Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy suggested during a church service that one way for white people to atone for racism in the United States is to shine the shoes of black people, to express their "shame."
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Cathy sat down for a televised discussion at Atlanta's Passion City Church on Sunday with Pastor Louie Giglio and rapper Lecrae to engage in what the church described as "an open and honest conversation around how racism has plagued our city for generations, and the steps we can all take to confront it head-on in our church, our neighborhoods, and our hearts."
The CEO shared a story told to him about a revival that happened in Texas, where a young man at the service who was "gripped with conviction about the racism that was happening" in the small town expressed his conviction by kneeling down before an elderly African American man and shining the gentleman's shoes.
Cathy said "the tears began to flow in that service."
"So I invite folks to just put some words to action here," Cathy said, standing up and walking over to Lecrae with a shoe brush in hand. As he knelt down before the rapper, the CEO continued, "If we need to find somebody that needs to have their shoes shined, we just need to go right on over and shine their shoes and whether they got tennis shoes on or not, maybe they got sandals on, it really doesn't matter. But there's a time at which we need to have, you know, some personal action here. Maybe we need to give them a hug, too."
After sharing a hug, Cathy walked back to his seat as Lecrae joked, "And some stock in Chick-fil-A."
Remaining serious, Cathy held up his brush and explained, "I bought about 1,500 of these and I gave them to all of our Chick-fil-A operators and staff a number of years ago and so any expressions of a contrite heart, of a sense of humility, a sense of shame, a sense of embarrassment, but yet with an apologetic heart, I think that's what our world needs to hear today."
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