‘Love it or leave it’ sign causes big rift in little Appomattox

‘Love it or leave it’ sign causes big rift in little Appomattox July 23, 2019

OPINION is sharply divided in Appomattox in Virginia (population around 1,800) over whether a Baptist church sign is an acceptable call to patriotism or flat-out racist.

ABC13 News screenshots

The Friendship Baptist Church sign was the brainchild of pastor E W Lucas, inset. The first inkling he had that some were angered by it occurred when some members of his congregation walked out of a service on Sunday in protest.

Lucas says members were upset with the national attention the church was receiving, but stands behind his decision to keep the sign.

I’ve tried to be honest. 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.

In this report, Lucas is quoted as saying:

I thought I was going to make some remarks regarding the situation in Washington. It just came to me. I just said, ‘America, I love it. If you don’t love it, leave it.

Hundreds of people have expressed both their support and opposition to it on social media.

Lucas says that 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.

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

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.

Given that the sign went up so soon after Trump addressed a “fascist” rally in North Carolina, it was bound to ignite strong feelings.

Shannon Watts, founder of the anti-NRA group, Moms Demand Action, and Jon Cooper, chairman of the Democratic Coalition, as well as others, compared it to a KKK billboard.

A billboard in North Carolina circa 1970s Source: The 1972 Howler yearbook at Wake Forest University.

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Eric Jameson

    Anti-Israel bigots like Ilhan Omar know where the door is..

  • mordred

    […]go over there and live in these other countries for a little while.

    What are “these countries”, he is talking about? Is he only talking about countries with dark skinned people or are European countries included?

    ’cause if I had to choose between my native Germany and the US right now, I know where I want to live. Thinks aren’t perfect here, but most of the problems I worry about seem worse in the US, especially under Trump.

  • mordred

    Virginia is part of Israel now?

  • johnsoncatman

    The same phrase was used in the 1960s and 1970s directed towards Vietnam War protesters and Civil Rights activists. It was wrong then and it is wrong now. The protesters and activists then were trying to change the country for the better, and the same is true of the four freshman House Representatives. If those in power can’t listen to other opinions and take constructive criticism, maybe THEY should choose to leave office. But citizens and duly elected representatives have a duty to call out the racism, misogyny, and hatred of the administration and try to change it.

  • Kit Hadley-Day

    Anti democracy people like Mitch McConnell know where the door is. See we can all play this silly game.

  • Sam D

    Constructive criticism: love it or leave it alone.

    After going through some other options to start the phrase, I realized it’s really not universal. Do not use “Diversity,” for example, if you actually want to support diversity.

  • gimpi1

    As do you. Ms. Omar is a citizen and has the same Constitutional rights — including free speech– as any other citizen. She’s also a duly elected representative to the House.

    If the country can withstand the bigotry, lies and abuses of Mr. Trump, we can surely cope with Ms. Omar.

    If you think it’s reasonable to somehow force Ms. Omar our of the country for views you don’t likem is it reasonable to force Mr. Trump out for views I don’t care for? What’s the difference?

  • 24CaratHooligan

    “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.” I wonder what his personal thought were on Barack Obama… did he down that president at all?

  • zenlike

    Sorry bub, the USA has something called “freedom” where citizens don’t have to have a specific opinion before they are considered citizens. If you
    don’t like that, get your head out of your nether regions and look for that damn door yourself.

  • Broga

    This snivelling creep doesn’t mean love my country and I could love the magnificence of the land although I am not an American. What he really means is love his opinions of what is being done there. And that includes the bigotry, the ravaging of the landscape, the despoliation of the environment with the rivers polluted
    and a President who is now under threat of impeachment for “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

  • Cholula

    That’s what I’m wondering … are we expected to be loyal to the USA, or loyal to Israel?

  • Etranger

    The “thinking” of these right-wingers is so warped. People who hate this country don’t try to make it better….

