Greenbelt Interfaith News
    U.S. Brief

    July 31, 1997

    Church Arson Task Force Sees No Conspiracy

    There is no evidence of a nationwide conspiracy to burn churches, the National Church Arson Task Force announced on June 10. The task force was set up in June 1996 by the United States government after a large number of houses of worship became victims of arson or bombings; nearly forty percent of the houses of worship had predominantly black congregations. The task force, which is investigating 429 incidents dating back to January 1, 1995, has concluded that the houses of worship were attacked for a variety of reasons, "including not only blatant racism or religious hatred, but also financial profit, burglary and personal revenge."

    Assistant Treasury Secretary James Johnson stated that the number of church burnings has "fallen dramatically" since the task force was established, but he said that "the work of the task force is far from over."

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    ©1997 Heather Elizabeth Peterson