(2/26/19) A marquee message in front of a church is raising eyebrows in a city that prides itself on diversity.
Some locals say they’re not staying silent.
“When I first passed the sign, I almost wrecked my car because I couldn’t really believe that that’s what I read,” Springdale native Alice Gachuzo-Colin said.
“Heaven has strict immigration laws, hell has open borders” is the message that was written across the sign for Apostolic Faith Church.
“When you put that on a sign in city that is so rich in diversity as Springdale, it is essentially a slap in the face to all the undocumented people that help make Springdale the place it is today,” Gachuzo-Colin said.
After reaching out to Apostolic Faith Church, we did receive a response saying the word immigration has since been taken out. The rest of the message remains.
The Chief Building Official for the city of Springdale tells us the city does not have control over the content a church puts on a marquee, unless it’s advertising another business.
“Even with the immigration word being taken down, we still know that’s the word that was there. That’s what you mean to say,” Gachuzo-Colin said.
A request for comment from Pastor Darrell Hollaway was denied, the church saying it has been taken care of.
“Some of my best friends are undocumented. These are people that go to school, have a career, and are doing a lot of good things in the community,” Irvin Camacho said.
But this message isn’t new.
A family-owned Christian grocery store with several locations in southeast Arkansas recently dealt with backlash after customers argued a weekly ad mailer included the controversial political message.
But it wasn’t necessarily expected in Springdale.
“People are more than welcome to share whatever message they want to share on their church, that’s their right, but just know that the community is going to stand up and be vocal about it. We’re not going to stay silent,” Camacho said.