Religion or Racism? What Motivated the Recent St. Louis Church Fires?


A string of fires at seven churches in St. Louis, Missouri, located within five miles of each other has created a wave of terror in the community.

It is rumored that these incidents are aftermath in response to last year’s killing of an innocent black boy who was shot by a white police officer, however no evidence has been found supporting this claim. In August 2014, when Michael Brown was shot dead by former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, it ignited a series of protests where more than two dozen buildings were set ablaze by the angry mob.

The seventh fire, started on Thursday, was at an African-American Catholic church, the Shrine of St. Joseph. This was the first in the 2-week string of fires that was not located in a black neighborhood. Rev. Rodrick Burton of New Northside Baptist Church, the second church to be targeted, personally thinks the attacks are racially-motivated, but is not also ruling out the possibility of a religious issue. He believes religious freedom is being challenged.

In spite of all the damage, church leaders are welcoming the perpetrators to join their community. Rev. Rodrick Burton says “We are praying for whoever the perpetrator is, we have forgiven them, but we want it to stop.” Pastor Renita Lamkin of St. Johns African Methodist Episcopal Church remarked, “Whoever this is, you have our attention. Next time you come onto the church land, don’t stop at the door. Come on in, and know that there is a body of Christ waiting to love you.”

However not all pastors are as welcoming. Rev. David Triggs, a pastor at New Life Missionary said “This is a spiritually sick person.”

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Source: World Religion News | KELLY FRAZIER