Megachurch pastor Louie Giglio has apologized after suggesting the term ‘white privilege’ should change to 'white blessing.'
The comment came during a discussion on race with Christian rapper Lecrae and Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy, according to Faithwire. Earlier this week a two-minute clip of the ‘white blessing’ suggestion hit the internet and went viral, eliciting strong criticism of Giglio.
Tuesday afternoon, Giglio posted an apology video where he sought to clarify his intentions.
“I sincerely apologize for the phrase ‘white blessing,’” he said. “I want to help my white brothers and sisters understand that white privilege is real and in trying to get that sentiment across, I used the phrase ‘white blessing,’ for which I am deeply sorry. Horrible choice of words. It does not reflect my heart.”
He continued: “I and my white brothers and sisters sit in large part where we are today because of the centuries of gross injustice done to our black brothers and sisters.”
Other critics lashed out at Lecrae for not immediately pushing back during the interview. The rapper took to social media to respond.
“I wasn’t okay with it,” he said. “I was very uncomfortable, and I was processing, ‘man, what do I say in light of this?’ There have been a lot of times, as I’ve navigated white supremacy or racial injustice and I’ve wanted to lash out, honestly, in anger. And there's other moments where I’ve been like, ‘God, give me the grace and wisdom on how to deal with this’ and in that moment, I was processing, ‘man, what do I do?’”
Though Lecrae didn’t correct Giglio during the interview, he discussed with the pastor after the taping to let him know that “we can’t just be virtue signaling and doing this because it’s the ‘in’ thing to do, talk about race on platforms.”
Giglio hoped, during the interview, to provide clarity to the term ‘white privilege’ since many white people don’t understand it. But many saw the suggestion offensive. Jonathan Merritt, a progressive Christian leader, tweeted that evangelical leaders are “two or three good questions (and a bourbon) away from confessing a white supremacist view.”
Meanwhile, over on Christianity Today, Ed Stetzer, the executive director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center, encouraged white pastors to keep the conversation going, even if mistakes are made.
“Talking about racial injustice is challenging, but (of course) experiencing racial injustice is much more so,” he said. “Yet, there is a fear—heightened today—that all it takes is one misstep and you are called ‘racist’ or taken for a fool in such conversations. Because of this, pastors may fear having discussions about race. That’s a mistake.”
He also gave three suggestions to remember in moving forward: conversations about race will inherently encounter misunderstanding; terms are important to define clearly; and, empathy, which is seeing things through other people’s eyes, will push us to better understanding.
Photo courtesy: Louie Giglio Facebook
Mikaela Mathews is a freelance writer and editor based in Dallas, TX. She was the editor of a local magazine and a contributing writer for the Galveston Daily News and Spirit Magazine.