An Illinois church has released a statement after it said that it would be fasting from “whiteness” during the Lenten season. The statement says that they have been victims of “white supremacist backlash.”
The First United Church of Oak Park said that it would be giving up and “taking something on,” writing: “In our worship services throughout Lent, we will not be using any music or liturgy written or composed by white people. Our music will be drawn from the African American spirituals tradition, from South African freedom songs, from Native American traditions, and many, many more.”
“Justice must be loved into existence. It is the only way. White people absolutely have a place in the redemption story. White people were even at the foot of the cross: they were the Roman Guards. As white people, we must love our Redeemer enough to put down our spears.”
“We must love our redeemer more than our whiteness, and kneel before our redeemer who is a dark-skinned man from the poor parts of town.”
The church’s statement specifically mentions TurningPointUSA by name, as being the ones to start the “hateful messages” they received, according to The Post Millennial.
“In this case, ‘taking something on’ became living into the reality of white supremacist backlash in this country. Hateful messages started after an online piece by TurningPointUSA and other right-wing outlets criticizing this practice.
“Other conservative media picked it up. The church received over well over 1,000 hateful messages in under a day. This is where actually walking the walk of love can take you in this country today. Jesus knew it, and blessed those who stood up for righteousness’ sake.”
The statement quotes Matthew 5:11, stating that “blessed are you when people revile and persecute you.”
“As we approach Holy Week, this message of love in the face of hate could not be more appropriate.”