From time to time, a church sign will capture your attention with a bible verse or witty political joke, but the sign outside of Allendale United Methodist Church in St. Petersburg, Florida has sparked some political debate.
“Our sign right now says 'White supremacy is the real crisis,'” said Pastor Andy Oliver. "It's in response to what's going on at our border, and the manufactured crisis that our president's creating by the way that he has been treating people from Mexico and South America who are simply trying to find a better way of life."
Neighbors in the area had varying opinions on the sign, with some saying it was an overstep of church boundaries to dip into politics. Others stated they felt it was rhetoric that attacked middle-aged white men who support Trump.
But there were plenty who welcomed the dialogue the sign has sparked.
“A lot of people think that churches have no business making commentary on politics, but this being what would have been Martin Luther King Jr.'s 90th birthday, we are reminded that Martin Luther King challenged churches to stand with those oppressed. As did Jesus. That's what Jesus was all about,” said Oliver.
This is not the first time Allendale took a political stance through their signage. In December around Christmas, the church sign read: "We can't worship the child in the manger while turning our backs on the child at the border."
The church sign has also been vandalized in the past. In September 2018, someone spray painted “gay pastor” on the sign. The church now has security cameras up as a safety precaution.
"Dr. King sat in a Birmingham jail cell ... and wrote a letter,” said Oliver. “He challenged churches to no longer hide behind the security of their stained-glass windows, to get out on the streets, to listen to the voices of those that are oppressed, and to be in radical solidarity with them."