A group of evangelical pastors is vowing to defend Christian churches, statues, and religious works of art, particularly of Jesus Christ, as calls have emanated from the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests to remove or destroy them along with historical images of the Confederacy and Revolutionary War.
The pastors gathered in Seattle's Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), or Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP), this week to denounce the inclusion of Christian symbols as part of the protests over the death of a black man in police-custody in Minneapolis, Fox News Channel reported.
Brian Gibson, pastor of HIS Church with campuses in Owensboro and Henderson, Kentucky; and Amarillo and Dumas, Texas, was particularly angered by black activist Shaun King's call to "tear down" statues and images of Jesus Christ because they were a form of "white supremacy."
"Christians across America must stand against this violent religious discrimination and stand to protect sacred ground," said Gibson, who presides over a megachurch. "This threat particularly targets the Catholic Church, and every Christian, despite denomination, and every person of the good book, should stand together in unity against this evil."
Besides King's declaration, St. John's Episcopal Church adjacent to Lafayette Park across from the White House has vandalized twice, including being set on fire, during protests.
Gibson and his fellow pastors have created the Church Defensive Initiative, a group which promises to seek prosecution of any vandals, including seeking hate crime designations for any attempt to desecrate church property or religious symbols.
It also will assert the rights of churches to physical force to protect property and parishioners.
"Next they'll go for the cross," said Pastor Kedrick Timbo of Evangel World Prayer Center in Louisville, Kentucky. "They'll claim the cross is 'whatever,' and then they'll require you and me to remove the crosses from our churches or the crosses from our homes."
Gibson, who was an outspoken leader of demanding government officials exempt churches from restrictions to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, has called on religious leaders to "not allow our Christian heritage to be erased in America."
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