For Lent this year, Chicago church is ‘fasting from whiteness’

Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, April 10, 2022

Fasting is one of the ways the faithful imitate Jesus Christ’s sacrifice during his journey into the desert for 40 days. It is known as the Lenten sacrifice.

For the 40-day Lent period preceding Easter this year, a United Church of Christ congregation in suburban Chicago says it is “Fasting From Whiteness”.

The First United Church of Oak Park’s Lenten sacrifice

Like many modern Christian churches, and not only in Chicago, neo-Marxist tenets like Critical Race Theory have become articles of faith.

The First United Church of Oak Park’s “whiteness” fast was announced March 6 at a service marking the start of Lent but only gained wide notice on April 5 in a report by The Post-Millennial.

In a YouTube video posted by the church, the Rev. Lydia Mulkey, identified as the congregation’s associate pastor of education, explains the fast: “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. 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 announcement of the “whiteness” fast also featured an accompanying sign on the church’s front lawn, according to Turning Point USA.

TPUSA said the church was creating “disunity” and moving “back to segregation times.”

Churchgoers were encouraged to view whiteness-free worship services on the Church’s YouTube channel.

In a March 29 announcement entitled “Kindness and Privilege”, the church stated: “We honor our fast from whiteness this Lent by prioritizing the voice of Bruce Reyes-Chow through a chapter of his book, In Defense of Kindness.”

In the book, Reyes-Chow states that those who oppose violent protests are speaking from a place of privilege and should refrain from trying to stop the protests because doing so is an exercise of ” ‘civilizing’ those who do not fit into our understanding of normative behavior.”

Reyes-Chow continues: “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. 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.”

The First United Church of Oak Park announced on its website: “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,” the church said, adding, “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.”

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