A minister is standing tall and proud amid the firestorm he created with a pro-America message he posted on the sign outside Friendship Baptist Church in Appomattox, Virginia.
Shortly after President Donald Trump told a quartet of dissident Democrats to “go back” to where they came from if they were not prepared to support America, Pastor E.W. Lucas waded into the controversy.
Lucas has been using the sign outside the church to send a message to the world ever since he and his wife started the church in 1979.
“I thought I was going to make some remarks regarding the situation in Washington,” Lucas said, according to WSET.
Finally, the right words came.
“It just came to me. I just said, ‘America, I love it. If you don’t love it, leave it,'” he said.
Pastor E. W. Lucas and his wife shared how he has put up signs since he started Friendship Baptist Church in 1979. “I thought I was going to make some remarks regarding the situation in Washington. It just came to me… ‘America, I love it. If you don’t love it, leave it.'” pic.twitter.com/xVEarle6Bd
— Valencia E. Jones (@vjreports3) July 17, 2019
The sign was first posted to read, “America: Love or Leave it.” It was later amended to: “America: Love It or Leave It.”
Lucas said Americans should realize what they have in America is something very special.
“People that feel hard about our president and want to down the president and down the country and everything, they ought to go over there and live in these other countries for a little while,” Lucas said.
The sign became a source of controversy on social media.
Every Christian in America revulsed by this ugly church sign must ask themself: what are you doing to actively fight Christofascism? Saying “not all Christians…” is not enough. We must each give an account of what we’re doing to break down systems of oppression. #SundayMorning pic.twitter.com/HZmwl8hRaS
— Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons (@GuthrieGF) July 21, 2019
I support the sign. The American Church has enough issues without adding the Commies to the mix. Communism is Satanic. Christians should love America. People should love America… Particularly after they accept Christ. Patriotism 101 bruh
— Kelly for the USA 🇺🇸 (@LadyKellDiva) July 17, 2019
When a church starts using KKK slogans
Friendship Baptist Church in Appomattox has changed their sign to say “America: Love or Leave it” pic.twitter.com/lXG9R5Svsf
— Munir A Hussein (@Munir566) July 19, 2019
The debate spilled over into the church as well.
Lucas said that this Sunday, some members of the church organized a walkout. The national attention the church was getting did not please everyone, Lucas told WSET.
Lucas, however, is not bending.
“I’ve tried to be honest. 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,” he said.
He also said being a pastor is not a popularity contest.
“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,” Lucas said.
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