A pastors' conference in Lamar County, Ala., is being criticized for being open only to white Christians and planning a sacred Christian cross lighting ceremony.
A flier for the conference, which began Wednesday and runs through Friday at the Church of God's Chosen in Beaverton, Ala., announces All White Christians invited.
Christian Identity Ministries, the organizers, are defending the all-white conference, where Ku Klux Klan paraphernalia is being displayed and Confederate flags are flying.
The Rev. Mel Lewis of Christian Identity Ministries denounced those who took offense to the conference and said the event is within the group's right to air their beliefs.
The mayor ordered our fliers to be taken down. When did they start religious censorship? Lewis told WSFA.
We are not breaking any laws. We're not violating any ordinances. We're bringing the Word of God to people who want it, obviously, or they wouldn't be here, Lewis said to WAFF.
The Rev. William C. Collier of Church of God's Chosen said the church believes the white race is God's chosen people, according to WMFY.
He said only whites were invited to the pastors conference because we don't have the facilities to accommodate other people. We haven't got any invitations to black, Muslim events. Of course we are not invited to Jewish events and stuff.
Wayne Silas, mayor of nearby Winfield, Ala., said the all-white conference is not representative of the beliefs of local residents.
Business people are upset. The city is upset. The city of Winfield does not condone this, Silas said.
According to the flier, the three-day conference includes services, sermons and a seminar on grassroots activism.
The conference ends at 9 p.m. Friday with a sacred Christian cross lighting ceremony (open to all white Christians.)
Twitter users condemned the all-white conference.
Racism and the KKK still alive and well in Lamar County, wrote Phil Grant, a University of Alabama graduate who tweeted a photo of the flier inviting only whites to the event.
Twitter user Bethany Huff said the three-day conference was so embarrassing.
A resident of the South using the Twitter handle @BitterOldPunk used snark to express his view of the event.
Per local paper, Klan rally & cross-burning to be held this week in Lamar County. In case you need witnesses for when you marry your sister, he wrote.