastered with tRump stickers? That kind of person.

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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

No "libsplaining" from me, just a simple analysis of the shift of focus away from the very real legacy of Jim Crow to a supposed fraudulent act.

I can imagine that the disappearance of Goodman, Cheney, and Schwartz would have been thought to be just guys joy riding in the rural South (they'll show up when they sober up) . . . or an attempt to defraud life insurance companies.


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chipotle



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bleusblue2

Chipotle -- thanks for following up.

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mrskjun(9)

And two million dollars was raised for the rebuilding of Mt. Pleasant. I don't know the numbers for the others but hopefully they have done as well.

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queenmargo

So sick, this guy just threw away his life to promote himself to some Black Metal group. Time for him to face the real music!!!

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haydayhayday

I'm the first to admit.
I have no clue what's behind this.

I'm alone, apparently. Everyone go back and read the thread.

Just a small sampling:

dublinbay z6 (KS)

Here's a basic difference --

Elvis immediately wonders if the churches' themselves are the culprits.

I immediately wondered if there are white nationalist/KKK types active in that area.

Two different worlds.

Kate

19 Likes Save April 6, 2019 at 9:03AM

Thanked by THOR, Son of ODIN



.....

leona_2008

What is there to gain by refusing to believe these arsons were probably committed by white supremacists?


....

patriciae_gw(07)

Well Elvis, what can I say. Racism is not the first thing that comes to your mind. All the years of racists burning churches and murdering and attacking blacks and Jim Crow and black people over represented in prison and blacks who have been exonerated from Death Row being over whelming black and on and on and on but for you that is not the first thing that comes to mind when black churches are burned. I am sorry that is the case.

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...


patriciae_gw(07)

Well Elvis, what can I say. Racism is not the first thing that comes to your mind. All the years of racists burning churches and murdering and attacking blacks and Jim Crow and black people over represented in prison and blacks who have been exonerated from Death Row being over whelming black and on and on and on but for you that is not the first thing that comes to mind when black churches are burned. I am sorry that is the case.


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Hay

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haydayhayday

I did go look for the story.

Found this one right away:

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/suspect-historically-black-louisiana-church-fires-expected-change-plea-n1133811

"LAFAYETTE, La. — The aspiring ‘black metal’ musician who was arrested in a series of fires set at African American churches in Louisiana last spring pleaded guilty Monday to four federal criminal counts.


Holden Matthews pleaded guilty to three counts of intentional damage to religious property, a federal hate crime carrying a possible 20-year sentence per count, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release. He also pleaded to one count of using fire to commit a felony, which has a possible 10-year sentence.


Holden MatthewsHolden Matthews, 21, was booked into the St. Landry Parish Jail on three counts of simple arson of a religious building.St. Landry Parish Sheriff Dept.

He entered the pleas in federal court in Lafayette.


Matthews, 21 at the time of his arrest last year, is white and the destruction of the three historic black churches in St. Landry Parish evoked memories of civil rights-era terrorism. But race is not mentioned as a factor in the charges.


The indictment said the fires were set “because of the religious character” of the properties.


Three churches were burned in a span of 10 days, beginning in late March 2019, in an area roughly 140 miles west of New Orleans in St. Landry Parish. Matthews’ father is a parish sheriff’s deputy.


Investigators said Matthews had shown interest in “black metal,” an extreme sub-genre of heavy metal music.




“Matthews admitted to setting the fires because of the religious character of these buildings, in an effort to raise his profile as a Black Metal’ musician by copying similar crimes committed in Norway in the 1990s,” the U.S. Attorney’s statement said.


Matthews also faces state charges in connection with the fires. Don Richard, an assistant district attorney in St. Landry, told The Associated Press he hoped to begin resolving the state case after the federal plea but declined to discuss details.


The state charges include two counts of simple arson of a religious building and a count of aggravated arson of a religious building."

Hay




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haydayhayday

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_Norwegian_black_metal_scene

The early Norwegian black metal scene of the 1990s is credited with creating the modern black metal genre and produced some of the most acclaimed and influential artists in extreme metal. It attracted massive media attention when it was revealed that its members had been responsible for two murders and a wave of church burnings in Norway.


...


In interviews, they voiced extreme anti-Christian and misanthropic views, presenting themselves as a cult-like group of militant Satanists who wanted to spread terror, hatred and evil.


...


On 8 April 1991, Mayhem vocalist and lyricist Per Yngve Ohlin (who called himself 'Dead') committed suicide via shotgun blast while alone in a house shared by the band. Fellow musicians described Dead as odd, introverted and depressed.


Dead was found with his wrists and throat slit and a gunshot wound to his forehead by Mayhem guitarist Euronymous. Before calling the police, he got a camera and photographed the body after re-arranging some items.[ One of these photographs was later used as the cover of a bootleg live album: Dawn of the Black Hearts.


Euronymous used Dead's suicide to foster Mayhem's 'evil' image and claimed Dead had killed himself because black metal had become 'trendy' and commercialized. He made necklaces which he claimed as being made with bits of Dead's skull and gave them to musicians he deemed worthy.There was also a false rumor that he had made a stew with bits of Dead's brain.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawn_of_the_Black_Hearts

Wackos.

Not the first; not the last.

Hay

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THOR, Son of ODIN(2)

Thank you for posting that Chipotle.

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Ziemia(6a)

Anyone have a map showing the cluster of churches in the area - denoting which have predominantly white or black members (congregants)?

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queenmargo

Can I ask what that will do for you Ziemia?

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foodonastump

Hay - As our old buddy Joe might have said, “Dead is dead.”

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margaritadina

The boy is a musician??? So very stupid.

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