A South Carolina church has sparked controversy with a sign commenting on welfare.
The sign, which was at Full Gospel Tabernacle of God in Buffalo, South Carolina, read, "Work Harder, Millions on Welfare Depend on You." The other side of the sign reads, "The Bible promises no loaves to the loafer."
The sign was put up by the Rev. Ricky Cook, a senior pastor at the church who thought the saying was funny, and put it on the sign as a joke, reports WGHP.
Cook said he also put the sign up because of his beliefs about welfare.
"It needs to be fixed because I know some families ... they just live in welfare all the time and it needs to be fixed, somehow," the reverend said. "There are people who need it but some, you know, they could work, but they choose not to."
"So many people on welfare," said Cook, according to WHNS. "They can work just as good as I can."
"Maybe if someone is on welfare, have them do something," the pastor added. "Some type of community service, work or help them work if they don't have the education."
More restrictive work requirements for welfare recipients haven't been shown to reduce poverty, reports the Center on Budget and
Improvements for the employment rate among welfare recipients who were subject to work requirements were reportedly found to be small and did not last for long, and the ability to find stable employment was found to be "the exception, not the norm," according to the CBPP.
The most successful programs were found to be those that helped improve the skills and education of welfare recipients, rather than simply requiring them to look for work and find jobs.
The Full Gospel Tabernacle of God's isn't the first church sign to draw controversy in 2017.
In June, a sign in Statesville, North Carolina, sparked a backlash when it was arranged to say, "Remember Satan was the first to demand equal rights," according to WJZY.
"I'm never going to look at it and think that it doesn't upset me," said resident Wendy Macasieb. "It was very upsetting to think that the area I live in would be projected with that type of hate towards any people."
"You know, my thought was they're trying to say that anyone who wants equal rights besides a white man is equivalent to an evil like Satan," said Macasieb.
"Actually, my initial thought on that was minorities and women, but in later thinking I really think they meant homosexuals also," said another resident.
"It was not intended to offend any people [or] group," said pastor Beau Mills. "That's not what we teach and preach."