Boston activists pushing ‘White churches’ to pay reparations is ‘absurd,’ says South Side Chicago pastor

Activist leaders in Boston demanding “White churches” pay reparations to the city’s Black community “is really absurd,” said a pastor from the South Side of Chicago. 

“They’re playing on people’s guilt and shame and trying to shame them into doing something, trying to guilt them into doing something,” Pastor Corey Brooks told Fox News. “I don’t want anybody doing anything for me out of shame and out of guilt.”

During a March 23 event at the Resurrection Lutheran Church, the Boston People’s Reparations Commission, which was established in 2022, called on “White churches” to do their part and pay “tens of millions of dollars” in reparations.

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“We call sincerely and with a heart filled with faith and Christian love for our White churches to join us and not be silent around this issue of racism and slavery and commit to reparations,” Rev. Kevin Peterson said during the event.

In February, the commission argued that Boston’s wealth was built on slavery and called for the city to “fully commit to writing checks” totaling to a $15 billion payout. The group sent out a letter signed by 16 religious leaders to churches in the Boston area, seeking support for reparations.

Brooks said he has always opposed the idea of reparations entirely, but for church leaders to ask other Christians to pay reparations around the Easter holiday “is really absurd.” 

“As Christians, we’re taught to believe that we’re one. We’re not Black and White,” Brooks told Fox News. “So here we are, when we’re supposed to be celebrating oneness and coming together in unity, and now we’re looking at our brothers and sisters and saying to them, ‘You owe us. We’re victims.’”

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Rev. Kevin C. Peterson, the founder of the New Democracy Coalition and the Faneuil Hall Race, delivered remarks at a press conference in Roxbury to announce a proposal on how the City of Boston should implement reparations. (Rev. Kevin C. Peterson)

“That type of mindset, that type of theology, that type of idea only takes us backwards,” he added. “It never takes us forward, and it’s very contradictory to what the Bible says.

During the Boston People’s Reparations Commission’s February news conference, Peterson demanded $5 billion in cash payments to Boston’s Black residents, $5 billion in investments to new financial institutions and $5 billion to be spent on addressing racial disparities in education and anti-crime measures.

The amount is more than three times the annual budget in Boston, which was set at nearly $4.3 billion for fiscal year 2024.

“I think the amount is outrageous, first of all,” Brooks told Fox News. “Secondly, I think that even if people did do reparations, I’m going to be very honest that it still would not help our community.” 

The pastor said the Black community has a history of being irresponsible with money, and spending it in ways that don’t have a lasting impact on their communities. 

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“We are consumers. Our community is very materialistic. Our community is financially illiterate,” he said. “Nowhere in the country will you find as many 500 credit scores as you find in impoverished areas.”

Brooks said if the reparations demands were met, “it would be more of a detriment than it would be a help.”

“Realistically, that money would be given and it would go right back out and our community would be in a worse predicament because now we’ve been given something instead of being taught to work for it,” he said. 

Brooks founded Project H.O.O.D. (Helping Others Obtain Destiny), a nonprofit focused on providing mentorship, training and community for residents in Chicago’s South Side. In 2022, Brooks spent 345 days on a Chicago rooftop as part of a fundraising campaign, raising nearly $30 million toward the new community center he is building to help curb crime and create job opportunities, among other goals.  

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Brooks said rather than pushing for reparations, which is occurring across the country at the federal, state and local level, Black leaders need to push for long-term change that will improve their communities from the ground up. 

“What has to happen instead of having this focus on reparations, is we need to have a focus on how we can educate our kids,” Brooks told Fox News. “Let’s create some systems and some structures to make sure that our kids are reading and that give them that chance at the American dream and stop focusing on someone to give us something and give us a handout so that we can somehow turn things around. That’s never going to happen.”

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