A church in Mississippi that burned down in what authorities say was an arson attack had previously defied the city’s stay-at-home order and was suing officials over lockdown measures.

The First Pentecostal Church of Holly Springs on Highway 178 was destroyed in a fire in the early hours on Wednesday, WMC reported.

According to the station, investigators found evidence that the fire was intentionally set, including graffiti in the church parking lot that said “Bet you stay home now you hypokrits (sic).”

Jerry Waldrop, who has been the church’s pastor for more than 30 years, told the WMC that the church has “no enemies that we know of.”

He said: “We don’t know anyone that we even think could be capable of doing something like this.”

COVID-19 church protest
A group of protestors flout social distancing guidelines to demand that churches be allowed to reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic at a protest in San Diego, California on May 1, 2020.SANDY HUFFAKER/AFP/GETTY

Last month, the church filed a federal lawsuit against Holly Springs challenging the city’s stay-at-home order.

The Daily Journal reported that police ordered church members to disperse during Easter Sunday services on April 12 and then again during a Bible study session on April 22.

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