A popular Christian author who participated in a prayer service for president Joe Biden has publicly apologised after reciting a line she deemed to be offensive.
Jen Hatmaker was delivering the final liturgical prayer during the virtually-held Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service when she said: "Almighty God, you have given us this good land as our heritage."
On Facebook, Hatmaker said that as soon as she said the line, she knew it was wrong. "I panicked and froze and then just kept going. I am so sorry, community," she wrote, noting that God "didn't give us this land".
"We took this land by force and trauma," she explained. "It wasn't an innocent divine transaction in which God bestowed an empty continent to colonizers. This is a shiny version of our actual history. If God gave this land to anyone, it was to the Native community who always lived here."
Hatmaker added that the prayer had been "written by the organizers", but still openly apologised for speaking that particular line and said she was "primarily sorry to my Native friends".
"It MATTERS to me that we reckon with our history of white supremacy and the lies we surrounded it with, and I am filled with regret that I offered yet another hazy, exceptional rendition of the origin story of colonization. Ugh," she wrote.
"I can't go on without apologizing. My stomach hurt all day."
Hatmaker noted that if she could redo that section of the prayer, she would say:
"God, may we continue to be a people who reckon with our violent history, repent from the unjust systems we built, denounce white supremacy in all its forms past and present, and continue to work together to form a more perfect union."
Many replied to Hatmaker's message with words of gratitude. "Leaders apologize which leads to more apologies," one person wrote. "Grace upon grace. Thanks for being an example."
Another added: "Thank you, as usual, for your grace in demonstrating how to be a person who lives and makes mistakes and *owns them* and moves forward in growth. You are a gift and a leader."
Hatmaker's prayer begins at 1:17:12 in the video below: