Atlanta Megachurch Pastor Wants to Use the Phrase 'White Blessings' Instead of 'White Privilege'

A prominent Atlanta megachurch pastor wants people to start using the phrase "white blessings" instead of "white privilege." Pastor Louie Giglio suggested the U.S. should "get over" the phrase "white privilege" in a conversation with rapper Lecrae and Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy on June 14.

Giglio is the pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta, Georgia, and founder of the Passion Movement.

In an online church service, Lecrae and Cathy joined Giglio for "an open and honest conversation around how racism has plagued our city for generations, and the steps we can all take to confront it head-on in our church, our neighborhoods, and our hearts."

Around 20 minutes into the service, Giglio said: "I feel like on the inside of the church we're fighting this historical context you [Lecrae] talk about. In other words, we love the blessing of the cross but we don't love to sit in it and realize this is what gods 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."

Louie Giglio
Louie Giglio speaks onstage at the 4th Annual KLOVE Fan Awards at Grand Ole Opry House on June 5, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee. Giglio has said that he wants to use the phrase "white blessing" instead of "white privilege." Rick Diamond/Getty

Giglio then goes on to say that the reason white people don't want to engage with the idea of "white privilege" is due to the term itself. He proposed a new phrase to use instead: "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."

Speaking to Lecrae, Giglio says: "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."

Pastor Louie Giglio, rapper Lecrae and Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy "had an honest conversation about race and the Church" on June 14.

Here's an example of why words and their meanings matter.

"White Privilege" vs. "White Blessings"

— Nicola A. Menzie (@namenzie) June 16, 2020

A clip of Giglio saying he wants to use "white blessing" instead of "white privilege" was posted to Twitter and met with criticism.

Pastor Rob Lee said: "The notion that enslavement is a blessing is nothing short of white supremacy. It also happens to be b*******. We have to abandon the notion that pastors like Louie Giglio will help us with our messaging and Instagram stories and deal with our privilege faithfully and honestly."

Author Jonathan Merritt said: "Watching Louie Giglio talk about 'the blessings of slavery' and 'white blessings' reminds me that MANY white evangelical leaders are two or three good questions (and a bourbon) away from confessing a white supremacist view."

However, Giglio apologized and tried to clarify what he meant by referring to slavery as a blessing when he said on Twitter: "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."