Culprit in Series of Black Church Arsons Charged with Hate Crimes

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by Jordan Hilger, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – Holden Matthews, the 21 year-old culprit in a series of Louisiana church arsons, was charged with three additional hate crimes Monday, in addition to the three prior counts of simple arson of a religious building with which he was charged at his arrest on April 11th.

St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre, and two Opelousas churches, Greater Union Baptist Church and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, were all burned down between March 26th and April 4th, stoking fears of racial unrest in an area of the country with a fraught history of arson attacks on black churches.

“This trauma resides deep within all of us, black and white, in America,” said former New Orleans Saints Tight End Ben Watson, who pledged to help in the rebuilding efforts.

“It is imperative that we show this community and the entire country that these types of acts do not represent who we are…as the body of Christ,” Watson tweeted.

A few days after the incident, YouTube videos of Matthews’ band “Pagan Carnage” came to light, with Matthews, the lead singer, belting out the lyrics “the holy church is now destroyed…burning down in Odin’s name,” as well as a Facebook conversation in which he expressed disdain for “all these [brainwashed] Baptists around here.”

The Louisiana state fire marshal’s office noted the “associated history” of black metal music with church burnings in Norway in the 1990s.

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