Evangelical Hillsong pastor Carl Lentz says “ignorance” is the root of racism.

Carl Lentz, the pastor of Hillsong Church in New York City, wrote on the Hillsong NYC’s Facebook page, "At THIS church, we are not saying 'all lives matter' right now because this is a logical assumption that most reasonable people agree with. All lives are not at risk right now. We ARE saying BLACK LIVES MATTER. Because, right now, black lives apparently are worth LESS on our streets. It's "our fight" not "their fight."  This has brought a lot of debate, and it has taken white Americans to task for getting “defensive” discussing racism.

This comment was made just two days after two police shootings left two black men, Terence Crutcher and Keith Lamont Scott, dead. This brought about peaceful protests which were interrupted by chaos in cities 1,000 miles apart. The shooting of black men and women this year has brought a lot of tension in various cities across the country.

Oprah Winfrey on SuperSoul Sunday, recently asked Lentz what he sees as the root of racism. Lentz answered “Ignorance.” He continued to say, “Ignorance is a lack of information, which creates insecurity; insecurity creates defensiveness, and defensiveness creates attack. It frustrates me that people want to act like this isn’t a conversation. White people can be so defensive about this subject.”

He wonders how a simple concept would create so much debate. He said, “I clearly said and loudly said that anybody with a functioning brain, does not debate that all lives matter! Of course, we believe that. Our contention is that there is a debate on what lives matter MOST. To highlight one issue or one need, does not disparage another. To me, it’s just common sense and completely uncomplicated. The question has been asked ‘Do black lives matter?’ Our answer is ‘yes, black lives matter.’ The question was NOT, do all lives matter.”

According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted earlier this year, white Americans who “strongly support” the Black Lives Matter Movement amount to less than 15 percent. And only a third of Americans say they’ve heard of the movement, but don’t understand its purpose very well.

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In the recent months, Lentz has been engaging the community on the topic of racism to try and combat this ignorance. These comments made Lentz create a broader discussion in the church.

Hillsong NYC is a branch of an international pentecostal church and it has a congregation of about 100,000 worshippers each week. The church has about 15 branches in the world’s hippest cities.

Lentz is known to support Black Lives Matter, which contradicts his views on gay rights, and he welcomes the LGBT people to services but doesn’t bless or support their relationship. This mentality leans towards “love the sinner, hate the sin.” He told Oprah, “At the table is where we find common ground.”

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