An Oregon church stirred up controversy with anti-Islamic messages put up on a sign outside.
Belmont Drive Missionary Baptist Church in Hood River, Oregon, has only about a dozen congregants on a good day, according to Oregon Live. Recently, the church has had many in the area talking about the sign it put up.
One side of the controversial sign reads, "Wake up Christians. Allah is not our God. Muhammad not greater than Jesus," while the other side reads, "Only the Bible is God's word. 'Holy Book.' Koran is just another book."
A number of local residents were shocked after seeing the new sign.
"I literally had to stop and back up and make sure I saw what I saw and I was profoundly offended and upset by it," said resident Eric Cohn.
The sign also bothered Hood River Mayor Paul Blackburn.
"I was really annoyed and sad," Blackburn told KATU. "I am annoyed that in this political season there's a solid case of ugly going on. I think it norms up this kind of behavior like 'oh it's OK to be a bigot now.'"
Cohn and Blackburn are just two of many residents concerned about how the sign makes their town appear. Cohn wrote a letter to the editor of a local paper about the sign.
Pastor Michael Harrington said as he read the letter, "This one guy wrote in here that I'm a terrorists almost. You ought to see what he put in here!"
Harrington defended his decision to put up the messages.
"I'm not politically correct," he said. "I've never been politically correct, but I think I'm biblically correct and that's what matters to me."
He continued, "People are misled and confused about the true God. I was letting them know the difference between Allah and God."
Harrington said that the sign outside the church generally reflects the message of an upcoming sermon and that he changes the sign at the beginning of each month.
The pastor said he has been "totally shocked" by all the attention the sign has received. He said that the church got more than 100 phone calls and that pranksters have rearranged the letters on the sign to spell other phrases, such as "holy boobs," which Harrington said he considered "derogatory."
Harrington said that he does not have any hate toward Muslims or Islam.
"It isn't against any particular denomination," he said. "It's just the fact that I have taught and will continue to teach that I have one God, one way of salvation, and one bible that's holy."