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Church member charged for burning, vandalizing church in Trump’s name

The bishop was unaware of the member’s involvement.


Samantha Grasso


A member of the Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Greenville, Mississippi was arrested Wednesday for suspected arson of the black church that was spray painted with the words “Vote Trump” on Nov. 1.

The Associated Press reports that Andrew McClinton is charged with first-degree arson of a place of worship, according to a spokesman for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety. He’s scheduled to make an initial court appearance on Thursday.

The state fire marshal told the AP that investigators don’t think the fire was politically motivated, and have yet to reveal a possible motive for why McClinton would vandalize and commit arson to the church.

Hopewell Bishop Clarence Green told AP that McClinton is a congregation member, but he didn’t know about McClinton’s arrest until being contacted for comment. 

After the arson in November, the Hopewell congregation moved services to a chapel at a predominantly white church in the town. Church leaders have said that the Hopewell church will more than likely be razed. 

The day after the arson a GoFundMe page was created to assist the church with repairs and had raised nearly $170,000, far beyond its initial $10,000 goal. The campaign has since been removed from the crowdfunding site.

“There is no place for this heinous and divisive behavior in our city,” Greenville Mayor Errick D. Simmons said. “We will not rest until the culprit is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We take pride in our work to have a unified city and we look forward in continuing that work.”

Read the full AP report here.

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