Early in the morning on Sunday, July 23, the Community Unitarian Universalist Church in Plano, TX was firebombed by a person or persons still unknown.
According to a post on the church’s website later that day, “an incendiary device with a chemical accelerant was thrown or placed at the front doors of the main church building. The fire and smoke caused the monitored fire alarm system for the building to go off, which notified church personnel. The City of Plano 911 system received a call from a passerby who saw the fire at the same time. City of Plano Firefighters arrived on the scene and were able to extinguish the fire.”
Thankfully, the church says “the damage to the church property was limited to the front doors, the materials directly outside the front doors, and the entrance foyer. There were no injuries.” (A YouTube video report from Fox4 Dallas-Fort Worth News contains images of the damage).
But while all that is good news, the incident came just a few weeks after the church experienced another uncomfortable event, which it characterized as an “intrusion of a hate group in the church building during and after Worship Service on Sunday, June 25.”
According to an NBC News report, the visit was from right-wing YouTuber Bo Alford, who posted a video of his visit to the church, titled “We acted LGBT at LGBT Church,” on July 12. The NBC story said the video shows Alford and two friends “stand by the church sign and ask viewers to “pray for these people,” calling the church “pagan and satanic.”” But the video was later removed from YouTube and Alford, in an email quoted by NBC, said, “First and foremost, my prayers go out to anyone effected [sic] by the fire” and “My channel spreads the message of Jesus and his love for us…The fact we are being labeled as a hate group and being tied to this fire in any way is appalling.”
The church says the fire investigation is still ongoing. “Church officials have been reviewing building security and working with the Plano Police Department,” it said in its news post.
Finally, in another post two days later, the church also expressed its thanks to the many people who have sent messages of support in the wake of the firebombing. “As we recover and rebuild,” said the post, “we are focused on attending to the needs of the congregation…We truly appreciate all who have reached out to us. We are still here, drawing on our resilience and resolve to hold out hope for ourselves and this world.”
If you would like to send a message of support to the Community Unitarian Universalist Church, you can reach it via email at email@example.com, on Facebook or Instagram, by phone at (972) 424-8989, or via postal mail at:
Community Unitarian Universalist Church
2875 East Parker Road
Plano, TX 75074
Monetary donations to the congregation’s Security and Repair fund can also be made here.
A disturbing event such as this is also a reminder for us all to be attentive to the threat of right wing extremism in our own neighborhood. Hate group activity has increased nationally, in Greater LA, and even in Santa Monica during the past few years.