SoCal Church Criticized for Offering Shelter to Syrian Refugees

Minister says the church will continue to offer food, shelter to refugees.

The minister of an Inland Empire church said it has received backlash after the church announced last week it would take in Syrian refugees.

Rev. Bill Freeman of United Church of Christ in Menifee said someone left a sign on the front lawn of the church calling it a "blasphemous cult" after the church said it would welcome refugees seeking safe haven from war in Syria.

Freeman also shared with NBC4 a message left on the church's voicemail. In the voicemail, the caller said "If you seriously think that you're going to bring a bunch of Muslim [expletive] to Menifee you got another thing coming... Your church will be protested."

The controversy comes during a time when national debate grows over whether the U.S. should take in thousands of refugees affected by crisis in Syria.

Last week, Freeman's church told NBC4 it would welcome Syrian refugees and said it could offer food and shelter to at least two refugees.

"They're just people who need a place to stay and we offered them a place to stay and this happens," Freeman said.

Freeman said the church planned to continue to welcome any refugees that needed shelter and he had already filed a police report over the incidents.

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"There are people out there who don't always appreciate what I think Jesus would want us to do," Freeman said.

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