Church burnings

Church burnings

Postby TGIF on Sat Dec 02, 2006 9:49 pm

I knew that we had a problem with church burnings, but I had no idea that it was 300 a year.

I am curious how many of these were black congregations that were burned by white supremacists (i.e.: the motivation was racial and not anti-christian)?

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Postby Maxgoof on Sat Dec 02, 2006 9:55 pm

If the statistics regarding a period in Arkansas while Bill Clinton was there is any indication, it is very few.

Remember when Bill Clinton claimed to remember the burning of black churches in Arkansas? Problem was that, during the period in question there had been NONE!
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Postby Calbeck on Sun Dec 03, 2006 4:35 am

Not just Christian churches, either. All faiths are attacked, but Christianity IS the most prevalent and gets hit far more often than any other. Often, there is no known motive for the destruction and vandalism.

But RH's definitely right about one thing: if a race were treated the way Christianity is in this country, there would be lawsuits flying every which way. It is not acceptable to attack something Martin Luther King, Jr. said as a black man, but it's perfectly acceptable to attack something he said as a Christian man.
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Postby Jwrebholz on Sun Dec 03, 2006 7:36 am

It's that kind of moronic thinking that really pisses me off--"he's not wrong because he's black, he's wrong because he's religious". You aren't Christian? Fine. As long as you don't have a problem with me being Christian, then we don't have a problem. (I'm using the general you here, just to clarify)

I fail to see the logic in this kind of behavior--but then again criminal acts rarely follow logic so I'm not surprised. I mean, do they think that if they burn the church down people will stop praying?

Look, I'm not the most religious person in the world, but there are some things that are just flat-out WRONG no matter how you look at it--and destroying a place of worship (be it a church, synagogue, temple or whatever) for the sake of destroying it is wrong on a whole other level of wrong.

It's odd though. Every time I hear of a church burning down, it's in a relatively poor community. I have to wonder if that has something to do with it.

(Edit: for clarification)
^ the above was me sounding like I know WTF I'm talking about.
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Postby Mutant for Hire on Sun Dec 03, 2006 9:03 am

Saying three hundred churches a year are burned is a completely meaningless statistic. Can one prove that each and every one of them was done by anti-Christian forces? I know of at least one Church that was set on fire by a disgruntled Christian who felt the church was too liberal. Can someone please cite statistics that show that all of these were because of digruntled anti-Christian forces, and show some statistics showing that these attacks were far larger than what happens to other non-Christian denominations in this country?
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Postby Maxgoof on Sun Dec 03, 2006 9:18 am

Let's put it this way:

What if 300 abortion clinics a year were burned? Or even 30?

Or 30 NAACP buildings?
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Postby Sapphire on Sun Dec 03, 2006 11:00 am

maxgoof wrote:Let's put it this way:

What if 300 abortion clinics a year were burned? Or even 30?

Or 30 NAACP buildings?


Max, you couldn't be more irrelevant if you were standing next to a giant irrelevant-statement-making machine.

Church does not equal abortion clinic. Nor does it equal NAACP.

A 'church' can be anything from the Disciples of Christ to the Church of Latter-day saints, from the Baptists to the Shakers, from tongue-speakers to snake-handlers, from the Metropolitan Community Church to the Westboro Baptist (actually hyper-Calvinists, of note). It can forward ideaologies as varied as gays should be put to death to there are homosexuals in the Bible whose union was sancitifed by God. If a church is burned, it could be because of Anti-chrisitianism, but also because (actually, history proves incredibly more likely) because of racism or dissent from the idealogies of the church.

Abortion clinics, however, forward basically one idealogy: at least some abortions are OK. If an abortion clinic is burned down, it is never because the abortion clinic was founded and served the black community, or because they weren't abortion-y enough.

The NAACP, being a singular organization, is even more singular. The NAACP is an organization, and, as such, is liable for its members. It presents a single view across a united front. Churches are anything but singular.

