Pro-LGBTQ+ church set on fire following video of visit by right-wing YouTuber
A pro-LGBTQ+ church in Texas has been set on fire after it featured in a video made by a right-wing, Christian YouTuber.
Authorities are currently investigating what they have described as an “intentionally set fire” at the Community Unitarian Universalist Church, in Plano, just weeks after it was featured in an anti-LGBTQ+ video.
The YouTuber involved has denied any involvement in the fire, and authorities have not suggested any direct link between him and the incident.
Plano Fire-Rescue said in a statement that a passer-by spotted flames coming from the front door of the building early on Sunday (23 July), which were quickly extinguished. There were no reports of any injuries.
The department told NBC News it was working with the city’s police department on a criminal investigation.
Members of the church asked for “support and prayers” from local citizens.
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“Church officials have been reviewing building security and working with the Plano police department since the intrusion of a hate group in the church building during and after worship service,” they said.
Bo Alford, known by his social media handle “Bodittle”, reportedly attended a Sunday service at the church in June where he provoked members of the congregation about their pro-LGBTQ+ beliefs.
In the since-deleted video, published on 12 July, Alford and fellow YouTuber Cassady Campbell, as well as another man, said they wished to expose “false teachers”, while describing the church as “pagan and satanic.”
Denying any involvement or connection with the attack, Alford said: “If you watch the video, you will see members of the church having nothing but nice things to say about us. The fact we are being labelled as a hate group and being tied to this fire in any way is appalling.”
Alford, who describes himself as a “pro lib troller” often posts videos targeting LGBTQ+ people and churches.
His most recent LGBTQ-related video sees him enter a progressive megachurch in Nashville, Tennessee, and argue with the lead pastor, who later sought to stop the clip being published.
A police spokesperson told the Dallas Morning News that the department “cannot confirm” whether the fire was a hate crime, but the investigation is ongoing.
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