A Surrey pastor is taking some heat for mimicking the accent of a South Asian security guard, whom he says is a friend, during a recent sermon.
A viewer of the broadcast who is not the security guard is seeking an apology to the South Asian community of Surrey “and beyond.”
“He was mimicking his accent and his mannerisms and it really looked stupid and I was offended as an Indian person myself, as a South Asian person myself,” said Krishan Mayer, who says he has been a member of the congregation for more than six years.
Mayer said he watched a livestreamed broadcast of the sermon on Sunday, June 27. He noted the segment in question has since been redacted from the sermon video posted on the church’s website.
“My goal ultimately is to hold somebody accountable for their actions, right, and this coming from a pastor, to me, is completely inappropriate, especially in the kind of world we live in today, right,” Mayer said.
Pastor Steven J. White, of Grace Baptist Church in Newton, did not return repeated requests for comment from the Now-Leader.
But on Sunday, July 4, he devoted most of his sermon to the matter.
White noted that we live in a cruel word but he had no intention to mock the fellow’s accent. Still, he said, Mayer had a “legitimate point.
“Even though I have nothing but love in my heart for my security friend, it’s possible that he could take offence,” the pastor said. “When I see him I’m going to ask him. I mean that’s what friends do, right? They ask have I hurt you? Isn’t that what friends are supposed to do?”
White told the congregation that he asked his staff to remove that segment from the video of his sermon but it was not to hide anything. “I had those few seconds removed so that we don’t take a chance in anyone being offended,” he said. “Doing this was not illegal, doing this was not immoral by taking those few seconds out. We just don’t want to take a chance that someone could be offended. You make a mistake you try and correct the mistake. So I’m sorry this man took offence the way he did but God knows it was never, ever my intention.”
White told his congregation he wants to hear from if its members if they think he’s “a bit too old-fashioned or a bit too out-of-touch with where society’s at.”
“In my day, growing up, nobody took offense to half of the things people are taking offence to these says. This is a whole new world – I’ve never seen anything like it. You know, it makes life difficult for honest people.”
White said there is an Anglican church in Surrey that won’t publicly used the name “Jesus” in public. “They call it the J word. They won’t use Jesus’ name because they might offend somebody. We don’t believe in that, and to be honest with you, I don’t know where this world is going to end up.”