Some members of the congregation of a Virginia Baptist church reportedly walked out of the pastor’s Sunday service amid controversy surrounding the “America: Love it or leave it” sign displayed in front of the church.

Pastor E.W. Lucas of the Friendship Baptist Church in Appomattox, Va., told local news outlet WSET-TV that some members left during his service Sunday in opposition to his and the sign’s message.


The “love it or leave it” sign first appeared last week and made national headlines as Lucas defended the message, made in support of President TrumpDonald John TrumpGiuliani says he is unaware of reported federal investigation Louisiana's Democratic governor forced into runoff Lawmakers focus their ire on NBA, not China MORE’s attack on four minority congresswomen whom he told to “go back” to the countries they came from.

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

After members of the congregation left his service Sunday, Lucas stood by his decision.

"I've tried to be honest," Lucas told the news outlet. "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."

Lucas last week said the controversy will not dissuade his support for the president’s message.

"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 told WSET.

Trump had previously tweeted that Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezDemocrat launches primary challenge to Ocasio-Cortez Ocasio-Cortez fires back at Washington Times after story on her 'high-dollar hairdo' The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by USAA — House Dems subpoena Giuliani associates MORE (N.Y.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyPennsylvania candidate would be first autistic woman elected to a state legislature Pressley joins hundreds of activists calling for Kavanaugh impeachment: 'I believe in the power of us' The 13 House Democrats who back Kavanaugh's impeachment MORE (Mass.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) and Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by USAA — Ex-Ukraine ambassador testifies Trump pushed for her ouster The Hill's Morning Report — Arrest of Giuliani associates triggers many questions Trump attacks Omar as 'America-hating socialist' at Minnesota rally MORE (Minn.) should “go back” to their home countries, if they don't like the U.S., comments that prompted widespread backlash. He has since doubled down on his attacks, saying the four women should "apologize" to the United States for the things they have said. 

Trump's tweets aimed at the four progressive Democrats were formally condemned by the House last week in a resolution passed largely along party lines, with four Republican lawmakers voting in support, along with Independent Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashAmash says he's happy not feeling 'bound to a particular party' Amash on Syria: Trump's not ending anything Trump says House Democrats 'unfortunately' have the votes to impeach MORE (Mich.).