Fact CheckMainstream

Reports about burnt USA church over homosexual marriage ceremony, false

Claim: A Twitter user claims a church got burnt by lightning in Boston, USA, during a marriage ceremony of a homosexual couple.

Verdict: False! Reports from local news websites indicate that the church did not burn during a homosexual marriage. Also, the incident occurred on June 2, 2023, and not May 5, 2023.

Full Text

A Twitter user @Mtetezimtetezi6 has claimed that a church got burnt in the USA by lightning because there was an ongoing marriage ceremony of a homosexual couple. 

The tweet, as published by the user, reads, “Church burnt down by lightning, in Boston, In the USA, during a marriage ceremony of a homosexual couple. No survival from the participants. God still controls Satan’s counterfeits and attacks on God’s instructions. Sodom and Gomorrah, VVIP, Sonko, Rigathi Gachagua.”

The tweet, made on June 11, 2023, has received over 130,000 views and over 600 likes. 

This fact-check report investigates the claim that a church fire was associated with a homosexual marriage ceremony held inside the church.

Verification

Firstly, DUBAWA decided to use google maps to find out if there is a church at the exact location where the reports claim the fire gutted. In our search, we found out that there is indeed a church called  First Congregational Church of Spencer at 207 Main Street in Boston. On google maps, it was revealed that the church had been temporarily closed. 

On the church website, it is also indicated that the church has been temporarily closed. The service is also relocated to the First Congregational Church of Leicester. 

Source: spencerchurch.org.

Upon conducting an extensive search, DUBAWA was directed to a local news website in Boston called Boston 25 News, where reporters Jason Law and Timothy Nazzaro revealed that, indeed, the First Congregational Church of Spencer in Boston in the USA got burnt on June 2, 2023. According to the report, investigators revealed that the fire was caused by lightning.

A similar report can also be found as published on 7News.com. According to 7News.com reporter James Paleologopoulos, the lightning caused the fire in the church.  In the report, he quoted the Spencer Fire Department and Massachusetts State Police Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit in the area, which attributed the fire incident to a lightning strike. Boston Herald, another local news portal, also had similar reports.  

“Flames that consumed a 160-year-old Spencer, Massachusetts, the church was sparked by a lightning strike, investigators said Monday,” a report by wcvb.com stated.

“That conclusion was confirmed through an investigation conducted by the Spencer Fire Department, Fire District 7, and the State Police Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit, according to the state fire marshal’s office,” the report added.

However,  none of the reports pointed to a marriage ceremony between homosexuals in the church just before the lightning struck. Boston 25 News reported that the Interim Pastor at First Congregational Church of Spencer at 207 Main Street in Boston, USA, Rev. Bruce MacLeod revealed that no one was in the church when the fire began. 

Given this, it is untrue that the fire occurred in the church because of a homosexual marriage ceremony. There is also no report of casualty as contained in the viral claim.

In a related development, a Facebook user Truth Unveiling Ministries, has also attributed a video of a man allegedly making blasphemous words against God as the reason for the church getting burnt down by lightning.                                                                                                            

In the claim, the user indicated that the video of the man allegedly uttering blasphemous words against God was published on June 22, 2022, on Facebook. 

Even though DUBAWA’s checks revealed that the man in the video is Rev. Bruce MacLeod, the Interim Pastor of the church, the claim made by the Facebook user that the pastor allegedly made those blasphemous words on June 22, 2022, is false. This is because a search through the church’s Facebook page revealed no publication of the said video on that date.

However, DUBAWA searched through the 144 videos published on its Facebook page to find the exact date the pastor allegedly made those blasphemous words but found nothing. 

Even though Yandex image searches with screenshots generated by the Invid Verification tool could not locate the exact video, DUBAWA can’t confirm if the pastor’s words were the reason for the church being burnt down by lightning. 

Conclusion

Based on the information gathered, no credible evidence supports the claim that a church fire occurred because of a homosexual marriage ceremony inside a church or of a blasphemous comment by the pastor.

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