Pastor Carl Lentz of Hillsong NYC has hosted a powerful conversation with Bishop T.D. Jakes following the death of George Floyd.
Protests have exploded across the United States after Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was filmed falling unconscious during an arrest by a group of Minnesota police officers. One officer, who has now been charged with murder, held Floyd face-down to the ground, pushing his knee into his neck for over eight minutes before Floyd lost consciousness and later died.
"I believe we are in a moment in history right now, a cultural tipping point," Lentz said at the start of Hillsong's broadcast (which you watch in full below). "And the Church of Jesus Christ is gonna rise up and shine a light."
Speaking to Lentz about the problem of systemic racism in the US, Jakes - the bishop of The Potter's House, a non-denominational American megachurch - said: "This is not a new problem. It's not the result of the pandemic. It's a result of a spiritual pandemic and a cultural pandemic that has existed in America from the very foundations. We've never dealt with it, we don't talk about it. It's taboo to discuss it.
"The church has a very difficult history when it comes to racial issues. We have been complicit, participants and now we have just been silent. I don't know which one is worse..both of them are traumatic.
"Our silence is abuse."
Discussing the brutality that many African-Americans experience at the hands of law enforcement, Jakes went on to put in clear terms what he wishes to see change:
"It's not a mystery.. we want to grow old, we want to live. We want better education, we want equal access to opportunities."
The famous preacher added that he is not asking for black people to be immune from arrest, in as much as no person, regardless of race, should be treated as above the law. "We are just asking not to be tried on the sidewalk," he said. "That's all, just don't arrest me, try me, convict me and kill me on the sidewalk."
To drive home his point, Jakes referenced the racist mass murderer Dylann Roof who, after being arrested for shooting dead nine black people at Charleston's Emanuel AME church, was treated to a meal at Burger King by law enforcement.
He added: "As far as I can tell, George Floyd did not get anything from Burger King, and he did not kill anybody.
"This guy wasn't fighting, he wasn't resisting arrest. We've seen people have their hands on the wheel and they've still got shot."
Lamenting the dire situation in America regarding race relations, Jakes added: "I don't know what to tell my kids to ensure that they are safe."
The preacher went on to talk about the "fraternities of silence" amongst law enforcement that perpetuate racial biases, saying:
"To the police officers out there and you are good and you love Jesus...but when you see a brother in blue doing wrong, you cannot allow your fraternity to the other police officer to be stronger than your commitment to God.
"You cannot pledge such an allegiance to him, that you betray God to protect him."
You can watch the full interview below: