APPOMATTOX COUNTY, VIRGINIA — When Pastor E.W. Lucas of Friendship Baptist Church put up a sign that read, “America: Love it or leave it” just before his July 21 Sunday service, he likely didn’t expect an overwhelming negative reaction from his congregation. But when Sunday rolled around, he got a surprise.
As reported by ABC13 News, the sign initially went up the week before this past Sunday and was already creating its share of backlash. But according to Lucas, some “favorable comments” regarding the sign made him decide to leave it up for a while.
Speaking to ABC13, Lucas said that people should be grateful to America despite their politics.
“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, adding that he wasn’t concerned with any backlash the sign might bring.
“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 said.
This past Sunday, there was apparently a whole lot of hurt feelings.
According to reports, a faction of members led a walkout during the service, leaving the church “empty.”
Nevertheless, Lucas stands by his decision to put up the sign.
“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.”
Featured image via screen grab/ABC13