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Still no arrests and little interest in arson at Sarah Palin's church, as reopening nears

January 27, 2009 |  1:22 am

Wasilla Bible Church, home house of worship for Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, was virtually destroyed by a suspicious fire Friday-Saturday. Services have been moved to a nearby middle school

The ongoing Sarah Palin blogosphere is abuzz this week with some good news and some bad news about the chief executive hockey mom with the five kids, one grandchild and lipstick.

The governor's recent state budget drew favorable reviews from state newspapers. But the big news is that Palin's home church, the Wasilla Bible Church, which attracted considerable media attention and controversy during her run as Republican vice presidential candidate and subsequently was torched by an arsonist(s) last month, will reopen for services this Sunday.

The congregation, which moved into its church building just 31 months ago, has been meeting in a nearby middle school. But the pastor, Larry Kroon, now reports that repairs are sufficiently accomplished that worshipers can return to the main building Feb. 1, their own local Super Bowl Sunday.

He also reports that a special volunteer group of parishioners has had to be organized to handle the volume of handwrAlaska Republican Governor Sarah Palin whose church will reopen Sunday after an arson attackitten thank-yous necessary to address the many people and organizations that reached out to the Alaska church with good wishes and even donations after the apparent hate crime.

While women and children were participating in a Friday night crafts group in early December, someone set a massive fire with an accelerant by the front door. Everyone escaped uninjured through other exits, but it took firefighters from several communities most of the night to quell the flames in minus-20-degree weather.

Gov. Palin publicly apologized the same day in case the attack was "in any way connected to the undeserved negative attention the church has received" from her participation in Sen. John McCain's GOP presidential campaign.

"Someone lit a match," said Kroon, "and God came back with a whole lot of grace." (See the local KTUU-TV video below.)

Over on the ever-alert Sarah Palin blog, they're asking the provocative question:

What if, oh, say, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago had been assaulted by arsonists after videos of his controversial anti-American sermons surfaced last year and Democrat Barack Obama supported him in a widely hailed Philadelphia speech on race? Does anyone think that nearly seven weeks would pass with no major media coverage or government investigative progress report on such a crime?

Yes, Wasilla is 40 miles farther away than Anchorage from major urban centers in the lower 48. But ...

"This is an ugly case of media bias again directed at Sarah Palin," the blog charges, "and the church is quite literally collateral damage. It was the media attacks and attention on this church that may have made it a target and, if that is true, the media fanned the flames of hate. To follow up that irresponsibility by remaining silent after the crime is all but despicable."

What do you think?

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Hat Tip: Sarah Palin for President blog.

Top photo: Wasilla Bible Church. Credit: Al Grillo / Associated Press

Bottom photo: Alaska Republican Gov. Sarah Palin. Credit: EPA

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