Chick-fil-A CEO Urges White Christians to Repent of Their “Racism” and Shine Blacks’ Shoes
Written by Steve Byas
Two days after a black man, Rayshard Brooks, was shot and killed by an Atlanta police officer while being arrested for public drunkenness, the CEO of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy, said that white Christians need to repent of their racism. Speaking at Passion City Church in Atlanta on Sunday, Cathy said that to show black people that white Christians are serious about that repentance, they should shine the shoes of black people as way of expressing their “shame.”
During the 70-minute roundtable discussion with Louie Giglio, the pastor, and a black rapper, Lecrae, at the church, Cathy explained, “Most of us white people, we’re out-of-sight-out-of-mind oblivious to it,” speaking of injustice to black Americans. “We cannot let this moment pass.”
The church described the session as “an open and honest conversation around how racism has plagued our city for generations, and the steps we call all take to confront it head-on in our church, our neighborhoods, and our hearts.”
Actually, what was billed as a “conversation” was, of course, more of a lecture from Cathy and the others on the stage. After telling a story about a church service in Texas in which a young man was “gripped with conviction about the racism that was happening,” the young man kneeled down before an old black man and shined his shoes. “The tears began to flow in that service,” Cathy said.
Then, Cathy got up and knelt down before Lecrae with a shoe brush and said, “So I invite folks to just put some words to action here. If we need to find somebody that needs to have their shoes shined, we just need to go right on over and shine their shoes and whether they got tennis shoes on or not, maybe they got sandals on, it really doesn’t matter. But there’s a time at which we need to have, you know, some personal action here. Maybe we need to give them a hug, too.”
After finishing his act of contrition with Lecrae, Cathy told the crowd, “I bought about 1,500 of these and I gave them to all of our Chick-fil-A operators and staff a number of years ago and so any expressions of a contrite heart, a sense of humility, a sense of shame, a sense of embarrassment, but yet with an apologetic heart, I think that’s what our world needs to hear today.”
Cathy noted that “about a dozen Chick-fil-A restaurants” were “vandalized in the last week, but my plea would be for the white people, rather than point fingers at that kind of criminal effort, would be to see the level of frustration and exasperation and almost the sense of hopelessness that exists on some of those activists within the African-American community.”
Chick-fil-A has taken a sharp turn to the left recently after years of building a reputation as a Christian-oriented company. Defying conventional wisdom that a restaurant needs to be open on Sunday to capture profits on the day when most church services are held, Cathy’s father opted to close on Sundays. Anyone who drives by a Chick-fil-A during the other six days a week is amazed at the steady stream of cars in the drive-through and the full parking lots — the company clearly makes enough money without opening on Sundays.
A few years ago, Cathy was asked about the push for same-sex marriage, and he responded that he favored the biblical view of marriage — that is, between one man and one woman. That, plus his contributions to organizations that share that view, such as the Salvation Army, led gay-rights activists to launch a boycott of the restaurant. The boycott backfired miserably, as loyal customers swarmed Chick-fil-A to support the company’s Christian values.
Across the country, some colleges have refused to allow the restaurant space in their campus food courts for Chick-fil-A because of the company’s alleged “homophobia.”
But now, Chick-fil-A’s leadership is clearly taking a different approach. They have dropped their support for groups that might offend the LGBT community, essentially betraying not only those customers who loyally supported them during the LGBT boycotts, but also their franchisees, most of whom supported the Christian image of the company.
Insofar as Cathy’s latest comments go, he now seems to be abandoning the traditional Christian view that sin is something that an individual commits and is responsible for. White Christians are no more responsible for someone else’s racism than a black Christian is responsible for another person burning down a building, or looting.
Rather than helping race relations, Cathy’s remarks are more likely to exacerbate racial tensions. Instead of judging someone by his own actions, a person is now to be judged by the actions of others who just happen to share the same skin color. Nothing could be more racist than that.
Implying that every time a white person does something wrong, or at least is thought to have done something wrong, to a black person that the entire white “race” should repent for it only adds to the continuance of judging individuals not by the content of their character, but by the color of their skin.
Image: screenshot from YouTube video
Steve Byas is a university instructor of history and government and the author of History’s Greatest Libels. He may be contacted at [email protected].
Courtesy of The New American