By Stefan J. Bos, Special Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) - A Pentecostal church in the U.S. state of Mississippi, which challenges coronavirus restrictions, has been destroyed by a suspected arson fire.
Police investigators at what was left of the First Pentecostal Church in Holly Springs city found graffiti in the congregation’s parking lot reading: “bet you stay home now you hypokrites.”
Pastor Jerry Waldrop told reporters he had “no idea” who could have targeted his church. “No enemies that we know of. We don’t know anyone that we even think could be capable of doing something like this.”
However, Thursday’s blaze came a month after Waldrop filed a lawsuit over restrictions imposed by authorities to limit the coronavirus outbreak.
In his case against the city of Holly Springs, he accuses police officers of disrupting a church Bible study and Easter service.
Holly Springs City Attorney Shirley Byers said nearly 40 parishioners inside the church building were not practicing social distancing on April 10 when a violation citation was issued for the church.
Churchgoers practiced social distancing while indoors and only held indoor services when bad weather would not allow them to gather outside, the lawsuit countered.
Waldrop’s complaint also asked for a temporary restraining order to keep city officials from preventing church services.
Authorities were offering a reward for tips on the arson investigation. Besides damage, no injuries have been reported.