A church in Lebanon, Missouri, recently came under fire for promoting a youth-led bonfire in which participants will "burn books and ungodly artifacts."
This being Missouri, people interpreted that to mean the church would host a Nazi-style book burn. The church's Facebook post about the burning-book bonfire has drawn 533 shares, most of them incredulous. (With elected officials who all but champion the burning of texts here, who can really blame them?)
But the lead pastor of the Emmanuel Chapel, Dusty Hill, insists the church's bonfire scheduled for Halloween night is not a political event. They don't plan on torching American history, English books or anything of the sort, Hill says.
Harry Potter books, tarot cards, Ouija boards, pornography, or anything else considered "ungodly," on the other hand? They take no issue with cremating those. Hill's church chooses not to celebrate Halloween, and Hill himself associated the holiday with nefarious activities carried out by the Satanic Church.
On Halloween, Emmanuel Chapel will simply burn whatever God moves them to burn, Hill says.
"I said to someone in the comments, 'If God told me to burn the book Clifford the Big Red Dog, then I'd burn the book Clifford the Big Red Dog,'" Hill tells the RFT.
"If God lays it on your heart to burn, you can burn it," Hill later added.
The church won't provide anything to burn, and they may burn nothing at all if all participants come empty-handed, Hill says. Youth are just encouraged to bring whatever it is they're struggling with — and then throw into the fire.
"It's not to condemn anyone or bring conviction upon anyone," Hill adds. "I don't want anyone to feel like we're attacking them, because we're not. That's not our intent at all."
You know, just a fun bonfire of ungodly stuff. And some books, maybe. No big deal in Missouri.
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