A Methodist church is causing controversy this week with a message targeting President Trump, suggesting his push for a border wall is racist against people who are not white.
The sign in front of the Allendale United Methodist Church in St. Petersburg, Florida, states: “White supremacy is the real crisis.”
“We really wanted to respond to our president who is taking this opportunity to manufacture a crisis at the border,” Rev. Andy Oliver at the church told WFLA-TV.
He told the station he sought to extend a message of love and acceptance to those who see the placard.
“Targeting people of color, making them the enemy. Things like walls are symptoms of misdirected fear,” he said.
The church says on its Facebook page:
Our new sign is inspired by these powerful words from our friends at enfleshed:
Disrupt lies that destroy.
Proclaim the truths that set free:
White supremacy is the crises.
Resistance must be the response.
Welcome is the answer.
Walls are symptoms of misdirected fear.
The US Empire is the terror.
Let us remember how we got here.
Let us interrupt “empire’s amnesia.”
Let us commit to forging paths of embrace, of repair, of sanctuary, of collective care, of intervention.
May the Spirit of Liberation be our guide.
“We’re going to get attacked but we have to stand together as a community because we know we’re doing the right thing for everyone,” said Oliver told WFLA.
“Jesus was one to not be afraid to speak truth in situations and to be present where people were hurting and being oppressed.”
While some are expressing support for the sign, one woman on Facebook, Connie Benthusen Farrington, blasted the church, saying:
“In 2014 in the national homeless census, among the children for every 138 children who were seeking housing, 137 were white children. So your division among people is not only against the word of God but you are also ignoring they are Jesus’ children you are leaving homeless. Shame on you for your division of God’s people and blatant lie about white people, including innocent white children. Maybe you should do more than post signs about your division of God’s people and get out there and make some changes. Shame again is over your congregation that goes along with division of God’s people. I ran a ministry of 7 churches serving the homeless and working class poor, you’re wrong to post this and should pray to be forgiven because you know not what you are saying.”
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