A series of Bible burnings on church steps and lawns in Arizona are now being investigated as hate crimes. Law enforcement officers now feel that the multiple incidents of arson in the Mesa area may be related. The startling incidents began in May and now involve four separate Arizona churches. The Mesa Baptist Church was the first to be targeted.
Pastor Mark Rice said in addition to the burning Bibles he found the words "Hail Satan" carved into a metal gate at the Mesa Baptist Church. According to the pastor, the satanic phrase was etched into the metal gate with either a knife or a nail, and the letters were about three inches tall.
The Arizona church pastor also had this to say about the satanic message left at the Mesa Baptist Church:
"They were sending a message... we reject Christ by burning the Bible and we lift up Satan. That's been the story of Christianity. I don't take it as a personal attack, a personal affront as much as I recognize the battle of good and evil and I'm on the good side, the God side and we're hoping that we can really help these people. No one was trying to set the church on fire or they would have burned it closer to the building. They had something else in mind."
The East Mesa Christian Church experienced a similar Bible burning incident on June 14. Bible burnings then occurred at the Pilgrim Lutheran Church on June 20. The Calvary Baptist Church then experienced Bible burnings on July 7.
Mesa police officers investigating the acts of arson as hate crimes noted that the Bibles burnt on church lawns and steps did not come from inside the houses of worship. The law enforcement officers are reportedly looking for a suspect who is either a Hispanic male or white, with dark hair, and in his late teens or early 20s.
Mesa Police Sergeant Diana Williams said the fires from the burning Bibles caused just minimal damage to church property. Officers have advised pastors in Mesa to extinguish any fires they find from burning Bibles and to move the material away from the church or vegetation if possible. Once the flames are out, the burnt Bibles should be protected and not touched until the fire and police departments arrive.
What do you think about the burning Bibles and satanic messages left at churches in Mesa, Arizona?
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