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A clip of a sermon that supported the enslavement and religious subjugation of Africans is making waves on TikTok.

Viewed by over 25,800 people since it was posted Sept. 24, white “Brother” Deven Rogers shared an extremely problematic message about “Christian Privilege” at Strong Hold Baptist Church in Norcross, Georgia.

Rogers attempted to weaponize religion by blasting a white savior mentality and by essentially saying “a lot” of Africans were better off as slaves because they were introduced to “the gospel” when they got to America. Later in the vitriolic and chaotic sermon, he fluctuated between telling Black people to pick themselves up by the bootstraps and saying God had their backs.

The raggedy pastor claimed that he wasn’t justifying slavery but that the ownership of Africans was a tool God ultimately used to save Black people and get them into heaven.

“This is how God works. This what God does in the Bible,” he stated. “What would have been better? For them to have lived their entire life in Africa, free, doing their voodoo or whatever, and then dying and going to hell, or what happened, and then they go to heaven?”

“It’s not real! Get over it!” he yelled about white privilege. “Quit having all the excuses. Why don’t you take some responsibility for choices? Be content with whatever situation you were born into and make the most of it. God’s not limiting your situation. He can do above what we ask or think.”


In the comments of the TikTok post, online users of all races shared their shock and disdain toward the problematic white supremacy coded language in Rogers’ sermon.

That said, many of the comments were from other white and white-passing people who couldn’t believe how the church-going “brother” tried to use Christianity to justify the subjection of Black people.

“I’m speechless.”

“This is the kind of religion that Jesus spoke against.”

“Christianity WAS used to justify slavery. And the destruction of native Americans.”

“This is why people are ashamed of white Christians. This is why so many of us want nothing to do with organized religion.”

“What does he think justification looks like if it’s not this??”

The idea of “white saviorism” came via the “White Savior Industrial Complex” theory Nigerian-American writer and photographer Teju Cole shared in 2012 on Twitter and in a piece written for The Atlantic regarding his broader feelings on the viral “Kony 2012” movement.

In April 2021, writer Chelsea Candelario explained in a piece for PureWow that “White saviorism is when a white person tries to fix BIPOC issues without taking the time to understand their history, culture, political affairs or actual needs.”

“Pick up any history book and you’ll find example after example of this ‘knight-in-shining-armor’ mentality: A white man shows up—uninvited we may add—ready to ‘civilize’ a community based on their ideas of what is acceptable.”

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 Strong Hold Baptist Church describes itself online as a “soul-winning, independent, fundamental, King James Bible believing” religious institution.

What Rogers may not know or respect is that Christianity took root in Africa from the Middle East before or around the same time it did in Europe — and definitely before America.

According to the BBC:

“Christianity first arrived in North Africa, in the 1st or early 2nd century AD. The Christian communities in North Africa were among the earliest in the world. Legend has it that Christianity was brought from Jerusalem to Alexandria on the Egyptian coast by Mark, one of the four evangelists, in 60 AD. This was around the same time or possibly before Christianity spread to Northern Europe.”

Additionally, the over 80-book Ethiopian Bible was established as far back as the 5th century, if not earlier. However, the British 66-book King James Bible was established in the 17th century. That fact makes the East African version greatly older than its widespread Westernized sibling.

The notion that people of African descent could only reach heaven if white people enslaved them and taught them “better” through Christianity is inherently white saviorism and racist.

It’s an idea firmly rooted in the concept that white people and their beliefs at any given time are supreme over others’ values, knowledge and ways of living. It also infantilizes people of the motherland — through which all other races ultimately spawned.

African people never needed white people to get to heaven. It’s also very possible — considering the vast and horrifying realities of slavery — that many Africans enslaved or otherwise didn’t want an education on how to access their white oppressors’ imagining of the “pearly gates” and what’s behind them.

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