The leading pastor of a popular Atlanta megachurch has apologized for his ‘horrible choice of words’ after he said white people don’t recognize the ‘blessing’ of slavery and suggested using the phrase ‘white blessing’ instead of ‘white privilege.’
Louie Giglio, the pastor of Passion City Church, made the comments during an online church service featuring black Christian rapper Lecrae and Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy on Sunday.
The three had hosted an ‘open and honest conversation’ around race and Christianity, amid the recent reckoning over racial injustice and police brutality in America.
During the discussion, Giglio said the church was fighting ‘this historical context’ in which followers ‘love the blessing of the cross but we don’t love to sit in it’.
He then went on to make an analogy using the country’s history of slavery, saying white Americans fail to recognize the ‘blessing’ that came from the oppression of black people that allowed them to live a privileged life in society.
‘We understand the curse that was slavery, white people do, and we say “that was bad,” but we miss the blessing of slavery that it actually built up the framework for the world that white people live in and lived in,’ he said.
‘A lot of people call this white privilege and when you say those two words it’s just like a fuse goes off for a lot of white people because they can’t they don’t want somebody telling them to check their privilege.’
Giglio, speaking directly to Lecrae, then suggested using the phrase ‘white blessing’ instead of ‘white privilege’.
‘You and I both have struggled in these days with, “hey, if the phrase is the trip up, let’s get over the phrase and let’s get down to the heart. Let’s get down to what do you then want to call it.”
‘I think maybe a great thing for me, is to call it “white blessing”. I’m living in the blessing of the curse that happened generationally, that allowed me to grow up in Atlanta,’ he added.
A video of the discussion was widely shared on Twitter and was heavily criticized by viewers including Lecrae himself.
‘How do you purport to have an honest conversation about race while centering your opinion on which words matter and redefining the words YOU don’t think fit? I can’t imagine having an honest conversation on ableism while saying, “I’d prefer we call it ‘ably blessed.'” SIR, WHAT?’ one woman replied.
Another wrote: ‘White privilege is wanting to rebrand something as white blessing because white fragility makes white people not want to hear about white privilege. Yeah, the concept is supposed to make you uncomfortable because the reality is uncomfortable.’
Following the backlash, Lecrae addressed the controversy in a video shared on Twitter condemning Giglio’s choice of words.
The rapper, 40, admitted feeling uncomfortable during the conversation saying ‘in that moment I was processing, like “man, what do I do.”‘
‘I talked to him again last night and let him know my views and my perspectives and obviously I wasn’t okay with it. And we can’t just be virtue signalling and doing this because it’s the in thing to do to talk about race on platforms,’ he added.
Giglio later responded to the criticism on Twitter and clarified he was trying to ‘help us see society is built on the dehumanization of others.’
‘My apology, I failed,’ he said.
He further apologized in a subsequent video uploaded on social media, acknowledging his poor choice of words.
‘I just wanted to come directly to you today for the use and sincerely apologize, for the use of the phrase on Sunday “white blessing”,’ he said.
‘I extend that apology to every single person who is listening to me right now, but most importantly, I extend that apology to my black brothers and sisters. I, like so many, am so burdened about what is happening in our nation right now.
‘And I’m heartbroken about where we are as a nation and one of the things that I’m most heartbroken about is trying to help myself continue to learn and to help my white brothers and sisters understand that white privilege is real.
‘And in trying to get that sentiment across on Sunday, I used the phrase “white blessing”, for which I’m deeply sorry. Horrible choice of words, it does not reflect my heart at all. I don’t believe there’s any blessing in slavery, to the contrary.
‘What I’m trying to understand and help people see is that I, my white brothers and sisters, we sit in large part where we are today because of the centuries of gross injustice done to our black brothers and sisters,’ he said.
Giglio is the founder of the ‘Passion Movement’, established in 1997, which aims to unite college students for a ‘spiritual awakening in this generation’.
SOURCE: Daily Mail,