By Knox News / USA Today Network
MARYVILLE, Tenn. (May 18, 2018) -- Eight white nationalists showed up at a Maryville church on Sunday evening to protest a talk by the author of a book about white supremacy.
The group stood on the sidewalk outside First United Methodist Church on Montvale Station Road. They held aloft a Confederate flag and a "White Pride Worldwide" flag, as well as banners reading "It's great to be White," and "'DIVERSITY' = WHITE GENOCIDE."
Inside, church members listened to a presentation by David Billings, the author of a book called "Deep Denial: The Persistence of White Supremacy in U.S. History and Life."
Attendees of the talk, which occurred as part of a monthly series about social issues, were largely unaware of the protesters' presence outside, according to the Rev. Catherine Nance, senior pastor at First United Methodist. The protesters showed up after the presentation began at 5 p.m., she said.
Nance said when someone alerted her to the protesters' presence, she was "shocked."
"But then I realized maybe this is a threatening topic to talk about, that we are all equal and that we are all children of God," she said.