South Bloomville Christian Church in Hocking County, Ohio, was destroyed by a fire on Friday, August 17. Local authorities have determined that the blaze at the church was intentionally set and are offering a $5,000 reward for information about how the fire was set.
The leader of the church, Rev. Scott Davis, is quoted as saying that he believes the church was targeted for arson because of its welcome of LGBT people. He noted that many in the town were uncomfortable with having an LGBT-friendly church, but was baffled as to who would take the drastic step to commit arson.
The arson has received very little media attention outside of local media and LGBT blogs. If this inexcusable crime was motivated by anti-LGBT bias, it will be an other unfortunate example of such attacks. The Anti-Violence Project released a report stating that 2011 had the most attacks against LGBT people. Many of these attacks were against LGBT people of faith.
As Box Turtle Bulletin reports, the Liberty Institute and the Family Research council held a press conference on August 20 to issue a report on “The Survey of Religious Hostility in America.” They cite over 600 attacks on religious faith. Unfortunately, attacks on LGBT-friendly churches, like this arson in Ohio, will likely not be included.
The lack of media attention to LGBT-supportive faith communities continues to be a problem. Last fall, GLAAD released ‘Missing Voices,’ a study of religious voices discussing LGBT issues in the media. The study noticed a lack of LGBT-affirming religious people or messages, despite growing acceptance among many faith communities.
Thankfully, no one was injured in the arson on the church, but the damage was real. GLAAD asks the media to increase its coverage of violence against LGBT people, LGBT-friendly churches and places of worship, and LGBT organizations. The American people deserve to know the reality about violence in America and who are the true targets.
Photo from Debra Tobin, Logan Daily News