DIVIDING LINE: FIRST THE FLAME, THEN THE BLAME

AS BLACK CHURCHES GO ON BURNING, MINISTERS AND MEMBERS GET THE THIRD DEGREE

When he first saw the smoldering ruins of his Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Fruitvale, Tennessee, on Jan. 13, 1995, the Rev. Sherron Eugene Brown could not imagine anything worse. Then the agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms went to work on him. "They took me and the church treasurer to the federal building, put us in two separate rooms and asked us all kinds of questions about our insurance policies, about whether we were behind in paying off our mortgage or if any members of the congregation were angry," Brown remembers. "They were acting as if we...

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