Pastors vow to ‘defend’ houses of worship, ‘not allow Christian heritage to be erased’

Christian leaders denounce call to take down statues of Jesus

A group of evangelical pastors gathered at Seattle's CHOP zone earlier this week to pray and declare that they will defend houses of worship and statues of Jesus after activists called for tearing them down amid Black Lives Matter protests.

Brian Gibson, founder of the Peaceably Gather movement and pastor of His Church, denounced Shaun King's call to remove "white Jesus" statues and other activists trying to remove Christian symbols and monuments in a movement that began with hatred and vandalism toward Confederate statues.

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"The call from Black Lives Matters leaders to destroy images of Christ and deface houses of worship is nothing less than a terroristic threat to people of faith," Gibson told Fox News.

A group of evangelical pastors gather at Seattle's CHOP zone to pray and declare that they will defend houses of worship from any forms of attacks.

A group of evangelical pastors gather at Seattle's CHOP zone to pray and declare that they will defend houses of worship from any forms of attacks. (Courtesy of Peaceably Gather)

"Christians across America must stand against this violent religious discrimination and stand to protect sacred ground," the megachurch pastor added. "This threat particularly targets the Catholic Church, and every Christian, despite denomination, and every person of the Good Book, should stand together in unity against this evil."

Gibson launched the Church Defensive Initiative, which says churches will prosecute any vandals or agitators to the full extent of the law, including seeking hate crime designations for any attempt to desecrate church property or religious symbols.

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It comes as St. John's Episcopal Church across from the White House in Washington, D.C. was vandalized this week a second time after President Trump held up a Bible in front of the church after it was burned by vandals. Trump is expected to sign an executive order protecting monuments and statues that are being torn down.

Pastor Brian Gibson, founder of the Peaceably Gather movement and His Church leader, prays with a Black Lives Matter protester near the CHOP zone in Seattle.

Pastor Brian Gibson, founder of the Peaceably Gather movement and His Church leader, prays with a Black Lives Matter protester near the CHOP zone in Seattle. (Courtesy of Peaceably Gather)

The Initiative also would hold government leaders responsible who refuse to respond to church and property attacks, as well as assert the rights of churches to use physical force to protect their property and safety if absolutely necessary.

"Next they'll go for the cross," Pastor Kedrick Timbo, of Evangel World Prayer Center, in Louisville, Ky., said. "They'll claim the cross is 'whatever,' and then they'll require you and me to remove the crosses from our churches or the crosses from our homes."

Pastor LaShund Lambert of Resurrection Church in Auburn, Wash., said it's "despicable" to see the attacks when "we should be talking about racial reconciliation, equality, justice, and fair treatment by law enforcement and the law."

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Gibson, who has previously called on public officials to reopen houses of worship amid coronavirus restrictions and called for an end to riots after protests turned violent following George Floyd's police-related death in May, is now calling for pastors to defend houses of worship and "not allow our Christian heritage to be erased in America."