'America: Love or Leave it' sign at Virginia Baptist church sparks controversy

APPOMATTOX, Va. -- A church sign in Virginia is drawing both support and criticism on social media and beyond.

Those who travel down a stretch of Red House Road in Appomattox, Virginia drive right past this Friendship Baptist Church sign that reads, "America: Love or Leave It."

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," said Pastor Lucas. "It just came to me... America, I love it. If you don't love it, leave it.'"

But not everyone loves the being told to "leave" part. Hundreds of people have expressed their support and opposition to it on social media, pointing to decisions made under President Donald Trump's administration.

Some people are on the fence about how they feel with the sign.

"It's up to each individual person," said Appomattox resident William Thompson. "Ultimately, if we have problems, we should try to fix it."

They said it's time to focus on solutions.

"Support is the biggest thing we need. Support and fix," said Thompson.

Lucas said despite the challenges in this country, people should be grateful.

"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," said Pastor E. W. Lucas, Friendship Baptist Church.

He said his pastoral duties take priority over any potential backlash.

"Since we've had favorable comments on it, I thought I'd just leave it a while," said Pastor Lucas. "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."
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