Chris Hodges, founder and leader of Church of the Highlands, one of the largest churches in America, apologized Sunday for liking social media posts of Turning Point USA leader Charlie Kirk that have been criticized as racially insensitive.
“I understand how this has made you feel and I apologize. Honestly, it’s understandable to me. I don’t take it personally. I know people are hurting right now and they want clarity. I would love for you to not just look at a microscopic zoom-in but look at the totality of 37 years of ministry and 19 years as a church,” Hodges said Sunday in his sermon to his diverse but mostly white Alabama congregation.
“If you look at that it will be abundantly clear that we value every person. For every person that has been marginalized, rejected or belittled, abused or even afraid because of how God made you, Tammy and I, the Church of the Highlands family, stand with you.”
The apology comes after Birmingham high school English teacher Jasmine Faith Clisby told AL.com that Hodges followed and liked several social media posts by Kirk in the wake of national protests over the killing of 46-year-old African American George Floyd by Minneapolis Police Department officers on Memorial Day.
One of the posts, according to AL.com, shows two photos — one featuring President Donald Trump standing next to Muhammad Ali and Rosa Parks with the caption “The racist Donald Trump in the 1980s,” and the other featuring Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam with two men wearing blackface and a KKK costume with the caption “Progressive Leftist Ralph Northam in the 1980s.”
Turning Point USA was founded by Kirk, 26, as a national student movement dedicated to identifying, organizing, and empowering young people to promote the principles of free markets and limited government.
Clisby argued that Kirk is well-known to hold views such as “white privilege being a myth.”
White privilege is defined in a number of ways and one definition as highlighted by the University of Dayton is: “A right, advantage, or immunity granted to or enjoyed by white persons beyond the common advantage of all others; an exemption in many particular cases from certain burdens or liabilities.”
“I found something troubling,” Clisby told AL.com. “I can’t see into Pastor Chris Hodges’ heart.
“I would be upset if it comes off as me judging him. It’s not that. I’m not saying he’s a racist. I’m saying he likes someone who post[s] things that do not seem culturally sensitive to me.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair