While preaching last Sunday, Hillsong UK pastor Gary Clarke said: “It’s a race issue, yes. For me, I don’t live in the United States. For me to be railing as a pastor about something that’s going on in another country, I’m not really sure that’s going to help anyone.”
His comments caused widespread criticism, causing Pastor Houston to take to Instagram to speak out.
In an Instagram post, Hillsong London’s pastor stated, “I am deeply sorry for the offence caused from the message. I care deeply about all people and abhor any form of racism or oppression, and my language ignored that fact just like in America, racism in many forms exists widely here in the UK.”
In striking contrast, Hillsong New York’s senior pastor, has been extremely outspoken, even using the hashtag #occupyallstreets to encourage people to protest peacefully that racial violence is okay.
While the pastor has apologized, his comments show a deeper issue in that racism is so common that it is generally overlooked. The thinking is that if it is not in our own backyard, then it is not our problem. His apology will be appreciated, but the damage done to his church and reputation will remain to be seen.
Meanwhile, the three remaining police officers at the scene of Floyd’s death have been charged with murder.