Ten Baptist churches torched
Posted: 02 Nov 2006 @ 00:00
THE FBI is investigating arson attacks last week against ten Baptist
churches in rural areas of Alabama. Five were completely destroyed.
Half had predominantly black congregations, and half predominantly white,
leaving investigators unable to ascribe a racial motive. The Governor of
Alabama, Bob Riley, said he saw no evidence of a "grand conspiracy" against
religion or Baptists.
All the buildings were small and off the beaten track, and all except
Beaverton Free Will Baptist Church, the most recent victim, were burned at
night. Locals familiar with country roads in the dark are under suspicion. The
regional director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives,
Jim Cavanaugh, suggested a "thrill motive".
The church communities and Baptist associations responded swiftly with help
to begin rebuilding or to provide temporary accommodation. The state mission
board said: "Strongly committed congregations [are] seeking to be certain that
good comes out of evil."