I feel like I'm at a loss for explanation. I feel like I'm trying to explain how the sky is blue.

And I, too, call for source citing. Where are these numbers and statements coming from?
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Postby Jwrebholz on Sun Dec 03, 2006 11:57 am

sapphire wrote: If a church is burned, it could be because of Anti-chrisitianism, but also because (actually, history proves incredibly more likely) because of racism or dissent from the idealogies of the church.



And some are torched by vandals or just plain crazy people, as we had here a while back.

As I stated above--most of the churches I hear about burning down are in poor neighborhoods..that leads me to think there are motives other than anti-Christian at work.
^ the above was me sounding like I know WTF I'm talking about.
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Postby Kerry Skydancer on Sun Dec 03, 2006 12:18 pm

In many cases, the active cause is simply the fact that the buildings are ancient, or that the people using them are incompetent. Actual arsons of churches are higher by percentage than of private homes, but they are also less likely to be occupied at night - this makes them easier targets for nutcases, regardless of religious biases.
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Postby Canis_lupus on Sun Dec 03, 2006 1:54 pm

if anyone is more deserving of religous hostility in america its the people from the Westboro Baptist Church. they are the people who protest at iraq soldier funerals. no matter what religion you are, these people use completly unethical practices to get there hate message across.
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Church Burnings

Postby Dabenner on Sun Dec 03, 2006 2:07 pm

and how many of those churches were burned because someone had a beef with the pastor/minister? There was a rural church right here in northern California which was targeted by two people who were specifically upset with the preacher for his abusive ways.

Further, churches, whether Christian, Jewish synagogues, Islamic mosques, etc., tend to be less well guarded than, say, public libraries. That means a vandal who's just into destroying property, will attack these because it's 'safer'.

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Postby BrockthePaine on Sun Dec 03, 2006 7:38 pm

Canis_lupus wrote:if anyone is more deserving of religous hostility in america its the people from the Westboro Baptist Church. they are the people who protest at iraq soldier funerals. no matter what religion you are, these people use completly unethical practices to get there hate message across.

Those folks took a scriptural reference and have so wildly distorted it... they started from a Christian base but where they have gone is certainly not Christian.
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Postby MikeVanPelt on Mon Dec 04, 2006 12:38 am

Canis_lupus wrote:if anyone is more deserving of religous hostility in america its the people from the Westboro Baptist Church. they are the people who protest at iraq soldier funerals. no matter what religion you are, these people use completly unethical practices to get there hate message across.


Well, you sure won't get any argument from me on that one. In net discussions over the years, I've suggested that Phelps would do well to invest in an asbestos-lined coffin, and said that I wouldn't be at all surprised if it is someday revealed that he was, all along, a closet Satanist.

Note that Phelps' cult^H^H^H^H congregation consists of himself, his extended family, and ... pretty much no one else. And he is supported by ... practially no one outside his small congregation. Every Christian I know considers him an object of horror and contempt, and though we know that we shouldn't feel this way about anyone, an object of loathing as well.
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Postby Detrius on Mon Dec 04, 2006 8:05 pm

So, when will the USA run out of churches?
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Postby Hortmage on Wed Dec 06, 2006 5:52 am

Hi! Long time reader, first time poster....

I need to join another forum like I need another hole in the head, but I couldn't pass this one up.... Although it's nice to see I recognize a few familiar "faces."

First off, I agree with most of the other posters...burning or desecrating houses of worship is about as low as you can get without being a child molester. There are many, many better ways to get your point across.

I do find it amusing that some Christians feel that they are under attack in America. As a non-Christian, may I offer some observations as someone from the outside?

First off, except for a bit of lion-feeding in the beginning, Christians (represented by "The Church") have had it pretty good in the world for the last 2000 years. In its heyday, The Church pretty much dictated to everyone how you could live, it quashed scientific discovery, and was richer and held more property than entire nations. The Church controlled most of the kings and held sway over European (and, later, American) politics. A couple of papal edicts created several waves of Crusades which killed untold numbers of "heathens" and Christians alike.

