A Mississippi church that violated the city of Holly Springs’ stay-at-home order was burnt down on Wednesday with the message “Bet you stay home now you hypokrites” spray-painted on the ground.
While talking about the incident, the Marshall County Sheriff Department said due to the evidence discovered at the scene, investigators believe the incident was pyromania.
The First Pentecostal Church was at the heart of a lawsuit over lockdown orders aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus. Authorities have cited the church’s pastor, Jerry Waldrop, for presiding over an in-person service on Easter in spite of the city’s order against holding any service.
The church filed legal suit against the city but a judge ignored blocking the stay-at-home order noting that Holly Springs had allowed churches to gold drive-in services, which would permit social distancing.
In his opinion, Judge Michael Mills said that the church was “determined to push the legal envelope even further” and was “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.
“Is avoiding the inconveniences associated with drive-in church services worth risking the very lives of their fellow congregants and other members of the community? Unfortunately, [the church] and its members appear to have decided that the answer to this question is ‘yes.'”
In the wake of the suspected pyromania, However, Waldrop has said that the loss of the church’s building wouldn’t not prevent the church members from worshipping together.
He said: “We are going to keep the faith, and we’re going to keep doing what we have always done, and maybe not on this location. I’ll get with our faithful people, and maybe we’ll rent a building or whatever we need to do for the time being.”