Update 12/7/10. I have received the news, as suspected, this fire indeed was caused by arson. Please read the update on my new diary.
Please see my previous post, "Gettysburg wants to kick God out of town, threatens historic Civil War chapel" for background.
This morning the Borough of Gettysburg, the Borough Historical Architectural Review Board (HARB) and many residents critical of this little Civil War chapel got their wish: the chapel along with several other structures adjacent burned to the ground.
Here is a slideshow of the fire as it was happening.
The chapel has been "under fire" literally when the Borough inspection service issued a "cease and desist" letter several days before the chapel was to have it's final service of the season on November 21: "Remembrance Day" for all those who perished at Gettysburg. Liberty Institute and Wilmer Hale, a DC law firm had been working with the Borough in an attempt to resolve this issue. Until now. But things have changed.
My original story did get the attention of FoxNation, most of the 98 comments were positive but of course we have the usual folks who are against, and our resident nuts. But the real eye-opener came from commenters in one of the Gettysburg local newspapers. It seems the Borough also "came under fire" because many of the residents had seen this diary on Fox and felt they just might need to make a response. I've been checking every day, and I've seen no response. However, let's take a look at some of the comments from the article:
Why is nobody talking about the way the boro tried to sidestep the rules in their construction project on the boro building, now people will see how this boro operates, do as I say not as I do. The rules are different for the council and their homes and businesess. How many times has King John written notes about his own house on his morning rounds? Wouldn't it be cool if the boro had to follow their own rules....
Very nice, positive comment. Here's another:
After attending a beautiful Sun. morning service
at The Civil War Chapel, It astounds me that the towns people of Gettysburg want to go against the law of the land.I thought churches were tax exempt. What is really going here ??? Does it have anything to do with their NO CASINO stand? The civil war roundtables and Veterans Organizations in Michigan will hear about this. This is Hallowed Ground as well that should remain. Is there a double standard here?
Michigan reeanactor and American
Another nice, positive comment. Now take a look at this one:
The Liberty Institute is a fringe Religious Right organization being assisted by WilmerHale, a large Washington DC law firm. Gettysburg should hire equally high-end public relations advisors to handle the publicity. This issue is clouded by the ignorant and uneducated local Bible-thumpers [emphasis mine] who don't know their rear ends from a hole in the ground. They should have their bungholes handed to them
Wow, now Christians are "fringe." Wonder what this guy would say if a mosque wanted to be erected there. And here's another equally as disturbing, this one after I placed a comment stating I was the writer of the diary that was receiving the attention:
Carol Greenberg wrote:
FYI, I am LadyImpactOhio who did the original post on RedState that made FoxNation and have the city council's panties in a knot.
I'm not gonna back down, just like Chaplain Wega and his attorneys.
And you're proud of that? You're just another lying witch [emphasis mine] who wants a name. Gettyburg is full of churches and is not trying to kick God out of town. You know, I hope it stays - the way it is now - and a nice big storm comes up and blows the building and it's saviours to hell - in splinters. And I won't back down. Good riddance to the lot of you.
Nice. Here is the link to the video about the fire. For whatever reason, it will not play here, but it will play on my personal website, linked at the bottom of this diary. And here is a link to another video where Chaplain Wega gives his comments. Unfortunately, there is no embed code for this one.
I have no doubt in my mind, as the news sources and coverage suggests, this fire was a result of the big "A WORD": ARSON. Yes, it will need to definitely be proven, but if it was arson they wanted it down badly enough that they didn't care that other buildings were burned and lives were endangered. Thankfully, no one was hurt. The Red Cross is involved however assisting families who are displaced in apartment buildings next to the chapel which were damaged.
Liberty Institute, a Conservative legal-assistance organization who was assisting in the defense of the chapel provided me with this statement today shortly after the fire. ATF and the FBI has been called in, as well as the National Church Arson Task Force.
“Earlier this morning we were shocked to learn that the Gettysburg Log Chapel and several other buildings were destroyed or severely damaged by fire. The circumstances of the fire are under investigation, but it appears that the fire may have been deliberately set. We contacted the FBI and have been told that ATF and other officials from the National Church Arson Task Force are joining the investigation. Burning down a church is a federal crime [emphasis mine] under the Church Arson Prevention Act of 1996.
The Gettysburg Log Chapel closed for the season in November per an agreement with Borough officials, and was secure and unoccupied at the time of the fire. Our prayers go out for those who have been affected by the fire, and for the First Responders on the scene.”
If this WAS arson, this is an unconscionable act. Apparently our "freedom of religion and 1st amendment rights" are under fire. Literally.
Congratulations, Gettysburg. I never thought the city who is home to one of the nation's most sacred shrines would stoop this low. However, apparently I was wrong.
I'll keep everyone updated.
Crossposted at Conservative Outlooks