A CHURCH WITH CHUTZPAH*

*For anyone who doesn’t know, Chutzpah is Yiddish for guts.

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Those behind a sign posted in front of their northwest Gainesville church, proclaiming in red letters “Islam is of the devil,” say it’s a way to express their religious beliefs.

Some living near the Dove World Outreach Center, however, are outraged and disappointed with the sign’s message, which has sparked protests and acts of vandalism at the church since it was posted over the weekend.

“It’s an act of saying there is only one way, and that is actually what Christianity is about. It is about pointing the people in the right direction, and that right direction is Jesus and only Jesus,” said the church’s senior pastor, Terry Jones. “We feel the sign is an act of giving the people a chance.”

Since the sign went up, it reportedly has been protested by picketers, successfully torn down in another expression of protest late Sunday, quickly re-erected on Monday, and marred by spray paint before it was repainted and back in place Tuesday morning.

Jones said the acts of vandalism will be reported to police and that there are no plans to remove the sign or change what it says. “We actually posted the sign because there is a tremendous growth in Islam at this time. It is a violent and oppressive religion and does not have anything to do with the truth of the Bible,” Jones said.

The church’s first sign won’t be its last, Jones said.

READ MORE: GAINESVILLE.COM

RELATED STORIES: Islam in America