*A viral video showing Black Lives Matter protesters interrupting a Troy, N.Y., church service has been widely circulated by opponents of the movement, but without the context that its pastor is known for spewing racist comments, according to BuzzFeed News.
“It’s wild that the national story is that there’s a bunch of Marxists attacking Christians in the street,” one Troy resident, who asked to remain anonymous, told the news outlet. “Everyone here knows that this is our Westboro Baptist.”
Conservative figures with large followings, including Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, have posted the video as a way to demonize BLM. However, the pastor of Grace Baptist Church, John Koletas, describes himself as a “bigot” and preaches the fringe Christian “Curst of Ham” belief that Black people are descendants of Noah’s son Ham and cursed by God.
“What people need to know is we’re not protesting churches,” Lukee Forbes, a local Black Lives Matter leader, told BuzzFeed. “We’re protesting this church. I’m a Christian. I’ve been saved. And it hurts to see people come out and drag us for fighting for our community. And now we’re the bad guys. But how do we feel safe in our own community when this church is in the middle of it?”
Watch the viral video below: