A controversial billboard in North Carolina is stirring attention as many people believe it supports President Donald Trump’s immigration and travel ban in Muslim-majority countries.
The billboard placed on the Interstate 40 highway reads: “Why support President Trump’s immigration ban??? 19 Muslim immigrants killed 2977 Americans.” It also has the date Sept. 11, 2001, below the text.
The message sponsored by the North Carolina Pastors Network seems to be of no use in this time of hate and discrimination, except to further discriminate against Muslims and demonize an entire religion.
People in the nearby areas of Claremont and Catawba who object to the billboard stated “the numbers are powerful enough in themselves.”
"I believe in the Christian way, and that's to embrace everybody. Kind of the hate message behind it, I'm not for that,” Oliver Reitzell, who is against the billboard, said.
Dave Kistler, the head of NCPN, believes the billboard does not promote hatred and instead only states facts.
"I'm saying it now that this is not what this is about. There's certainly nothing hateful in our billboard. Some have interpreted it to be that and say that. It was not. It is the truth,” said Kistler.
But Paul Cummings, an associate pastor at the Corinth Reformed Church in Hickory who opposes the billboard, says the sign goes against the teachings of the Bible that tells people to “love the enemy.”
"My opinion is that I think these people need the saving gospel of Jesus more than I need to be protected,” Cummings said. “I'm perfectly willing for people who are hostile to us to be in our country, because that's what loving your enemy is all about."
"That billboard, it sounds like somebody is trying to cause some issues that don't need to be worried about now," added veteran Andrew Katocs.
While the religious group is adamant about keeping the sign in place, residents of the area believe it is serving no purpose.
Many people also took to social media to express their views on the billboard.
@FahertyWSOC9 April 19th, 1995. One Christian killed 168 Americans. Think this group will put this fact on a billboard?— AndyWebster (@211BigDaddyWeb) May 24, 2017
@FahertyWSOC9 This is not Christian. This is hate speech propaganda, born out of ignorance and fear, not love. It has no place in our community.— Andrew Bolick (@andrew_bolick) May 23, 2017