A controversial sign displayed outside a church in Virginia has caused a number of congregants to stage a walkout in protest of the senior pastor.
Pastor E.W. Lucas of Friendship Baptist Church in Appomattox chose to erect a sign which read, "America: Love it or leave it,” in response to President Trump’s controversial comments about four first-year House Democrats.
Addressing the quartet of freshman lawmakers, three of whom were born in the United States, Trump suggested that they should “go back” to the places where they came from.
“So interesting to see “Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run,” the president tweeted. “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
Agreeing emphatically with the President’s sentiment, pastor Lucas has been experiencing some backlash for endorsing such a message, which many have said is plainly “racist.”
"I thought I was going to make some remarks regarding the situation in Washington," Lucas told ABC-7. "It just came to me... America, I love it. If you don't love it, leave it.'"
But far from being swayed by the public demonstration of protest, the pastor says he fundamentally believes in the message and has refused to remove the display.
“Preachers, by and large, today, are afraid they're gonna hurt somebody's feelings, and when I get in the pulpit, I'm afraid I won't hurt somebody's feelings,” he explained, noting that those who disagree with Trump on the issue and espouse anti-American sentiments should “go over there and live in these other countries for a little while.”
"I've tried to be honest," the pastor said, according to ABC-13. "I've tried to do what's right. But I believe in my country. I love my country. And I don't mind standing up for the country."
“I’m staying until the Lord gets ready for me to leave,” he concluded.
Photo courtesy: ABC-7
Video courtesy: ABC-7
Will Maule is a British journalist who has spent the past several years working as a digital news editor. Since earning a degree in international relations and politics, Will has developed a particular interest in covering ethical issues, human rights and global religious persecution. Will's work has been featured in various outlets including The Spectator, Faithwire, CBN News, Spiked, The Federalist and Christian Headlines. Follow him on Twitter at @WillAMaule.