Media attention overwhelms church website renouncing ‘whiteness’ for Lent

AAn Illinois church calling for a “whiteness” fast for Lent has garnered so much attention, mostly negative, that its website has crashed.

Oak Park First United Church has announced its “Fasting for Whiteness” program, which will run through April 14, focusing its worship on “the voices of black, indigenous people and people of color.”

The Reverend John Edgerton said the fact that the church is unaccustomed to national media coverage is “perhaps the understatement of the year”. Edgerton Told the Religious News Service that coverage led to the church receiving about five voicemails per minute.

A conservative youth organization posted a video shot on the church lawn criticizing the church’s decision and comparing it to segregation.

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Front lines host Drew Hernandez called the church and its leaders “wolves in sheep’s clothing pushing doctrines of demons”.

Podcaster Elijah Schaffer called the cult leader who made the announcement “a satanic priest disguised as a Christian” on Twitter.

Sports commentator Paul Zeise tweeted a GIF of a facepalm responding to the news.

Despite the unexpected attention, Edgerton said the choice to fast from “whiteness” and focus on African-American spirituals, South African freedom songs, Native American lore songs and Spanish hymns has “been so good”.

“What we have allowed to come to the fore are the beautiful, joyful and amazing contributions to sacred music and Christian life that have come from the world majority of Christians, who are people of color,” said Edgerton.

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“Our choir loves the repertoire,” he added. “We had more visitors than we have had for a long time. Our congregation has been challenged in all the best ways how hard a workout can be, so you know that in the end, greater health and strength have come out of it.

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