  • (((J_Enigma32)))

    I’m pretty sure this guy had some strong opinions otherwise from 2008 to 2016, so here we are with another exciting case of — It’s Okay If You Are A Republican.

  • Right-wingers seem to think that “hating ‘Murica” means to not be Rightist. In fact, far right talk radio host Michael Savage even said you had to be Rightist to love ‘Murica.

  • They just accused Obama of being anti-American and being a threat to freedom and the Constitution, and say that Trump represents American patriotism.

  • Many in USA assume USA is the best, most free, and most advanced country in the world, and that everyone wants to come here.

  • Doesn’t that sign basically call for an end to free speech, and essentially promote fascism?

    These Rightists also display their ignorance and (perhaps) stupidity: you can’t just waltz into these countries. Like USA, they have immigration laws. Many have strict laws about work visas, in which locals are given preference. To get a residency permit, you also need to have enough money to support yourself for a stated period of time (a year for Germany).

    I am sure these Rightists envy Turkey’s controversial insulting Turkishness law. (The law’s being seen as violating free speech is a barrier for Turkey’s entrance into the EU.) I will just note that the law has been used against recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

  • Boreal
  • This pastor is just repeating the behavior exemplified by his beloved racist President.

  • WallofSleep

    Savage Weiner is a loon. I can’t count how many far-fetched conspiracy theories he’s promoted on his show. He certainly gives Jones a run for his money on that front.

  • WallofSleep

    test: loon


    Test 2: Weiner

    Yep. For fuck’s sake Patheos, that’s the man’s fucking surname you god damn idiots!

  • WallofSleep

    Patheos put my reply to you into moderation because I used Michael’s actual surname. Pathetic.


  • Let’s hope nobody ever asks about the old Oscar Meyer jingle — or that fellow who used to be married to Huma Abedin…

  • That sign is the most pronounced unintentional irony I’ve seen since I read that Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was banned as “racist trash” in 1982 by the Mark Twain Intermediate School of Fairfax County, Virginia.

    (See page 80 of Diane Ravitch’s The Language Police.)

    ETA: By the way: Is the pastor’s last name “Lewis” or “Lucas”?

  • Barry Duke

    Lucas. Thanks for pointing that out. Corrected now.

  • Wisdom, Justice, Love

    Watch this.
    Abortion and Gay Marriage are LEGAL. The law of the land.
    Love it, or…

  • phatkhat

    Yeah, I picked up on that, too. Well, I did live outside of the US for 15 years – in Germany, actually. And I wish I’d found a way to stay there. After 25 years, I still miss it, even more now with Trump. The US could learn a lot of things from “these other countries.”

  • phatkhat

    Well, you know what they say about ASSuming things.

  • Eric Jameson

    Israel lives!

  • rubaxter

    Considering Appomattox is where the USA forcibly took BACK the TRAITORS of the CSA, this fool is astonishingly ig’nant of REAL history, not the Bibble comic book kind.

    Oh yeah, I forgot …, as you’d expect from rural VA …, the White Skin thang …, and the too stoopid for Irony thang …

  • rubaxter

    They had it beaten into them as children by their similarly cowed parents that ‘Muri&#8203ca was perfect, especially for white people in VA, and that anybody who wanted to change that, and threaten the wealth and power of the Good Ole White Boy network, was a Com&#8203mie!

    They’re just stoopid and unthinking enough to buy it.

    Oh, they also like being to&#8203ols of the wealth and power ripping them off.

  • rubaxter

    Well, let’s thank the Goddess Anoia that he’s not following the behavior exemplified by his Gawd, YHWH.


  • (((J_Enigma32)))

    In so much as a non-biological organism like a state can live, yes, it “lives.”

    This does not address the points I raised. Not that I expected an intellectual coward like you to, anyway.

  • persephone

    May I come live with you? Please?

    I’m looking into retiring and emigrating to Europe, if I can. I’m so done.

  • Eric Jameson

    Calm down, dear! You will NEVER defeat Israel.