A Review of the Movie "Little Hope Was Arson"
Hope was Arson
by Theo Love
This documentary is about
someone setting fire to churches in East Texas in 2010. In all, ten churches
were burned within the period of about one month, creating fear in the
community. The fire at the first church, Little Hope Baptist Church, was
thought to be the result of an electrical failure until the police found this
message scrawled on the bathroom wall of a hardware store: “Little Hope Was
The movie follows the
intense investigation into the church fires by a variety of law enforcement
agencies, all working together. Finally, on the basis of two different kinds of
shoe prints and DNA evidence, the police arrested two suspects, Jason Bourgue
and Daniel McAllister. McAllister admitted to starting some of the fires with
his friend, Bourgue, but Bourgue claims that he does not remember setting the
fires. McAllister was close to his mother and when she died he blamed God.
Two years after his
mother’s death, his father attempted suicide. Again Daniel blamed God. When he
got involved with drugs and was ostracized by his family, he again blamed God. Bourgue
also had problems. His mother was a drug user, leaving him to be raised by his
grandmother and grandfather. Eventually he too used drugs, including a
prescription medication to help him stop smoking. Jason claims when he wakes up
he cannot tell if his memories are real or simply a dream.
At the end of the
movie, some members of the congregations of the churches that were burned
forgave the arsonists, while others did not. Some members wanted forgiveness
and others wanted justice. The movie reminds us of such values as forgiveness,
justice, truthfulness, repentance, love, and so on. The movie, however, does
not give the viewer any definite answers regarding these values.
— Bilal Yorulmaz
Yorulmaz, Bilal (2014) "Little Hope Was Arson," Journal of Religion & Film: Vol. 18: Iss. 1, Article 30.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/jrf/vol18/iss1/30