- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A digital marquee with a powerful message outside a South Chicago church has sparked criticism following the acquittal of George Zimmerman.

First Baptist Church of University Park posted its sign in time for service on Sunday, reading “It Is Safe To Kill Black People In Amerikkka,” CBS Chicago first reported.

The message created a stir on the church’s Facebook page, with most people taking issue with the reference to the Ku Klux Klan in “Amerikkka.”

“The message on the sign is not a message of hate,” the church responded. “It is a message of awakening and call to action. It is a message not intended to divide, but to cause honest reflection in order to make this country a better place for ALL.”

The church has since changed the marquee to read: “Is It Safe To Kill Black People In America?”

“The use of “kkk”, was done to call attention to the fact that, just as in the ‘glory days’ of the KKK, it appears far too often that the murder of African Americans is permitted, and the mistreatment of African Americans historically and currently is far too cavalierly considered,” the church continued. “It is interesting the amount of energy that people have put into attacking the church and the Pastor. I wonder how much change would occur if that same energy was employed to fight for the restoration of sections 4 and 5 of the Voting Rights Act. I wonder how much change would occur if that same energy was employed to fight for common sense gun laws, and stopping laws like ‘Stand Your Ground.’”

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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