Police in Plano, Texas, are investigating what they call “an intentionally set fire” at a Unitarian Universalist church Sunday, just weeks after an anti-LGBTQ Christian YouTuber visited the church, pretended to be part of the LGBTQ+ community, and then posted a video to YouTube calling the church “pagan and satanic.”
A passerby spotted flames coming from Community Unitarian Universalist Church just after midnight, Plano Fire-Rescue said in a statement.
The church called the incident “a firebomb attack” in a statement on its Facebook page, saying “an incendiary device with a chemical accelerant was thrown or placed at the front doors of the main church building.” The alarm system went off, and firefighters responded quickly and put out the flames, so damage was minimal, and no one was injured.
The post also referred to the visit from right-wing content creator Bo Alford, who goes by “bodittle” on social media, less than a month earlier.
“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 on Sunday, June 25,” the post continued. “That group has posted video of their activities inside the church on various social media sites.”
Alford describes himself as a “Believer of Christ YouTuber/Boxer/Pro Lib Troller” on his social media bios. He often trolls LGBTQ+ people and their allies, NBC News notes.
In the YouTube video, titled “We acted LGBT at LGBT Church,” Alford, fellow YouTuber Cassady Campbell and another man film themselves visiting the Plano church. They ask the congregation about their beliefs while in their words, “pretending to be LGBTQ” with the goal of “testing” the church’s theology and exposing “false teachers.”
At the end of the video, the men stand by the church sign and ask viewers to “pray for these people,” calling the church “pagan and satanic.”
In an email, Alford said, “First and foremost, my prayers go out to anyone effected by the fire. As to the accusations, My channel spreads the message of Jesus and his love for us. If you watch the video you will see the members of the church having nothing but nice things to say about us. She enjoyed our conversation and even ended it with a hug. The fact we are being labeled as a hate group and being tied to this fire in any way is appalling.”