Activist minister Jacqui Lewis: White supremacy sometimes “masquerades as faith” in Christian churches

Produced by Rebecca Corey

“Through Her Eyes” is a new weekly half-hour show hosted by human rights activist Zainab Salbi that explores contemporary issues from a female perspective. You can watch the full episode of “Through Her Eyes” every Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on Roku, or at the bottom of this article.

Rev. Jacqueline Lewis, senior minister of Middle Collegiate Church in Manhattan, is on a mission to eradicate racism — especially within the church she loves. Though Rev. Lewis’s own congregation is a model of diversity, Rev. Lewis isn’t shy about being critical of the wider Christian world — what she calls “the capital C church.” Appearing on the Yahoo News program “Through Her Eyes,” Rev. Lewis contended that the church is just one of many areas in American life that she says has been stained by racism.

“The thing that does not change, the thing that has no change, is the persistent myth of white supremacy,” she said. “That takes form in the Christian church, where white supremacy masquerades as faith, that gets built into capitalism, that gets built into government, that gets built into voter redistricting, and it gets written into how we’re going to gerrymander. And that sense of keeping white folks on top does not change.”

Rev. Lewis is also seeking to bring people together — including the Women’s March movement, which has recently been steeped in controversy.  

“I think we have more to lose by breaking up the movement,” Rev. Lewis said.

The leaders of the Women’s March have faced accusations of anti-Semitism, with much of the criticism focusing on their support of Louis Farrakhan, a leader in the Nation of Islam. As a result, the Women’s March has splintered, and other organizations, such as March On, have been formed. But Rev. Lewis hopes feminists and their allies can focus on common goals to drive the Women’s March movement forward.

“Our shared enemies are so clear,” Rev. Lewis said. “White supremacy is our shared enemy. … Greed is our shared enemy. Homophobia and transphobia, those are our shared enemies.

“Look, we’re family. Those of us who are trying to lead our nation to justice are family. And families don’t get along all the time. Family life is messy.”