RELIGION

White Reverend Refuses To Offer 'Cheap Grace For White America' Following Charleston Shooting

06/27/2015 08:36 am ET | Updated Jun 29, 2015

As Charleston continues to grapple with faith and forgiveness following last week's shooting, some fear those who are willing to forgive could be pressured to forget as well.

Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, a professor of Theology at Chicago Theological Seminary, told HuffPost Live on Wednesday she originally "opposed" the forgiveness practice because it is often used as a "get out of jail free card." She cautioned against using forgiveness as way to avoid confronting the tough realities of racial violence in America:

I think white America craves this language of forgiveness because they want to forget. And I want to remember the faithful courage of the families who ... specifically [told Dylann Roof to] repent. And he's got to figure out, with fear and trembling, his relationship to God. But I specifically want to say, [as a white American speaking to white Americans], you want absolution. But you don't want to confess. You don't want to repent and you don't want to change.

She told host Marc Lamont Hill that throughout history, all three Abrahamic religions -- Judaism, Christianity and Islam -- have struggled with providing avenues for "repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation" in an attempt to respond appropriately to a wrongful act. But unless forgiveness and repentance exist in tandem, forgiving just amounts to "cheap grace."

''Faiths have always wrestled with how to respond to wrongdoing. But specifically in a Christian context, I want to say, no cheap grace. No cheap grace for white America," she said.

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation about faith, forgiveness and the Charleston shooting here.

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