An Illinois pastor this week blamed rhetoric from Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz after racist and anti-immigrant graffiti was scrawled on her church.
Pastor Emma Lozano told the Chicago Tribune that on two different occasions this week members of Lincoln United Methodist Church in Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago had found graffiti on the church, including swastikas and the words "rape Mexico."
“The rhetoric that’s coming out of these presidential campaigns is really fueling the courage of these people who feel threatened by the growing Latino community,” the pastor explained to the paper. “These words that are being said — ’Mexicans are coming here to rape’ — those words do fuel violence and fuel anger, and someone is acting out of that.”
Writing on Facebook, the pastor reminded candidates that Jesus was a refugee, and suggested that their policies on immigration that were contrary to Christian principles.
"You can't worship him on Sunday morning and call to build a wall and deport him on Monday," she wrote. "Today and yesterday our church Lincoln in the neighborhood of Pilsen Chicago was the target of the racists and with more courage and determination we will fight."
Lozano added in a statement to NBC Chicago that her church would not be intimidated.
“I know that we think these 'white power' advocates are only in other communities but we should be aware that the wave of racism across the nation, evident in large crowds at Trump and Cruz rallies, is emboldening those who would carry out acts of terror to sneak into our communities under cover of darkness," she said. "Of course, we will in no way be intimidated – but we will inform our community and we will remain alert.”