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Community Church of Chesterland in Chesterland.png
Community Church of Chesterland in Chesterland
Community Church of Chesterland in Chesterland.png
Community Church of Chesterland in Chesterland
Church News

Man jailed for attempting to burn down a church that hosts drag shows

by Kelly Valencia

A man in the US state of Ohio has been jailed for throwing explosives at a church that had a drag show in a list of events planned for the month.

According to court documents, Aimenn Penny threw Molotov cocktails at the Community Church of Chesterland in Chesterland, to prevent congregants from entering the building.

The 20-year-old pleaded guilty to church arson and admitted his attack was motivated by anger to see the church hosting drag shows.

Penny has now been sentenced to 18 years in prison and ordered to pay $10,507 (£8,285).

"This sentence holds Mr. Penny accountable for carrying out violence against an Ohio church because he disagreed with the way congregants chose to express their beliefs," Assistant Attorney General Matthew G Olsen of the Justice Department's National Security Division said.

He continued: "Such acts of extremist violence have no place in our communities, and the Justice Department is committed to bringing to justice those who would use or threaten violence to prevent their fellow citizens from freely exercising their fundamental rights."

According to USA Today, he insisted during his sentencing that he acted in an effort to "protect children" and said he did not believe that men should be dressing as women or vice versa.

In a statement published on the church's Facebook page, the congregation said they were "relieved to finally embrace some closure" but did not "celebrate Mr Penny's sentence".

"It is a tragedy that ignorance and hate is going to put this young man's life on hold for almost 20 years. It is also tragic that progressive churches, synagogues, and mosques must expend so much energy and resources on vigilance against the violence of small-minded people.

"These are frightening times. We took a hit; it forced us to evaluate the safety of our congregation. We made necessary investments and changes, and we are coming out of this past year as determined as ever to serve underrepresented communities. Thank you to everyone who has supported us, and thank you to the federal agencies and representatives who helped us to navigate this event," the statement concluded.

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