Borough Confirms: Arson Destroyed Gettysburg Civil War Chapel; 'America's Chapel' Will Rebuild Despite Attacks on Religious Liberty

Dec 07, 2010, 10:16 ET from Liberty Institute

GETTYSBURG, Pa., Dec. 7, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Four days after the Gettysburg Log Chapel, a reconstructed Civil War Chapel, burned to the ground, the Borough of Gettysburg has officially confirmed that the fire was caused by arson.  

"We intend to rebuild what has become known as 'America's Chapel' with the support of people of faith around the Nation and, hopefully, the cooperation of the Borough of Gettysburg," said Hiram Sasser, director of litigation for Liberty Institute.  "While tragic, we also pray that the events of the last several days will serve as a reminder of the love of Christ and power of faith in this Christmas season.  We are confident that the authorities will find the responsible parties and bring them to justice."

The Gettysburg Log Chapel burned down at around 3:30 a.m. EST on Friday morning.  The Civil War Chapel, constructed of rough-cut lumber by John Wega and his family, was erected on a vacant lot in 2006 with the necessary permits from the Borough of Gettysburg.  The Chapel originally consisted of a foundation, two fences, and a tent, and later additions included stabilizing beams in the roof and eventually a tin roof.  In May 2010, months after these additions were complete, the Borough of Gettysburg sent Wega a letter demanding the removal of the Chapel for unspecific reasons.  Then in July, the Adams County Chamber of Commerce gave the Chapel a Beautification Award.  

"We hope the campaign of harassment and condemnation against the Gettysburg Chapel will also finally come to an end," said Kelly Shackelford, president/CEO of Liberty Institute.  "Regrettably, the past hostile attitude toward the Chapel exhibited by some public officials helped create an atmosphere of hateful license that contributed to the Chapel's destruction. That is unacceptable."

Just over two weeks ago, Liberty Institute sent a letter to the Borough on behalf of the Chapel following the Borough's notice to vacate.  The many supporters of the Civil War Chapel also announced the launch of a public campaign to help save the Chapel and are asking people to sign a petition of support and donate to help rebuild the Chapel. Visit for more information.

Editor's Note: B-roll and photos available.

SOURCE Liberty Institute