Hillsong NYC pastor Carl Lentz was recently interviewed by television star Oprah Winfrey on her SuperSoul Sunday talk show program and described what he believes is the "root of racism" in America today.
Lentz, who proclaimed on Facebook in September that he and his megachurch won't be chanting "All Lives Matter" because "black lives apparently are worth less on our streets," talked with Winfrey for over 40 minutes about faith, religion and Christ.
But one of the last questions that the 62-year-old African-American megastar asked the 31-year-old pastor was what he thinks "the root of racism is."
"Ignorance," Lentz responded. "And, ignorance is a lack of information, which creates insecurity; insecurity creates defensiveness, and defensiveness creates attack."
Lentz continued by saying that he gets frustrated when "people want to act like this isn't a conversation."
"White people can be so defensive about this subject," Lentz added. "Are you really trying to say that this isn't an issue?"
Winfrey chimed in by talking about her own experiences in which her white friends refused to think that there is actually a systemic racial problem in America.
"When I started talking to some of my white friends, and I think this is when like Trayvon Martin first was shot, everybody thought that was an anomaly, not everybody, but some of my white friends," she explained. "They were like literally saying to me: 'This doesn't go on all the time.' And, I go, 'It does.'"
After African-American Walter Scott was killed by police in April 2015, Winfrey said she received an email from one of her white friends that stated, "Maybe there is something to what you are saying."
"I understand that you are white and never known a black person or you know one or two and you are never in any other culture other than your own and you live this entitlement that you don't even know you are experiencing," Winfrey said. "You wouldn't know."
Lentz then added that he always tells people, "Let's just say to the ignorant white person who says that it's not real and doesn't happen a lot, 'What if it was just this situation? Is it OK to have this conversation and give people a moment to freak out?"
"If it was just that one situation, it would demand a reckoning still, but it is not just that one," Lentz continued. "I think, again, that word conversation, which has been one of your gifts to our country, is that you will start a conversation. At the table is where we find common ground. There is no conversations in our country."
Winfrey then suggested that part of the reason why very few racial conversations are happening between white, blacks and other ethnicities is because "people immediately feel that you are accusing them of being a racist."
"Correct. Yes," Lentz replied. "We have to be able to talk about this. I have to be able to communicate how I feel without you attacking me."
The Christian Post reached out to Lentz and asked him to clarify his remarks made during his interview with Winfrey. Lentz explained that it is not just white people who are guilty of the ignorance responsible for the "root of racism."
"Ultimately, I believe the root of racism, is sin!! Cut and dry," Lentz told CP by email. "When I was talking to Oprah, I was doing my best to make sure I would make as much sense as possible to those who don't get that 'term' necessarily and it's definitely not reserved for just white people!"
"I do believe though that so much of our power structure in this country has been so 'white' that some people are literally SO unaware. It has shocked me. Many people feel like 'we all have the same shot, and it's those who work hard that make it.'" Lentz continued. "In MY opinion, this just isn't true. That's what I mean by ignorance, or lack of desire to at least investigate. I am an absolute work in progress in every facet of my life, including interviews that are very intimidating. Hopefully and by God's grace, it was more effective than not!"
In his Facebook post from late September, Lentz proclaimed that the phrase "All Lives Matter" is simply a "logical assumption that most reasonable people agree with."
"All lives are not at risk right now," Lentz asserted. "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.'"