Congregation walks out in protest of pastor’s ‘America: Love or leave it’ sign

Pastor E. W. Lucas
Pastor E. W. Lucas (inset) of Friendship Baptist Church in Appomattox, Va., and his controversial sign. |

A Virginia pastor is now facing backlash from his congregation after he publicly promoted a church sign that reads, “America: Love or leave it."

Pastor E. W. Lucas of Friendship Baptist Church in Appomattox said during the Sunday service, some members of his church instigated a walkout because of the negative national attention his church has received, according to an interview with ABC 13. He is refusing, however, to back down from his position.

"I've tried to be honest," Lucas said. "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."

Lucas' church sign came after President Donald Trump suggested in controversial tweets that four congresswomen — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass. — should "go back" to where they came from if they disagreed with his policies and "help fix the totally broken and crime infested places" and "then come back and show us how it is done."

Three of the congresswomen are U.S. citizens.

Some identified Trump's tweets as a racist trope.

“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,” Trump said in the tweets.

On Monday, Trump insisted that it is the freshman lawmakers known as “The Squad” who are “racist” and “not very smart.”

“The ‘Squad’ is a very Racist group of troublemakers who are young, inexperienced, and not very smart. They are pulling the once great Democrat Party far left, and were against humanitarian aid at the Border...And are now against ICE and Homeland Security. So bad for our Country!” the president argued on Twitter.

White House Senior Aide Stephen Miller also argued on Fox News Sunday that the president’s tweets aren’t racist.

"I fundamentally disagree with the view that if you criticize somebody and they happen to be a different color skin, that that makes it racial criticism,” Miller said.

Democrats, he said, use the term "racist" to "silence and punish and suppress people they disagree with, speech they don't want to hear." 

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