A church in Arkansas is facing backlash over a sign that used borders to compare heaven and hell.
Earlier this week, the sign outside the Apostolic Faith Church in Springdale read, “Heaven has strict immigration laws, hell has open borders.”
Springdale is about 36 percent Hispanic.
“A lot of undocumented and just immigrant people just in general live around that area where the church is located. And having to pass by that message every day, I don’t think it’s something they should have to go through,” Irvin Camacho said. “This is a welcoming community.”
According to KNWA, the word “immigration” was removed after someone complained. Now, church leaders are apologizing and saying they didn’t mean for the sign to come across racial or political.
“The reason we put that sign up was to tell everybody it is not easy to make heaven,” Assistant Pastor Michael Pennington said.
He says the message was run by several church leaders before it went up and no one thought anything of it.
“I can’t say how anything comes across, I don’t know how other people think,” Pennington said. “But just like the sign is not political, I will not discuss the political part of it now because that had no intention of what it was.”
While the message did face some criticism, Pennington says they also have received an outpouring of support.
Church leaders are apologizing to those who were offended by the sign and want to make it clear that anyone is welcome at their church.
“We just treat everybody the same, it don’t matter where they came from,” Pastor Darrell Hollaway said.