Several Asian Americans parishioners told The Washington Post that the Chapel Hill Bible Church, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina racially discriminated against them.
Founded in 1970, The Chapel Hill Bible Church is a non-denominational church. According to a statement on the church’s that they are not committed to just one race, age group, or demographic. The goal is to reach as many people as possible.
However, more than 200 members left the church recently, most of them are non-White members. Many members believed the church leadership has paid more attention to drawing boundaries around orthodox beliefs instead of taking care of their increasing concerns.
Sandy Wong, an immigrant from Taiwan, told the Washington Post that she experienced racial discrimination in the church. As a mother of three children, she often volunteered to take care of other children in the church. However, on the Day of the Retreat, most of the white attendees asked if she wants to take care of their children instead of inviting her to the gathering.
“Now we realize what we experienced was racial discrimination,” she wrote in a letter to the congregation.
According to U.S. Census data, Asians are the largest minority group in Chapel Hill, making up 13 percent of the town’s residents. There are several Asian Americans like Wong who say they experienced discrimination at the church.
Young and Sarah Whang, a Korean American couple expressed in the letter that they “came to the realization that our church gives lip service to diversity but fails to engage and empathize in a real way with people of color”, according to the Washington Post.
Michael Emerson, a professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois, told the Washington Post the church’s effort towards racial inclusion has been diminished during the Trump administration, the latter often made unfriendly comments towards immigration and Black people.
Michael stated that many churches faced a dilemma between ignoring the political trend and the risk of losing white members, who are often the big donors of the church, according to the Washington Post.
The discrimination as anti-Asian racism persists throughout the country. According to NBC News, many Asian American Christians have asked their churches to find ways to support Asian parishioners.
AsAmNews is published by the non-profit, Asian American Media Inc. Please fill out this 2-minute survey which we will use to improve our content. We are supported in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.”