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- The First Congregational Church in Spencer, Massachusetts, burned down June 2 after it was struck by lightning. But the fire did not start during a same-sex wedding, nor were there any injuries reported.
The city’s fire chief told PolitiFact that the building was empty and locked when the fire started.
Some social media users tried to draw a link between a church fire and a same-sex wedding ceremony.
"Church burned by lightning in Boston in USA during a homosexual marriage 5th May, 2023. No survivors among the participants," reads text overlaid on a June 9 TikTok video, with footage showing a church engulfed in flames as its steeple crashes through the building.
A June 11 Twitter post made a similar claim, saying that the strike was God’s wrath: "Church burnt down by a lightning, in Boston, In the USA, during a marriage ceremony of homosexual couple. No survival from the participants. God still in control over Satan's counterfeits and attacks to God's instructions."
The footage of the church burning down is authentic, but the fire did not start during a same-sex wedding ceremony. The church was empty when the fire started, and no one was injured, according to officials.
The video of the church burning shows the First Congregational Church in Spencer, a central Massachusetts town about 55 miles outside of Boston.
The 160-year-old church burned down June 2 after it was struck by lightning when thunderstorms were moving through the area, local news outlets reported.
The church has shared positive messages about LGBTQ+ rights and Pride month on its Facebook page in the past, prompting criticism. But it wasn’t hosting a LGBTQ+ event — or any event at all — when the fire started.
Authorities and local journalists said there was no one inside the building and no injuries were reported in the fire, which drew nearly 100 firefighters from several different departments. Spencer Fire Chief Robert Parsons confirmed that to PolitiFact, writing in an email that the church was "empty and locked."
We rate the claim that a Boston church burned during "a homosexual marriage" and there were no survivors False.
TikTok post, June 9, 2023
Twitter post, June 11, 2023
WCVB-TV, Fire destroys First Congregational United Church in Spencer, Massachusetts, June 4, 2023
The Associated Press, Massachusetts church was not holding same-sex wedding when it was hit by lightning and burned down, June 12, 2023
Email interview, Robert Parsons, Spencer fire chief, June 15, 2023
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