Duke Kwon, the leading pastor of the influential Washington, D.C. Christian church Grace Meridian Hill, recently tweeted his support for the reparations movement, saying it’s Christian to support reparations and those who are truly against it are “white Christians.”
A Korean American, Kwon tweeted, “Many reject reparations as alien to orthodox Christianity. What they really mean is white Christianity. And what they fail to recognize is that their unfamiliarity with reparations is itself the result of the separation, erasure, and control that reparations seeks to address.”
It’s not the first time Kwon has spoken in support of reparations. He and fellow clergyman Greg Thompson, who once served as a pastor in the historically conservative evangelical Presbyterian Church of America, wrote a book, “Reparations: A Christian Call for Repentance and Repair,” which was published in April 2021.
“Our concern is not to defend the Christian church from its alleged ideological victimization but to defend our neighbors from their actual victimization by repairing the harm done by white supremacy in our communities,” they wrote.
Thompson is a Charlottesville-based scholar and artist who is working on an initiative to build a national memorial to the Underground Railroad outside of Philadelphia, The Washington Post reported.
“We believe the biblical case for reparations is extraordinarily clear,” Thompson said in an interview with The Post. “The Christian church has a history that makes us complicit with the evils of white supremacy and responsible to remediate those harms. We believe we have a strong moral tradition that tells us the Christian church should embrace the call to provide restitution and to love our neighbors who have been historically robbed. Christians, more than any other group in America, should be at the forefront on reparations.”
Thompson added, “Several Christians we know are being confused by ‘thought leaders’ who suggest reparations or any talk about structural injustice is a product of non-Christian ideas or Marxism. We’re trying to push against the weakening of legitimate, historical, moral mandates.”
Many responded positively on Twitter. “Say that!” @ArneciaWallace tweeted.
“When you reflect on the fact that slave owners WERE paid reparations, the unwillingness to even consider the idea on the part of so many is a damning indictment of how deeply white supremacy is embedded in society and the church” But I thought character was important! @david_schnelly tweeted.
“A main principle of recovery is repentance and amends, before forgiveness. Its for healing, for both the victim and perpetrator. Reparations are amends” Tiffany Elliott @TiffRichElliott tweeted.
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