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 TrumpStowaway found in landing gear of plane after flight from Guatemala to Miami Kushner looking to Middle East for investors in new firm: report GOP eyes booting Democrats from seats if House flips 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-CortezGOP eyes booting Democrats from seats if House flips Greene: McCarthy 'doesn't have the full support to be Speaker' Omar calls out Boebert over anti-Muslim remarks, denies Capitol incident took place MORE (N.Y.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyGOP eyes booting Democrats from seats if House flips Will media portrayals of Rittenhouse lead to another day in court? Evidence for a GOP takeover mounts — Democrats must act fast MORE (Mass.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) and Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarGOP eyes booting Democrats from seats if House flips Boebert apologizes to Muslims as Democrats call for 'real action to confront racism' Omar calls out Boebert over anti-Muslim remarks, denies Capitol incident took place 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 AmashDemocrats defend Afghan withdrawal amid Taliban advance Vietnam shadow hangs over Biden decision on Afghanistan Kamala Harris and our shameless politics MORE (Mich.).