When a powerful entity physically or verbally represses a weak, disenfrachised entity, it's called being a bully, or totalitarianism. When a weak, disenfranchised entity physically or verbally harrasses a powerful entity, it's called "the underdog getting a couple of shots in". The Church (and hereby, nearly all Christianity) has set itself up historically as the most powerful entity on Earth, and the only entity that can guarantee you passage into Heaven (because all non-believers shall surely burn in Hell).

What Christians feel as a constant attack against them is merely us weak, disenfranchised "heathens" who are just trying to break the shackles of Christian domination we have had to wear for centuries. The fact that we are trying to be seen as equals is apparently very threatening to the established powers.

For instance...in my home state, there are still Blue Laws that prevent the sale of alcohol on Sundays...the Christian Sabbath. Every time someone proposes getting rid of this antiquated law, or equalizing it by banning alcohol on Saturdays (the Jewish Sabbath) or Fridays (the Muslim Sabbath), Christians come swarming out of the woodwork claiming anti-Christian elements are attacking them again.

Another example: over the last year or two, Christians have seen the phrase "Happy Holidays" to be a direct assault on Christianity, whereas it's simply some of us "heathens" trying to also acknowledge other winter holidays, such as Chanukah and Kwanzaa and New Years.

Incidentally: the recent strip lamenting persecution of Christians highlighted a frame of the crucifix in urine. This "artwork," often used as the poster-child proving anti-Christian feelings, was created by Andres Serrano in 1987. I would hazard a guess that many of the readers of Nip/Tuck weren't even born when this nonsense hit the fan. I'm sure Mr. Serrano thanks Christians every day for the ruckus that gave his lousy art skills any publicity at all; I mean, a person who's talent shouldn't even have given him a footnote in history is STILL being talked about 20 years later.

And I do believe that more non-Christians (or 'not the RIGHT type of Christians') have been burnt at the stake more recently, and more abundantly, than true Christians ever have.

If someone wants to show the good side of Christianity, they would do better to act by example, rather than whining about losing the power and control they've enjoyed for over 1700 years. For example, the story arc in Tales of the Questor, where the young priest sets aside his fears and doubts and goes forth into the swamp to preach, was extremely inspiring, even to a heathen like me. Much more likely to win converts and influence heathens than this.
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Postby The JAM on Wed Dec 06, 2006 7:30 am

Just a minor point: Catholicism split from New Testament Christianity at the time of Constantine, and it was the Catholics and the pope, not the born again Christians, who ruled with an iron fist (Jan Huss, anyone?).
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Postby Deckard Canine on Wed Dec 06, 2006 9:22 am

Hi, Hortmage! It's a pretty sordid thread for a greeting, but I welcome you.

The JAM wrote:Catholicism split from New Testament Christianity at the time of Constantine


What does that mean? Seems to me the only Christianity that isn't New Testament is in the name of some alleged Messiah other than Jesus.
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Postby The JAM on Wed Dec 06, 2006 3:08 pm

Meaning that the Vatican removed the Bible from the masses, condemned anyone who wished to study it independently, and threw final authority to the pope while declaring him "infallible", and born again Christians very much laid low until Martin Luther.
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Postby BrockthePaine on Wed Dec 06, 2006 3:58 pm

The fastest way to destroy the Christian Church is to suddenly give it power, wealth, and influence, and then lead it into apathy. The fastest way to expand the Christian Church is to try to stomp it out. Some people claim that China has more Christians in secret house churches than the US has in total population.
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Postby Calbeck on Wed Dec 06, 2006 4:52 pm

sapphire wrote:Max, you couldn't be more irrelevant if you were standing next to a giant irrelevant-statement-making machine.

Church does not equal abortion clinic.


So if 300 abortion clinics a year were burned down by acts of known arson, you wouldn't leap to the conclusion that angry anti-abortion Christians were doing it?
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