1. Were Baptist church attacks really "just a joke"?
You've probably already heard that police arrested three college students for the arsons of nine Baptist churches in Alabama. And you've probably heard that they did it just "as a joke" without any religious or racial motives. You may have heard Alabama Gov. Bob Riley say, "We don't think there is any kind of organized conspiracy against religion or against the Baptists. The faith-based community can rest a little easier."
That's very good news. But is it really true? Details in some Birmingham News reports raise some questions:
Friends said [suspects Russell DeBusk] and Ben Moseley were Satanists, which DeBusk told friends was "not about worshipping the devil, but about the pursuit of knowledge," according to [DeBusk's college roommate, Jeremy] Burgess.
Burgess said he and DeBusk discussed religion loosely, debating whether pets go to heaven and what heaven looks like. "He told me I was one of the more intelligent Christians he's talked to," Burgess said. "Coming from a Satanist, I didn't know quite how to interpret that."
Ian Cunningham, a sophomore who lived in the same dorm as DeBusk, recalled returning from the campus chapel recently to snide remarks about being saved from DeBusk and Moseley. "He would constantly mock me," Cunningham said of DeBusk.
Another News article looks at suspect Matthew Cloyd:
After he got a speeding ticket85 mph in a 70 zonehis Web site musings grew cryptically violent. In a posting to Moseley last summer as the two planned a road trip, he wrote, "Let us defy the very morals of society instilled upon us by our parents, our relatives and of course Jesus."
The only other paper, it seems, to have picked up on this theme is ...1