Recently, a white pastor in Atlanta made a statement that slavery was a blessing to white people. As expected, this comment received a lot of attention and backlash.
Honestly, I understand why he said it. After all, it was great for white people. It has continued to be great for white people. Can you imagine being better than someone else no matter what? Can you imagine if you didn’t have to pay your workers for the work they do? It’s like going shopping and only paying what you want…or nothing at all. The amount of wealth you would amass is unimaginable. Except it is imaginable because it actually happened. We see families in power who have gained generational wealth on the backs of enslaved people. Even today, it’s a struggle to get fair pay. The wealthiest will convince you it’s wrong to want more money while they continue to profit and receive huge bonuses. But the word “blessing” makes it seem like they deserved slavery as a gift from God. After all, a blessing is God’s favor and protection.
Then there’s the real reason he said it. He was trying to counter the idea of white privilege. Many white people get hung up on the phrase “white privilege”. The word privilege is a great explanation for what is happening in the society we live in. There’s a certain privilege that comes with being white. Basic humanity. However, the word “privilege” sounds like you’re wealthy and educated so those who are not, really take offense. Also, those who don’t like the phrase take offense. Then there are those who just want Black people to get over racism so they choose to take offense. They choose to feel like they’re being targeted for being blessed enough for being white. They choose to use “privilege” as an argument that it doesn’t exist.
This leads to the failure of Christianity to serve the truth. The truth is, Christianity was used to support slavery. It’s hard for pastors and Christians to admit that their religion and their Bible was used to justify the enslavement of a whole race of people. It’s easier to say that slavery was just a thing that happened. It’s easier to say it was a blessing to whites. It’s easier to say it brought Jesus to Black people. It’s easier to say it was God’s plan. When you do this, you’re absolved of your guilt and of the need to fix the system that was created. So they tell you to just pray.
There is this idea that all we need to do is pray and trust in the Lord. There’s no need to fight for equality. There’s no need to protest or to march. We should just sit back, pray, and let the miracles of God pour down. My friends, this is a lie. How do you think the work gets done? How does legislation get put in to place? How does awareness come about? While YOU may not be doing anything but praying, somebody else is DOING THE WORK. The same Bible that says “don’t pray and worry” (Philippians 4:6-7) is the same Bible that says “prayer without works is dead” (James 2:14-26). Your lack of action is you choosing to not act. It isn’t a clinging to the word of God. It’s you using the Bible as an excuse to do nothing. Instead of waiting for blessings maybe try being one.