During the pandemic anti-religious hate showed its ugly head in places like Mississippi where the First Pentecostal Church of Holly Springs was burned to the ground. The arson incident took place a month after the church won a legal battle against its city's government over a stay-at-home order after local police broke up an Easter service and a Bible study.
According to Major Kelly McMillan with Marshall Count Sheriff’s Department, fire crews got the call about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday. They say the church was destroyed and is a total loss. Investigators believe the fire was set intentionally. There was graffiti on the lot which read “Bet you stay home now you hypocrites.”
The Thomas More Society, a not-for-profit, national public interest law firm that represents the First United Pentecostal Church of Holly Springs in their ongoing federal lawsuit challenging the Holly Springs Stay Home Order, released this statement:
"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." - Stephen Crampton, Senior Counsel at the Thomas More Society
“I jumped up out the bed and came out on the porch and said my god,” said resident Katherine Bright. “I just don’t understand it. Even though I’m not Pentecostal I wouldn’t want something like this to happen.”