Members of a predominately African American church in Dumfries, Virginia are living in fear after finding racist messages plastered on the doors of their building. The signs included racial slurs, threats of lynching, Confederate flags, swastikas and Ku Klux Klan imagery.
The approximately 30 to 40 people who regularly attend Greater Praise Temple Ministries One were disturbed to find the hateful messages at their church. One of the racist and anti-Semitic signs threatening to lynch the “n*****s” featured the image of a KKK member. The sign, which was placed next to the front door and a welcome mat, had this ominous threat:
Now that’s white power. Day of the rope is coming n****r
Sister Gwen, who has been attending the church for almost two years, said that when people “come here, they can feel the love of God” in the church and its community. “We love people when they come in the door,” she added.
Another sign left at the church was covered in swastikas and had the words “The Fourth Reich” written in big, bold letters.
It’s very disturbing … There are a lot of churches in this area,” said Sister Gwen. “But for the people of color, we have to go through this – it’s like taking a step back to the 50s and 60s.
According to Sister Gwen, all they can do now is pray until the perpetrator is caught and brought to justice.
We are praying for the perpetrators, we are praying for love in the community and not hate,” she said. “We are praying for togetherness and we are praying that they will catch them.
Police have confirmed that reports were filed both online and over the phone. They are reportedly investigating the incident as a possible hate crime, but also noted that they do not think anyone should be in fear for their lives. However, church members (who don’t necessarily share the feeling that they have nothing to fear) said it took the police more than two hours to respond when they made the initial report. But police did at least decide to come back on Monday and confiscate the signs to be used as evidence.
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Featured image via video screen capture