Evangelical pastor Louie Giglio is receiving backlash after making controversial statements on slavery. The leader of Atlanta’s Passion City Church said while sitting down with Christian artist Lecrae and Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Carthy that slavery was a “blessing” and the term “White privilege” would be better accepted if it was called “White blessing.”

“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,” Giglio said in a now-viral clip. “And so a lot of people call this White privilege and when you say those two words it’s just, 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 asserted that the church, much like the rest of the country, is fighting historical context at the present moment. He suggested that a way to get past the negative connotation of slavery and the privilege that was passed down from that dark period in American history where White people profited off the backs of Blacks is to simply shift the phrasing. 

“Maybe a great thing for me is to call it a White blessing, Giglio continued. “That I’m living in the blessing of the curse.”

Giglio’s comments were not well received on Twitter, whose users sent “White Blessing” trending by Tuesday morning. 

CNN commentator and best-selling author Keith Boykin tweeted, “Using the term “white blessing” instead of “white privilege” erases reality. “White blessing” implies that white advantages in society are ordained by God and allows white people to absolve themselves of responsibility for their own creation and perpetuation of white supremacy.”

Montgomery pastor Hart Ramsey weighed in tweeting, “White privilege” is NOT “White Blessing!” Please don’t do that. Slavery was indeed a demonic curse. And what came out of it is also A CURSE. That logic means I can kidnap someone, force them to work for free, & call the profit MY BLESSING! NO SIR! @louiegiglio NOPE!”

After Twitter started to go after Giglio and Lecrae, whom many feel did not do enough to push back on the Atlanta pastor’s absurd assertion, Pastor Louie Giglio responded to a White Washington Post reporter saying,  he was not “seeking to refer to slavery as blessing-but that we are privileged because of the curse of slavery. 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.”

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