Jen Hatmaker apologises for saying God gave Americans the land of the USA

Jen Hatmaker

Progressive Christian author Jen Hatmaker has apologized for the opening line of a prayer she delivered at the inaugural interfaith prayer service held for US President Joe Biden on Thursday.

In the opening to the prayer, she said, "Almighty God, You have given us this good land as our heritage." 

In a Facebook post, the "Simple and Free" author said the prayer was written for her to read out by the organizers and that she was "proud" to be invited to deliver a prayer at the service.

But she said she should have changed the opening line because it offered only a "shiny version of our actual history."

"I was proud to offer the final liturgical prayer which was written by the organizers to serve as an anchor. I have one regret and thus apology," she said.

"The very first sentence thanked God for giving us this land as our heritage. He didn't. He didn't give us this land.

"We took this land by force and trauma. It wasn't an innocent divine transaction in which God bestowed an empty continent to colonizers.

"This is a shiny version of our actual history. If God gave this land to anyone, it was to the Native community who always lived here." 

Apologising, Hatmaker said she immediately regretted saying it.

"And I panicked and froze and then just kept going. I am so sorry, community. Primarily sorry to my Native friends," she said.

"It MATTERS to me that we reckon with our history of white supremacy and the lies we surrounded it with, and I am filled with regret that I offered yet another hazy, exceptional rendition of the origin story of colonization. Ugh," she said.

She then said she should have amended the prayer to include a call to the American people to repent of historical injustice.

"God, may we continue to be a people who reckon with our violent history, repent from the unjust systems we built, denounce white supremacy in all its forms past and present, and continue to work together to form a more perfect union," she said.