Theology Prof's Prayer to God: 'Help Me to Hate White People' Shontae Scott of Atlanta clutches her hands on her bible Tuesday while watching live coverage of the funeral of Coretta Scott King at the Samson's Health and Fitness Center next to the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church Feb. 7, 2006 in Lithonia, Georgia. (Photo by Stephen Morton/Getty Images)
By Brian Freeman | Monday, 12 April 2021 12:41 PM
A seminary professor has written a prayer in which she asks God to help her "hate White people," Campus Reform has reported.
"Dear God, Please help me to hate White people," opens the prayer, written by Chanequa Walker-Barnes, an associate professor of practical theology at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. "Or at least to want to hate them. At least, I want to stop caring about them, individually and collectively.
"I want to stop caring about their misguided, racist souls, to stop believing that they can be better, that they can stop being racist," continues the prayer, which is recorded in the bestselling book, "A Rhythm of Prayer," according to Religion News Service.
"I am not talking about the White antiracist allies who have taken up this struggle against racism with their whole lives," Walker-Barnes clarifies.
She also stresses she has no interest in hating "strident segregationists who mow down nonviolent antiracist protesters, who open fire on Black churchgoers, or who plot acts of racism terrorism hoping to start a race war," as such people are "already in hell."
Instead, she clarifies she seeks the strength of God to hate "the nice ones" — specifically, the "Fox News-loving, Trump-supporting voters who 'don't see color' but who make thinly veiled racist comments about 'those people.'"
She also asks the Lord for the "permission and desire to hate" the White people who claim "the progressive label but who are really wolves in sheep's clothing."
"Lord, if you can't make me hate them, at least spare me from their perennial gaslighting, whitemansplaining, and White woman tears," she prays. "Lord, if it be your will, harden my heart. Stop me from striving to see the best in people. Stop me from being hopeful that White people can do and be better. Let me imagine them instead as white-hooded robes standing in front of burning crosses."
The vicious criticism of the prayer from conservatives caused Sarah Bessey, editor of "A Rhythm of Prayer," to move her social media to private status, Religion News Service reported.
Other contributors to the book issued a statement of solidarity and support in which they said that the "prayer is modeled on the Psalms of lament and anger, often called imprecatory Psalms. … The Bible is often more honest about these complicated emotions than a lot of religious people. Prayers in Scripture often reflect a similar arc of anger and exhaustion and longing that turns the petitioner right back to trust in God’s goodness, hope, and call to love, just as Dr. Walker-Barnes modeled so well.
Walker-Barnes herself posted a statement, saying critics have "targeted me for attack, harassing me through email, phone, and social media. In addition, they have bombarded my institution."
She said critics are "willfully misinterpreting the prayer to an extent that can only be explained by hermeneutical incompetence or willful maliciousness. This is part of a pattern of abusive behavior that is being waged largely against Black women scholars and clergy who do intersectional justice work."
She pointed out that in her prayer she turned it around, “as the imprecatory psalms often do. … I prayed for God not to let anger and hatred overwhelm me. I asked to be able to continue to love those who hate me. I prayed to remain true to the biblical mandate for peace, justice and reconciliation even when I have very little hope of its possibility."