Since slavery, every Sunday morning in America, millions of African-Americans have congregated in churches giving praise and worshipping God.
Through our darkest hours, the church provided a refuge from a world that did not want us and did not accept us.
If the world did not accept African-Americans as equal, we always knew God did.
The importance of faith in the African-American community is also well known outside of the African-American community.
Therefore, if White supremacists wanted to attack a large segment of the African-American community, early Sunday morning always presented one of the best opportunities.
On Sept. 15, 1963 four little African-American girls attending Sunday School at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. died brutally when a bomb exploded in the church basement.
The 16th Street Baptist Church served as a safe haven and frequent meeting place for civil rights leaders in the early 1960s.
In June 2015, self-described White nationalist Dylann Roof killed nine African-Americans at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C.
Now, several predominantly African-American churches in Louisiana have burned down under suspicious circumstances.
Each Louisiana church that burned stood for over 100 years.
The first church burned was St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre, La. on March 26.
Several days later, Greater Union Baptist Church and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, both in Opelousas, La., burned.
Luckily no injuries or fatalities occurred in these burnings because the churches were empty at the time of the fires.
But police have taken into custody Holden Matthews, the son of St. Landry, La. parish sheriff.
The man arrested allegedly has ties to neo-Nazi groups.
Matthews’ arrest is dangerous on at least two levels.
Obviously, America has a severe problem with White supremacy.
White supremacists are more of a terrorist threat than foreign terrorists and statistics back that up.
Furthermore, Matthews is the son of a sheriff.
At a time when police relations with the African-American community seems to be at an all-time low, knowing that someone with neo-Nazi views could be a sheriff is not surprising.
However, that possibility is a threat to the lives of those in the African-American community.
No one is assuming that the sheriff holds the same views as his son.
The sheriff even helped arrange the arrest of his son.
However, racism is often taught and passed down from one generation to the next.
Therefore, if the sheriff shares the same racist sentiments as his son, he could be putting innocent lives at risk.
NAACP president Derrick Johnson called the fires “domestic terrorism.”
In a statement Johnson said, “The spike in church bombings in the Southern states is a reflection of emboldened racial rhetoric and tension spreading across the country.
“But this is nothing new. For decades, African-American churches have served as the epicenter of survival and a symbol of hope for many in the African-American community. As a consequence, these houses of faith have historically been targets of violence.”
For a person or group of people to attack a house worship defines the term sinister.
Many members of the alt-right movement or White supremacists often call themselves Christians.
White nationalists infamously chanted, “Jews will not replace us” as they marched with tiki torches throughout the streets of Charlottesville, Va. in 2017.
The Ku Klux Klan boasted about their Christian values for decades.
But then many members of such organizations attack and kill other Christians while those victimized Christians are worshipping the same God that those racists allegedly serve.
For centuries, White supremacists have misread, misunderstood and misinterpreted the Bible in a twisted way to come up with the belief that the God they serve only loves White people and not people of color.
Some so-called Christians, and even some so-called Muslims, believe that a loving God would encourage them to inflict violence on someone else just because they look differently or worship differently than they do.
That belief is not of God.
That belief is purely of the devil and a person has to be consumed with evil in order to hate someone simply because of the color of his or her skin.
Allegedly, Matthews is proof of this demonic spirit because he does not pretend to be a Christian like so many White supremacists.
Matthews’ Facebook page shows that he is connected with black metal and pagan movements, which have a large neo-Nazi following.
The alleged arsonist also writes songs and plays in a band called Vodka Vultures.
On social media, Matthews commented on memes about Varg Vikernes, a far right heavy metal musician who is currently serving 15 years in prison in Norway for burning churches in that country and for killing a fellow musician.
Vikernes has influenced many White supremacists like Anders Breivik who sent Vikernes a manifesto before he killed 77 people in a mass shooting in Norway in July 2011.
The admitted killer is also responsible for injuring hundreds in the mass shooting.
Breivik’s massacre in Norway is the country’s most deadly massacre since World War II.
In 2012, Breivik received 21 years in prison for his crimes, which is the maximum allowed under Norwegian law.
However, after his 21 year sentence ends, he will likely have time added to his sentence because of the severity of his crimes and his admission at trial that he would kill more people.
Breivik will probably spend the rest of his life behind bars.
His admission that he would kill more people is proof that people with this “master race” mentality are slaves to the devil and are not of God no matter what some of them might say.
Even though the alleged arsonist in the recent Louisiana church fires believes in paganism, White Christian pastors have to do a better job of speaking out against White supremacy.
If abortion and sexual immorality are sins and some White Christian pastors have little problem speaking out against those transgressions, they should have no problem speaking out against the immorality of racism and bigotry.
Martin Luther King, Jr. once said the most segregated hour of the week is during church service.
Until that changes and some so-called White Christians see all Christians as their brothers and sisters, the African-American church will continue to be the location of much racial violence.
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