(RNS) As the 2016 presidential election drove the country further and further apart last summer, Rex Harsin started to think about what would bring it back together.
He thought it might start with an apology.
And he thought it should come from Christians.
“If there was going to be sincere healing and sincere reconciliation between people groups that are so divided, especially now at this time in our country when we’re so divided, I thought, well, you know, maybe it’s on the church to make the first step to own the wrongs that we did and confess them,” Harsin said.
That was the idea behind the Mississippi-based videographer’s series of short web videos, “Confessions of a Christian Nation,” featuring Brian McLaren, Gred Boyd, Brian Zahnd and Bruxy Cavey.
On Monday, Harsin posted the last of the three videos, apologizing for the church’s role in oppressing Native Americans in the United States and First Nations in Canada. Other videos apologize to African-Americans and to the LGBT community.
“It’s not like the ‘Charlie bit me’ video,” he said. “Those things go viral because they’re funny. They’re easy to watch. But these are hard – they’re hard videos to watch, really.”
Harsin purposely chose a group of all-white, straight men like himself to make the confessions, he said. As the “most privileged of society,” he said, that’s who needed to make the confession and apology.
The video apologizing to the LGBT community has gotten the most views so far on YouTube – more than 7,800. Harsin said he has received some pushback – always from “straight, white folks,” usually insisting they shouldn’t have to apologize for something somebody else did in the past. But, he said, that misses the point.
“The point is healing. The point is, ‘What can we do to help reconciliation? What can we do to help bring a greater sense of peace?'” he said.