Church Sign in Midland Causing Controversy

By Wyatt Goolsby
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - A Midland church is taking some heat because of a controversial marquee sign that several say goes way too far.

"Islam is a false religion, it cannot offer eternal life," Michael Banschbach, with St. Michael the Archangel Chapel, Inc, said.

The sign outside of St. Michael's Chapel comes off pretty strong: Annihilate Islam. No, that's not a mistake, "Mary and her Rosary, Annihilate Islam."

"Well, we live in a day and age now where everything has to be politically correct, we wouldn't want to offend anybody, we wouldn't want to make them feel bad," Banschbach explained.

Mike Banschbach said the sign references a historical battle (Lepanto - Oct. 1571) that pitted European Christians against Islamic invaders, but Banschbach said he's not calling for any violence.

"If we can lead those adhearance of the Islamic faith to the Catholic faith and to salvation, I think they would probably be appreciative of it at the moment of death," Banschbach said.

Is that still enough reason to put those words up?

"It makes me feel threatened," Father James Bridges, the Pastor at St. Stephen's Catholic Church, said.

Not according to Father James Bridges at St. Stephen's Catholic Church.

"No, definately not, nor would the Mother of Jesus want us to annihilate anybody except Satan himself perhaps," Fr. Bridges explained.

Bridges said the sign is misleading.

"No that is not a Roman Catholic Church," Fr. Bridges said. "They are schismatics, they have cut themselves off."

He said the mainstream Church does not support the sign or the chapel.

"We know, that the people that I know that most people that live around us who are Muslim they are wonderful and very peaceful people," Fr. Bridges added.

NewsWest 9 was unable to reach anyone with Midland's Islamic Center on Wednesday. 

Banchbach said he usually updates that sign each month. 

In the meantime, he said that sign isn't coming down.