Not a Blessing

Antigay megachurch preacher refers to slavery as a “blessing” in hopes of bridging racial divide

Homophobic preacher Louie Giglio–a noted advocate of conversion therapy–touched off a firestorm on social media for referring to slavery as a “blessing,” and for trying to rebrand the term “white privilege” as “white blessing.”

While holding talk show-like conversation with Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy and rapper Lecrae, Giglio likened slavery to Jesus’ crucifixion, calling it both a blessing and a curse.

“I feel like on the inside of the church we’re fighting this historical context you talk about,” Giglio said. “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. But I want to flip that upside down because I think the other side of it is true with our nation’s history. 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.”

“And so a lot of people call this ‘white privilege’ and when you say those two words it’s like a fuse goes off for a lot of white people because they don’t want somebody telling them to check their privilege,” Giglio went on. “I know that 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 then do you want to call it,’ and I think maybe a great thing for 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.”

Perhaps it goes without saying that social media exploded over his remarks. “White privilege is wanting to rebrand something as white blessing because white fragility makes white people not want to hear about white privilege,” noted Twitter user BethEBanana. “Yeah, the concept is supposed to make you uncomfortable because the reality is uncomfortable.”

“Words definitely matter,” said Twitter user Adrienne Lloyd. “What white people enjoyed at the expense of Black lives, what they stole through murder rape, mayhem and all acts of depravity, was not a blessing. Blessings come from God. He sounds ridiculous. He’s an example of white audacity!”

Realizing his tone-deafness, Giglio tried to walk back his remarks. “Not seeking to refer to slavery as blessing-but that we are privileged because of the curse of slavery,” he rambled via tweet. “In calling it a privilege/benefit/blessing— word choice wasn’t great. Trying to help us see society is built on the dehumanization of others. My apology, I failed.”

This isn’t the first time Giglio’s “choice of words” has landed him in trouble. He previously wanted to offer a prayer at Barack Obama’s inauguration, but had to decline after sermons bashing LGBTQ people surfaced in the public. He’s also endorsed conversion therapy and encouraged Christians to fight back against the “homosexual lifestyle.”

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