Think About It Series: By Carl Chinn
The week of Sunday, 4/28 through Friday, 5/3 was a revealing, while not abnormal, look at church crimes across the U. S. Had I not been getting on a plane and preparing for the Sheepdog Seminar in Texas, I would have selected an example for Saturday as well.
On Sunday, 4/28/13 -- 24-year-old Lawrence Capener went wild with a knife in the St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church in Albuquerque, NM. As he rushed the platform where the choir was singing "Take My Hand, Precious Lord", he was going over the pews. As he made it to the stage, he yelled, “Fake preacher!” After stabbing four choir members (who are expected to survive), church members overpowered him and held him down as they waited for law enforcement to arrive.
At 5:30 AM on Monday April 29th -- an alert citizen observed a man climbing a pole beside the Good Shepherd Church in Royal Oak, MI. Police surrounded the church, and with the help of a K-9 unit discovered 45-year old Paul E. Murray hiding in the basement of the church where he was arrested for breaking and entering.
On Tuesday night April 30th -- a surveillance camera captured the face of 25-year-old William Hutto as he broke into the Albany Baptist Church in Albany, GA. It was the 2nd time that church had been burglarized in three days. Hutto has now been charged with three more church burglaries in the same county.
On Wednesday May 1st -- Corinth, TX Pastor Jeffery Dale Williams of The Church of Corinth was arrested for attempted sexual performance on a child. The incident had occurred a month prior, but enough evidence had accumulated during that time for an arrest. If the charges are true, it is one of many despicable examples of abuse by a person of trust. If the charges are a malicious fabrication, it is one of the many ways religious leaders are attacked.
On Thursday May 2nd -- FBI and IRS agents stormed the Swedenborgian Church on the Hill in Beacon Hill, MA saying, “Nobody move, nobody leave.” After several hours the federal agents were seen carrying boxes of evidence out to vehicles. It all appears to have something to do with a church employee and is said to not be connected to the nearby recent Marathon bombing.
On Friday May 3rd -- in Centralia, WA a house on the property of the Church of the Nazarene was intentionally set on fire around 03:30 AM. As firefighters were responding to that blaze, another arson broke out a mile away. Local authorities are asking for the public’s help.
Think About it:
- From the Pacific coast to the Atlantic and from Canada to Mexico -- stuff happens at churches.
- In all denominations; Catholic, Protestant and “non-denominational” -- stuff happens at churches.
- During services and during non-event times – from early morning hours until late at night and on any day of the week -- stuff happens at churches.
- From deadly force incidents, to lesser crimes -- stuff happens at churches.
- From intruders, occasional attendees, strangers and pastors themselves -- stuff happens at churches.
- Whether a one-time spontaneous outburst or another crime in a series -- stuff happens at churches.