Comments: Um....

"Baptist" covers a pretty wide variety of sects at this point, not to mention a pretty big slice of the Southern population: it would be possible to target ten churches at random in parts the South and get all Baptists without violating our sense of statistical reality.

In general, Baptists are a bit more conservative than, say, Episcopalians, but you'd have to look more closely at the specific churches. The fact that the congregational demographics vary widely suggests that, if the arsonist(s) are targetting Baptists, they're not being terribly discriminating (so to speak) about it.

Posted by Jonathan Dresner at February 12, 2006 11:21 AM

That was what I couldn't figure out. If there was some Baptist commonality that a person or group might be targeting, or if it was just churches and, as the article did say, the area is largely Baptist.

Thank you.

Posted by Anne at February 12, 2006 11:31 AM

Anne, We won't know why the arsonists have targetted these churches or these Baptist churches until the culprits have been found, so anything said before then is speculative. But, there's justification for specific national legislation in re churches because -- whether you like it or not -- they, not movie theaters, were where the civil rights mass meetings took place and they -- not movie theaters -- were specifically targetted by bombers and arsonists. State and local authorities could not be relied on to pursue those who bombed and burned black churches. It was important to give the federal authorities jurisdiction in cases that may involve violations of civil rights. As for why it is Baptist churches seem to have been targetted, we don't know -- but it helps to know that 50% of African Americans have been Baptists for as long as records have been kept.

Posted by Ralph Luker at February 12, 2006 03:27 PM

Fair enough. I was quite wrong, and I admit it.

Posted by Anne at February 13, 2006 09:01 PM