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ATLANTA – The pastor of a Georgia megachurch is now asking for forgiveness.

Last weekend, Louie Giglio, the pastor at Passion City Church in Atlanta, held a roundtable discussion about race — and made controversial comments about slavery.

“We understand the curse that was slavery… White people do… And we say that was bad but we miss the blessing of slavery… That it actually built up the framework for the world that white people live in,” Giglio said during the discussion.

The pastor then went on to describe a new term for ‘white privilege.’

“I think maybe a great thing for me is to call it white blessing,” said Giglio.

After the roundtable the comments drew criticism, including from others on the stage.

“I want you to know I wasn’t OK with it. Even as I sat there I was very uncomfortable,” said rapper Lecrae, who was also part of the panel.

In the apology later posted on social media, Giglio tried to explain what he meant by referring to slavery as a blessing.

“We sit in large part where we are today because of the centuries of gross injustice done to our black brothers and sisters,” Giglio said. “I just wanted to come to you today and sincerely apologize for the use of the phrase on Sunday, white blessing.”

Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy also took part in Giglio’s roundtable. Chick-fil-A has not responded to a WSB-TV request for comment.

Giglio sent a statement late Wednesday night:

“I am deeply sorry for the pain and confusion I have caused by my comment this past Sunday. I’ve never in my life thought there was any blessing in slavery. That thought is repulsive. I am grieved that what I said did not communicate or align with what I truly believe.

“White people often too quickly dismiss the reality that America was largely built on the dehumanization of black people. These dismissals miss that reality. I failed at an honest attempt to start a conversation with my fellow white brothers and sisters to see the reality of our white privilege. For the many who want to brush the concept of white privilege aside, this acknowledgment is an important step toward engaging the conversation.

“I am planning to continue and will make more of a concentrated effort to learn, understand, stay engaged and to be a part of all of us moving forward together to the place that God wants us to be.”