11:52 - May 18, 2016
News ID: 3459861
TEHRAN (IQNA) – With only a dozen congregants on a good day, Belmont Drive Missionary Baptist Church isn't exactly influential in Hood River, much less the larger Christian community in Oregon and beyond.


But in recent days, the church, which doesn't even have a website, has broadcast its message to thousands thanks to the viral nature of inflammatory news.

That message? A few words displayed on the sign outside the church:

"Wake up Christians. Allah is not our God. Muhammad [PBUH] not greater than Jesus."

The other side says the Quran is just another book, that only the Bible is scripture.

KATU first reported on the sign late last week, and other outlets have picked up the story. On Sunday, about two dozen protestors showed up at the Belmont Drive church with their own signs, said pastor Michael Harrington.

News about the sign comes just two months after a Buddhist monk was reportedly assaulted in Hood River when a man mistook him for a Muslim, and some Hood River residents say the sign further damages the community's reputation.

"I was really annoyed and sad," Hood River Mayor Paul 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.'"

Harrington has been "totally shocked" by the attention his sign has gotten, he said. The sign usually reflects the message in an upcoming sermon, Harrington said, and he changes it at the start of each month.

"People are misled and confused about the true God," the 74-year-old pastor said. "I was letting them know the difference between Allah and God."

Muslims and Christians both worship the God of Abraham.

Harrington said he doesn't hate Islam or Muslims, but he does believe the United States is "threatened by Islam”, which is the fastest growing religion in the world.

Messages like Harrington's give Christians a bad name, Glen Patrizio wrote in a letter to the editor at Hood River News.

"It encourages hatred by setting up a false dichotomy of us versus them," Patrizio wrote.

"How can Christianity claim to be the religion of love and forgiveness when its most vocal followers promote ignorance, bigotry, and hatred? We as a community are better than that."

Source: Oregon Live

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