A church in Mississippi that had filed a lawsuit challenging the city of Holly Springs' stay at home order was burned to the ground in what investigators believe was arson.
When firefighters responded to the blaze at the First Pentecostal Church of Holly Springs on Wednesday (May 20), they found the words "Bet you stay home now you hypokrites" sprayed painted on the parking lot of the church.
The State Fire Marshall is on the scene along with the ATF and the Marshall County Sheriff's Department. Investigators have not determined the cause of the fire and have offered a reward for any information that leads to an arrest.
The church was given a citation last month for hosting a Bible study with more than ten people and holding services on Easter. Church officials filed a lawsuit challenging the citation, claiming that it violates their constitutional rights.
The Thomas More Society, a not-for-profit law firm representing the church in their lawsuit, issued a statement offering their prayers to the members of the congregation.
"The Thomas More Society is saddened by the news that a fire destroyed First Pentecostal Church of Holly Springs last night. To hear that the authorities are treating this as arson is distressing, and we pray that the perpetrators of this terrible event will be brought to justice. Our most sincere prayers are with the people of this church and their pastor. They have been grieving the inability to gather as a congregation since the COVID-19 pandemic stay home orders forced the closure of their church home, and now they must grieve the loss of this spiritual home, their place of worship." said Stephen Crampton, Senior Counsel at the Thomas More Society.