As racial tensions continue to flare, seven black Christian churches in the South have burned since the June 17 Charleston massacre. Many of those fires are being investigated as arsons.
The latest fire came Tuesday night, about 65 miles from Charleston in the town of Greeleyville. However a federal official has told the Associated Press that that fire was not arson:
[T]he federal official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case publicly, told The Associated Press that preliminary indications show the fire at the Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church in Greeleyville was not intentionally set and was not arson.
Lightning storms were reported in the Greeleyville area around the time of the fire, but the investigation continues.
However, other recent fires at black churches around the South are being investigated as potential cases of arson.
–June 21, Knoxville, TN: bales of hay and a church van were set fire outside the College Hill Seventh Day Adventist.
– June 23, Macon, GA : Macon-Bibb County Fire Department officials say they are investigating.
–June 24, Charlotte, NC: After an apparent arson at the Briar Creek Road Baptist Church, a guest minister delivered a sermon saying, “You’re going to take back everything he took from you. The scent of revival is in the air.”
–June 26, Aiken County, SC: A fire at Glover Grove Baptist Church is being investigated and a news report said “all possibilities are still open at this point from an electrical problem to foul play.”
Two other fires at black churches in Florida and Mississippi appear to be the result of electrical problems.
Black Lives Matter activists are using the “Seven Churches” number:
CVS gets burned down. Every news outlet shows up. 7 black churches burned, 1 right burning right now. Silence.
— Talib Kweli Greene (@TalibKweli) July 1, 2015
However, four potential church arsons is still an alarming number and certainly worthy of investigation. The FBI is looking into the matter and working with local and state officials across the region.
Racist groups such as the KKK do have a history of burning black churches; for example, the Greeleyville church burned to the ground in the 1990s and two Klan members were convicted of setting the fire.
However, anyone who paid attention to the race-fueled stories in the Trayvon Martin shooting or Ferguson, Missouri also knows that there’s also a clear pattern of Black Power activists playing fast and loose with the facts and taking the willing media along for the ride.
Even if the four fires that are under investigation are arson, it’s still unknown as to who set them or why. When the facts come out, any advocate of law and order will be want justice to be served.