Advising White Evangelicals

Emma Green for The Atlantic on how Black pastors are advising their white evangelical brethren on how to deal with racism.

In the weeks since george floyd’s death, Philip Pinckney has been inundated with messages from white evangelical pastors who want to take a stand against racism: 40 to 60 phone calls a day, dozens of texts and email chains, endless drafts of sermons and articles. The 34-year-old Black pastor has spent his life in spaces where his race is a point of contradiction. He trained as a cadet at the Citadel, the South Carolina military college whose officers helped orchestrate the attack on Fort Sumter that started the Civil War. He planted a church with the Southern Baptist Convention, a denomination founded to defend slaveholding. Now, as the country reckons with more Black deaths at the hands of police, he has taken up a role he often gets drafted to: an unofficial racism consultant to the white evangelical world.

“I don’t know any Black person who raised their hand and said, ‘Yup, I want to do this,’” he told me by phone, driving from Charleston to Columbia to talk with a group of pastors about race and Christianity. “We came into this to plant churches and to disciple people and to raise families and to proclaim, ‘Thus saith the Lord.’ And yet, there is this blindness. There is this ignorance. There is hostility that we feel a unique compulsion to move towards.” As Pinckney recently scrolled through his text messages, he noticed that some white pastors reach out only when racial violence is in the news. “We may not have talked since the last Black murder,” he said.

Green, Emma. (2020, July 5). The Unofficial Racism Consultants to the White Evangelical World. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/07/white-evangelicals-black-lives-matter/613738/

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