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Mississippi Church Burned Down After It Defied Stay-Home Orders

Twitter / @tatereeves
By Clark Sparky

A Mississippi church was burned to the ground last week after it had previously defied the local stay-at-home guidelines, the. Marshall County Sheriff's Office confirmed to CBS News. The First Pentecostal Church in Holly Springs was left in a smoldering pile of ashes and local police are no investigating it as an arson.

Investigators say there was a message left on the site in graffiti that read, "Bet you stay home now you hypokrites."

Governor Tate Reeves tweeted about the heartbreaking incident alongside a photo of what's left of the church.

"I am heartbroken and furious. In Mississippi, a church was just burned to the ground. They had been trying to open services. There was graffiti on the lot which read 'Bet you stay home now you hypocrites,'" he wrote. "What is this pandemic doing to us? We need prayer for this country."

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People took to Gov. Reeves mentions to share their feelings about the incident.

"The pandemic is making it very clear that many no longer care about the other person. I don't care which side of this argument you're on take a deep breath and please remember we are all in this together," one said.

"I hope the person realizes it wasn't just a crime against the people of the church, but an act against God. A church should be reverenced and respected as the house of God. I pray this person comes to an alter of repentance," another wrote.

Unsplash | James Coleman

According to CBS News, the church sued the city last month after one of its bible studies was broken up by police:

In April, First Pentecostal Church sued the city, claiming that Holly Springs police officers disrupted a "peaceful mid-week Bible Study and shut it down on threat of criminal citations for violation of Holly Springs' Stay Home Order, despite the fact that Plaintiffs were practicing social distancing and complying with all applicable health requirements."

The church also claims that police officers interrupted a worship service on Easter Sunday and issued a citation to Pastor Jerry Waldrop for violating the stay-at-home order. "Plaintiffs seek immediate and long-term relief from this unconstitutional order," the suit continues.

Judge Michael P. Mills said he's concerned the church has been "proceeding in an excessively reckless and cavalier manner and with insufficient respect for the enormity of the health crisis which the Covid-19 pandemic presents."

The church had previously staged a group outing to Walmart with its congregation to make a point about not social distancing.

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