First was the Alabama church burnings, which have been dismissed as “just a joke,” but some evidence points to the fires as being religiously motivated. Now a Michigan woman and her husband were murdered after she witnessed to him on a phone chat line.

Two of the arson suspects Russell DeBusk and Ben Moseley were noted Satanists at their college. DeBusk’s roommate said they got in discussions often about religion, with DeBusk making it clear he was a Satanist. Another student said both mocked him as he walked from the campus chapel.

The other suspect, Matthew Cloyd apparently had a blog where he made “cryptically violent” comments and wrote a message to Moseley that read in part: “Let us defy the very morals of society instilled upon us by our parents, our relatives and of course Jesus.”

To be honest, it sounds like the guys liked the thought of being Satanists and enjoyed the “rebellion” of it, but they don’t seem like the goat-killing type. What college kid do you know that starts off a sentence with “Let us defy…” This may honestly be “just a joke,” but as Christianity Today’s blog notes:

What if these had been students at a Baptist college who had targeted theaters? Might religion be a bigger part of media coverage then? Or what if abortion clinics had been burned while other medical facilities had been untouched? Might reporters be asking more questions? Would we be so accepting of assurances that “this was just a joke that got out of hand”?

The other story may be even stranger. Melissa Berels was a devout Christian who used breaks at work to talk to people on phone chat lines about her faith. Patrick Selepak was one of the people Berels was attempting to help.

Police say those phone conversations are what led Selepak to murder Berels, who was 10 weeks pregnant and her husband. Their bodies were discovered wrapped and bound in plastic and stashed under a tarp in the couples’ bedroom.

Selepak and his fiancee Samantha Bachynski have been charged with the Berels murders and several other crimes. They are also expected to be charged with possibly two other murders.

Again this may be entirely coincidental to the victim’s faith. Selepak may just have been looking for generic people to murder, but he may not.

One or even two cases do not a trend make, but they can be part of a trend. It will be interesting to see if more attacks happen and if the media makes note of it.