On Friday, a man wearing a “GOD” shirt tried to burn down The Satanic Temple’s headquarters in Salem, Massachusetts. And there are pictures.
Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves said they’re figuring out how much damage occurred outside the house, but thankfully, the fire didn’t get inside. There were people inside the building when the arson occurred.
Daniel Lucey faces charges of arson, interfering with civil rights, and vandalism to a place of worship, Salem police Lieutenant Dennis Gaudet said.
Lucey, whose middle name is ironically “Damien,” apparently came from out of town specifically to commit this hate crime. It’s not just me saying that. Lucey literally said that’s what he was trying to commit, which I’m sure is what every defense attorney wants to hear.
If there’s any silver lining here, besides the fact that no one was hurt and the damage was minimal, it’s that there’s been an outpouring of support, from the mayor of Salem to various religious groups, all opposing the attempted hate crime.
Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll put out a statement about the blaze, thanking police and fire responders, and adding, “On behalf of the City of Salem, we condemn this hateful attack. Salem is a welcoming place, and the actions of this individual are not reflective of who we are or our values as a community.”
Lucey hasn’t publicly offered a more detailed explanation for what he did, but whatever his motive, what would it have accomplished? Did he think Satanists would disappear? That God would reward him for his actions? That he’d be praised by other Christians? Does he think Satanists are afraid of fire?! If anything, he’s only generated more positive press for the group he was trying to attack.
While it’s not clear what church or denomination Lucey belonged to, it doesn’t seem like his shirt was meant to throw people off the scent. He really does appear to be a Christian. Greaves told me last night that pages of the Bible were also found on the scene “littering the front of the house.” Lucey left those there as if his other message wasn’t quite enough. (The police, Greaves said, took some of those “partially burned” pages into evidence.)
All of it could have an impact on his case. We’ll find out soon enough. Lucey will likely appear in front of a judge early this week.