Famous pastor's church won't be using the line 'all lives matter' - here's why

Posted October 11, 2016

Famed Christian pastor Carl Lentz said his church, Hillsong Church NYC, has no intention of using the tagline "all lives matter" — a popular and controversial reaction to the "black lives matter" protest movement.

While some believe the "all lives matter" slogan is more inclusive, others see it as an insensitive dismissal of concerns that African-Americans have about police brutality, among other social ills.

"At THIS church, we are not saying 'all lives matter' right now because this is a logical assumption that most reasonable people agree with," reads a quote from Lentz published last Sunday on the church's Facebook page. "All lives are not at risk right now."

Lentz went on to say Hillsong will instead say "black lives matter," as he proclaimed that "black lives apparently are worth less on our streets."

Lentz also shared an earlier post on Twitter that read, "If we take a knee, people riot. If we take a bullet? People quiet." He said the quote came from "a friend" of his "who is not white." He continued, "I hear him loud and clear."

As Deseret News previously reported, the message Lentz referred to was posted on Twitter last week by popular Christian rapper Lecrae.

Lecrae's tweet was seemingly a reaction to the death of Terence Crutcher, a black man killed by police in Tulsa, Oklahoma, earlier this month; officer Betty Shelby has since been charged with manslaughter as a result of the incident.

The message also appeared to critique intense furor over San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick's decision to kneel during the national anthem.

Lentz, too, has tweeted about Crutcher in recent days, making passionate proclamations about the deadly incident.

"TERENCE CRUTCHER. DEAD. After a weekend we saw a TERRORIST get SHOT, and kept alive, we see this. If you rationalize this, please re-think," Lentz wrote in one tweet.

He added in another, "It is painfully obvious that the "default" when dealing w/ a black man in these "situations" is DEADLY FORCE. Often EMPTYING CLIPS."

Lentz's racial views have also been shared on his Instagram account as well, where he recently posted a photo that featured some of Hillsong's church leaders — a group composed mostly of African-Americans who he said had come together to meet and discuss "progressive diversity."

"We talked about things that were very frustrating/sad/uncomfortable and vulnerable. Things like how it feels to be black in America right now," Lentz wrote.

The pastor said the conversation was honest, and he encouraged others to hear out perspectives from people who are different from themselves. He said the times we're living in are urgent and that taking this step will have a profound impact.

Hillsong Church NYC has gained popularity and notoriety over the years, with Lentz being described in profiles and past interviews as an "uncommon pastor" who looks "more like a rock star than the head of a Pentecostal church."

Lentz's church attracts thousands of worshippers in New York City each week, using modern music and a more modern feel to attract youths, among others.

The pastor's message comes as the deaths of Crutcher and Keith Lamont Scott — a North Carolina man killed by police — have sparked controversy.

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