Community members suspect the fire that destroyed the South Bloomingville Christian Church last Thursday night was the work of an arsonist upset that the house of worship welcomed LGBT parishioners.
The church was built in 1854, when it was first used as a primary school. It was converted into a Methodist church in the 1920s, but stood empty for decades. It was purchased in 2010 by Rev. Scott Davis, who started services there last year.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office said in a statement that a cause has not been determined officially, but reports of a man on the scene—and past attacks on the church—are fueling talk of arson.
Davis said he suspects arson because he has received many death threats in the past. “It’s because this is a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender church, and people around here don’t agree with it.”
Davis said he welcomes all people to the church, regardless of faith, sexual orientation or race. There are approximately 30 locals who attend on a regular basis.
The good reverend isn’t going to let the tragedy deter his mission to provide spiritual guidance to all: “I plan on rebuilding as soon as possible,” Davis tells the Logan Daily. “As soon as the money for the insurance comes through and this is all cleaned up, there will be a new church.”
Clearly, the blame hear lies with groups like the Family Research Council and the Traditional Values Coalition, who put a target on Davis’ church by fostering at atmosphere of anger and violence.