The 111-year-old Hopewell Baptist Church of Greenville, Mississippi was burned on the night of November 1, 2016, and graffiti left behind on the walls seemed to initially point to the crime being either politically or hate motivated. The community was in shock and vowed to be resilient and defiant, not resisting until the culprit was found and brought to justice.
While the community was looking for an outsider, a political dissident set on making a statement in the name of the Republican candidate for president, they should have been looking within the loving arms of the church family that had been offended.
The arsonist was, in fact, one of their own, and more importantly, the Vote Trump Arsonist has been captured and charged with the crime.
Congregation Member was to Blame
According to authorities Andrew McClinton, 45, of Leland, Mississippi set the fire that destroyed the church. The Vote Trump arsonist, who was a member of the congregation, is a man who has been in trouble with the law before. He has served almost 20 years in prison for various crimes in three separate stints since 1992.
The most severe of these was armed robbery for which he served eight years getting out of jail in 2012. McClinton lived only six miles from the church and had been a member for a couple of years. He is in the custody of the Washington County Correctional Facility awaiting trial for his crime. Representatives of his family were not available for comment.
Not a Hate Crime
One thing is for certain in this very strange turn of events, the state of Mississippi has chosen not to charge McClinton with a hate crime. However, the federal government can decide to pursue an indictment against McClinton, charging him with a federal hate crime.
In another twist, it has been reported that the purported Vote Trump arsonist had actually volunteered to be interviewed as a person of interest immediately after the fire occurred. Despite the official position of not charging the Vote Trump Arsonist with a hate crime, the community does not feel the same way.
Errick D. Simmons, Mayor of Greenville, said Wednesday in reference to the church burning:
“This is a direct assault on the Hopewell congregation’s right to freely worship. There is no place for this heinous and divisive behavior in our city. We won’t rest until this person is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Indeed the community has taken the attack on the church very personally, whether the official title of a hate crime is applied or not.
False Flag Attempt Gone Awry
While the Vote Trump Arsonist has officially decided to remain silent as to his motivations, sources close to the situation have stated that McClinton, who was an unyielding Hillary Clinton supporter, may have committed the crime as a type of false flag operation.
His intention, reportedly, was to make the crime look like it had been undertaken by white extremist supporters of Donald Trump. The final goal was to rally the community around a landslide vote effort for Hillary Clinton.
Whatever the motivation of the Vote Trump Arsonist, the result was not a tearing down of a building, but the rising of hope among a congregation that will come back out of the ashes stronger than ever, and with more love and forgiveness than any could have thought possible.
Since the fire, the congregation has been holding services at a predominately white Baptist church nearby, which just goes to show that love does really trump hate, or in this case, it trumps an arsonist.
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