A Chicago-area church said it “will not be using any music or liturgy written or composed by white people” during Lent.
The First United Church of Oak Park is marking 40 days of “fasting from whiteness.”
“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,” it said.
“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 added.
Turning Point USA posted footage of the “Fasting from Whiteness” sign outside the church building, criticizing them for creating “disunity” and moving “back to segregation times.”
Rev. Lydia Mulkey, the church’s associate pastor of education, explained the fast in a YouTube video, the Washington Times reports.
“In this fast from whiteness, of course, I cannot change the color of my skin or the way that allows me to move through the world but I can change what I listen to, whose voice I prioritize,” Mulkey said. “And so that is kind of the place for our worship services, through Lent, that we would fast for a time from prioritizing white voices.”
The progressive church held a “fast from whiteness” Lenten reflection titled “Kindness and Privilege” with an excerpt from Bruce Reyes-Chow’s “In Defense of Kindness” that says people who oppose violent protests are privileged and should refrain from stopping them.
“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,” Reyes-Chow said. “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.”