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Police Respond to Clash between Black Lives Matter Protesters, Churchgoers in New York

Police Respond to Clash between Black Lives Matter Protesters, Churchgoers in New York

Police were called in after a clash on Sunday between Black Lives Matter protesters and churchgoers at a church in Troy, New York.

It’s unclear why protesters targeted Grace Baptist Church for demonstrations, but activists reportedly harassed church members.

According to the Washington Sentinel, videos shared to social media show protesters trying to block congregants from accessing the church. Many also shouted as the church members tried to take their children inside.

In one video, a female protester tells a black parishioner, “You should be ashamed, sister.”

In another, the Daily Wire reports, one of the protesters yells at a churchgoer, “f*** you.” The church member responds by saying “Jesus loves you,” but the protester replies by telling the man Jesus doesn’t love him.

“Stop hiding behind your godd*mn religion,” another protester shouted.

“This church is racist,” another said.

Grace Baptist, however, has said they will not be threatened. The church has asked male church members to help escort congregants inside when needed.

“We will never apologize to the mob,” a pastor with the church says in a video posted on Monday.

“It’s not my fault for preaching the same thing we’ve preached for 33 years,” the pastor says. “It’s not my fault everybody wants to put it online, I don’t care. They can shut us down. I ain’t changing my preaching because we’re [online].”

According to the Times Union, Troy police Capt. Steven Barker said Sunday afternoon that there were no arrests made.

Protestors didn’t say why they chose to protest the church, but the demonstrations could be linked to a raffle the church held.

The church gave away an AR-15 rifle as a prize for a raffle. Pastor John Koletas told reporters that the church supported hunters and gun owners who had been “viciously attacked by anti-Christian socialist policies.”

Koletas is largely considered “extreme” by many, who point to his sermons.

In a recent sermon, he called the officer who killed George Floyd "evil," but then said the violence that has followed as being caused by "a bunch of savages who have let their sins run rampant."

Photo courtesy: Grace Baptist Church Screenshot

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and She blogs at The Migraine Runner.