The church, which has a large Black Lives Matter banner prominently displayed out front, is known for promoting social justice. According to a Facebook post, the church says it was deceived when the group initially contacted them.
“Today we experienced deceit and hate from a group of individuals in support of Blue Lives Matter. An individual contacted us in need of meeting space for a Black Lives Matter Rally. In support of the movement, we agreed to allow the Black Lives Matter Rally happen in our parking lot. The rally turned out to be a Blue Lives Matters meet up where individuals flew Trump 2020 flags and a Confederate Flag. Once we realized the deceit and false information, our staff and Senior Pastor, Dr. Frederick Douglass Haynes, III. immediately asked the individuals to shut it down and leave.
“This event was only able to happen because of deceitfulness and lies and in no way reflects the mission and ministry of Friendship-West Baptist Church. Please know that our pastor and staff will get to the bottom of this. We sincerely appreciate your understanding of this matter, and we’d like to thank everyone for their support and prayers. May God Bless You All and please stay safe.”
The church then released a video showing the event that they did approve of using their parking lot for the afternoon.
The “Back the Blue” event organizers stated that the intent of the rally was to show support for law enforcement, although they acknowledged that there was at least one Confederate flag displayed.
“It’s not about division, it’s not about anything other than coming together as one,” organizer Nathan Abrams said. “I specifically told our attendees that this event is solely and only for our brothers and sisters in blue, and to support them.”
Abrams said they did not mean any harm when they stopped at Friendship-West, saying it was just a convenient pit stop on a long ride around Dallas-Fort Worth.
“We wanted to have a place where we can have a pit stop at where everyone can rest,” Abrams said. “My heart goes out to the church, my heart goes out to the pastor.”
He stated that the crowd was larger than anticipated and outsiders brought those flags to the rally.
“I want to personally say to the members of that church and the pastor that I’m sorry that there was conflict,” Abrams said. “That was not my heart, that is not what I’m about.”