Human Rights

Atlanta Megachurch Pastor Sets Off Firestorm by Calling Slavery a ‘White Blessing’

Megachurch pastor Louie Giglio has caused a media firestorm by saying he wants people to drop the phrase “white privilege” in favor of the phrase “white blessings” instead. In an interview with rapper Lecrae and Chik-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy (what in the heck does he know about this?), Giglio said the U.S. needs to “get over” the phrase “white privilege.”

I think this should be something for Black people to decide, not white folks. After all, they are dealing with the effects of “white privilege.” But that’s just me.

But Giglio, the pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta, Georgia also happens to be the founder of the Passion Movement, obviously sees things in a different way and he said so during the conversation, which was also an online church service, Newsweek reports.

And the three engaged in what Giglio called “an open and honest conversation around how racism has plagued our city for generations and the steps we can all take to confront it head-on in our church, our neighborhoods, and our hearts.”

At one point Giglio had this to say:

“I feel like on the inside of the church we’re fighting this historical context you [Lecrae] talk about. In other words, we love the blessing of the cross but we don’t love to sit in it and realize this is what God’s asking me to do, to die to myself, and live for him, whatever context that’s going to look like for me.”

Giglio says he wants to change this, but he sure has a hamfisted way of describing the situation.

“But I want to flip that upside down because I think the other side of it is true with our nation’s history,” he said. “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.”

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Well, I have a phrase of my own that I like to use: “whitesplaining.” It’s like “mansplaining” except this time it’s white people who are annoying. And Giglio is annoying here. He’s a white person who can’t possibly perceive this from the Black perspective. Neither can I. Neither can you, if you’re white. He mentions the world white people live in but Black people were forced to live in that world whether they wanted to or not.

But that’s not all Giglio has to say, and here’s where he turns to Lecrae:

“I know that you and I have both 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 then do you want to call it, and I think maybe a great thing to me is to call it ‘white blessing.’ That I’m living in the blessing of the curse that happened generationally that allowed me to grow up in Atlanta.”

A clip of the “white blessing” conversation was posted on Twitter and is being met with criticism.

“The notion that enslavement is a blessing is nothing short of white supremacy,” said Pastor Rob Lee. “It also happens to be bull****. We have to abandon the notion that pastors like Louie Giglio will help us with our messaging and Instagram stories and deal with our privilege faithfully and honestly.”

Giglio has since apologized for his “horrible choice of words.”

But rather than listening to people like Giglio, we should look to our Black family members and friends to see what they have to say. Then we need to listen to them.

meet the author

Megan has lived in California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida and she currently lives in Central America. Living in these places has informed her writing on politics, science, and history. She is currently owned by 15 cats and 3 dogs and regularly owns Trump supporters when she has the opportunity.

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