Church sign in Virginia proclaims ‘America: Love or Leave It.’ | TribLIVE.com
U.S./World

Church sign in Virginia proclaims ‘America: Love or Leave It.’

Associated Press
1428105_web1_AP19199676779143
This image taken from video provided by WSET-TV shows a sign ‘America: Love it or Leave It,’ posted outside the Friendship Baptist Church in Appomattox, Va., on Tuesday, July 16, 2019. Amid a national furor over President Trump’s tweet urging four Democratic congresswomen to ‘go back’ to their home countries, Pastor E.W. Lucas is gaining attention with the sign at his church

APPOMATTOX, Va. — Amid a national furor over President Trump’s tweet urging four Democratic congresswomen to “go back” to their home countries, a Virginia pastor is gaining attention with a sign at his church saying “America: Love or Leave It.”

ABC 13 in Lynchburg reports hundreds of people have expressed support and opposition on social media to the sign outside Friendship Baptist Church in Appomattox.

Pastor E.W. Lucas told the station Tuesday that he wanted to make a statement about the political divisions in Washington.

“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.

Trump set off a firestorm Sunday when he tweeted that four freshmen congresswomen “originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe,” and urged them to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

Trump’s jabs targeted the “squad” of female lawmakers who’ve garnered attention for their outspoken liberal views and distaste for Trump since they joined Congress in January: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

All were born in the U.S. except for Omar, who came to the U.S. as a child after fleeing Somalia with her family.

The four Democratic freshmen have portrayed the Republican president as a bully who wants to “vilify” not only immigrants but all people of color. They say they are fighting for their priorities to lower health care costs and address climate change while Trump’s attacks tear at the core of American values.

Lucas’ church is about 90 miles west of Richmond and near the spot in Virginia where Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant in 1865.

Lucas told the television station that he plans to leave the message up for a while because of the positive feedback he’s received.

“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.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.