US Politics

The US church sign that led a congregation to a stage a walkout

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A sign outside a US church that reads 'America: love or leave it' has sparked fierce backlash.

"America: love or leave it" reads a sign outside the Friendship Baptist Church in the US state of Virginia - but the decisive phrase quoting US President Donald Trump and invoking racism has seen the church's own congregation leaving. 

The sign, which was put on display days after President Trump came under fire for similar comments, has also sparked fierce criticism online. 

This sign, outside US Church, has gone viral, with many connecting it to President Trump's comments.
This sign, outside US Church, has gone viral, with many connecting it to President Trump's comments.
Twitter: ABC 13 News

“If they don’t love it, tell them to leave it," Mr Trump declared at a rally in North Carolina, in reference to four ethnic-minority Democratic congresswomen, known as the squad, who are outspoken critics of the Trump administration. 

Critics have accused the church's pastor, E.W. Lucas, who is responsible for the sign, of channelling Mr Trump's rally cries, which have been widely condemned.

The sign also led to the entire church congregation staging a walk out from Sunday's service. 

Despite the mounting criticism, the pastor defended the sign, saying it will remain on display.

He confirmed to local news station ABC13 that the sign is directly associated with Mr Trump's comments.

“I thought I was going to make some remarks regarding the situation in Washington,” he said.

“It just came to me … America, I love it. If you don’t love it, leave it.”

Last week, Australian National University US politics expert Jennifer Hunt, who grew up in North Carolina, told SBS News the "love it or leave it" slogan was used by the KKK years ago when it claimed to be fighting "communism and integration".

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