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More arson attacks reported in Alabama

ICC Note

Two professed Satanists have been arrested following arson attacks on Churches in Alabama . The attacks show how the churches in the United States are also targeted for attacks by certain groups in this country.

Jan 14, 2008 BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP)–A spate of arson attacks have affected five churches in east Alabama — attacks that follow a string of nine church-burning incidents nearly two years ago in which three college-age men were arrested.

Two 21-year-old men, both professed Satanists, were arrested Jan. 6 in connection with blazes at Woodland Baptist Church in Phenix City , Greater Peace and Goodwill AME Church in Crawford and Greater Bethelpore Baptist Church in Smiths Station in early January.

Still on the loose is the person who set fire to Providence Baptist Church in rural Chilton County Jan. 12, destroying the church’s fellowship hall, education space and church office. Another church in the Chilton Baptist Association, Maple Springs Baptist Church in Clanton, burned in the early hours of Dec. 29.

Geoffrey Tyler Parquette, 21, and James Scott Clark, 21, were apprehended after a cross stolen from one of the first three churches was found in Parquette’s grandmother’s home, according to The Associated Press.

In a classroom at Woodland Baptist, “Teach children to worship Satan!!” was scrawled with red paint on the wall, along with an upside-down pentagram. The church is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Amid the attacks, Concord Baptist Church in Salem , also an SBC church, was vandalized.

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For now, the congregation, which averages 80–100 on Sunday mornings, is meeting in the local Woodland Christian School .

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“The smoke went into the blocks of that old building, and so much was lost that the people would rather just tear it down and start over,” Watford said. “Some of the older members [were] saddened because some of them had been there as long as the church had been there, but we’re looking forward to what the Lord is going to do.”

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As for the Providence Baptist fire, officials are working to chase down the culprits.

“The officials say they have gotten some really good fingerprints, footprints and tire prints,” said pastor Allen Foster, noting that his church is thankful that the sanctuary — located just feet from the charred remains of its neighboring buildings — suffered some vandalism but little else.

The arsonists attempted to set fire to the sanctuary on the downstairs level, but the fire burned half a poster of the books of the Bible and went out, Foster said.

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