A church in Illinois has committed to avoiding musical scores and liturgical contributions in its prayer services that are “written or composed by white people.” The move is part of the church's bid to embrace social justice, which is committed during Lent, in which it claimed to be “fasting from whiteness.”
The First United Church of Oak Park in Oak Park, a Chicago suburb, announced that for Lent this year, the church will not be using any creations composed by white people and will instead select liturgical music from “the African-American spirituals tradition, from South African freedom songs, from Native American traditions, and many, many more.”
“For Lent, it is our prayer that in our spiritual disciplines we may grow as Christians, united in the body of Christ with people of all ages, nations, races, and origins,” the church stated, Turning Point USA reported.
The pledge to intentionally avoid the contributions of white people will last for the approximately 40 days of Lent. Churchgoers are encouraged to view the church’s whiteness-free worship services on its YouTube channel.
Turning Point USA, which blew the lid off the story, captured first-hand footage of the church’s sign, which it erected outside of its premises, and accused the First United Church of creating “disunity.” The conservative organization also accused the woke parish of “moving back to segregation times.”
In addition to barring the inclusion of white music and liturgical contributions from white creators, the church is also “fasting from whiteness” through its reflections for Lent.
An announcement on March 29, titled “Kindness and Privilege” calls on churchgoers to “honor our fast from whiteness this Lent by prioritizing the voice of Bruce Reyes-Chow through a chapter of his book, In Defense of Kindness.”
An excerpt from Reyes-Chow states that anyone opposed to violent protests is speaking from a place of privilege and must refrain from trying to stop such riots, according to Reyes-Chow, trying to stop violent protests is an exercise of “‘civilizing’ those who do not fit into our understanding of normative behavior.”
For many of us, being uncomfortable about public protests or what we perceive as aggressive expressions of frustration simply identifies our privilege and our ability to shield ourselves from the struggles that others are facing. May our call to civil discourse be more about listening to the genuine struggles of our human sisters, brothers, siblings, neighbors, and strangers than about protecting our own spaces of security. Most people do not engage in public protest or in expressing anger that may put risk on their life, work, or status. So when groups of people are pushed to their boiling point, the least helpful thing to do is to silence them.