Monday, September 24, 2012

Bishop Harry Jackson performs excellent 'tap dancing' for religious right

From my online blogging friend Jeremy Hooper, I grabbed the following:

You will notice that one of the special guests of this laughable summit will be Bishop Harry Jackson of the High Impact Leadership Coalition. I've written about Jackson many times recently because I think it's safe to say that Jackson has replaced the Coalition of African-American Pastors as the wedge in which the religious right's attempt to sabotage President Obama's African-American support.

At first, CAAP seemed to have been getting a lot of attention until it was discovered that it was receiving monies from religious right groups and also its leader, William Owens, may have misled folks with regards to his alleged participation in the civil rights movement. It seems to me that the group thought it was best to perform soft-shoe dance into the background.

Bishop Harry Jackson
And in it place has come Bishop Jackson, a long time black face in the religious right. He is practically present at almost every major religious right event since he first came on the scene in 2004 while spewing all sorts of hateful nonsense about the gay community from accusing them of "recruiting children" to claiming that gays are bringing Hitler's time to America.

 According to People for the American Way in its report, Harry Jackson: Point Man for the Wedge Strategy :

 His media profile, and his embrace by Religious Right leaders and right-wing politicians have led to his being anointed a “conservative Christian A-lister” by Beliefnet’s Dan Gilgoff and “one of the 50 most influential Christians in America”  by the Church Report.   In 2005, then-President of the National Association of Evangelicals Ted Haggard said of Jackson, “He’s building a bridge between white evangelicalism and African American evangelicalism that we haven’t had in 20 years.”

 . . . Jackson’s profile has been boosted significantly by his alliance with Religious Right leaders James Dobson, Tony Perkins, and Lou Sheldon.  They’ve invited him into insider leadership circles like the Arlington Group.   They’ve made him a regular speaker at Religious Right events, where he builds his public profile and raises money from white evangelicals.  At a Values Voter Summit he told white evangelicals something they don’t hear very often – the notion that racism is a continuing reality in America and it’s their responsibility to do something about it.   He told the whites in the room that the olive branch of peace has to be put forward by white churches: “If you don’t do it, the blacks aren’t coming.”

Jackson is also on the board of The Call, an organization that mobilizes evangelical youth and which waded deeply into politics last year with a national rally on the National Mall and a pro-Prop. 8 stadium rally in California.  He told journalist Michelangeo Signorile last fall that he serves on the board of the National Association of Evangelicals.  He was among the participants at a three-day conference  “commemorating the 400th anniversary of the settlement of Jamestown as evidence of America’s heritage as a ‘Christian nation.’”

As we get closer to the election, Jackson is taking a larger public role.  People for the American Way's Right Wing Watch has counted at least over five times this month and the last in which Jackson has given speeches or written columns on the need for the black community to escape the "so-called" Democrat plantation or stand hard against marriage equality.

Does Jackson do it because of his religious beliefs? Maybe. But one thing is clear, he is getting paid nicely.

According to Mother Jones magazine, Jackson has received $20,000 from the National Organization for Marriage’s “education fund” for his efforts to exploit the opinions of those in the black community who do not agree with marriage equality.

In addition, in 2010, Jackson attempted to get a measure on the ballot opposing marriage equality in D.C. In pursuit of that  effort, he led the group Stand for Marriage DC.  According to documents attained by Mother Jones magazine, NOM gave $60,000 for that effort.

Mother Jones also points out that this was a NOM effort all the way:

As the head of the political action committee Stand4MarriageDC, Jackson was meant to be the voice of local opposition (he had a condo in the city). NOM's fingerprints, however, were obvious: The two groups shared an address; NOM gave Stand4MarriageDC direct financial support; and Brian Brown, NOM's executive director, was its treasurer. The measure passed, and NOM then spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to unseat councilmembers who supported the bill, without success.

Apart from NOM, Jackson also has tried to raise money in other ways. In July of this year, he sent out a request asking for donations for a vague project against marriage equality. He had hoped to raise $1.5 million:

According to People for the American Way, he may have another reason for his participation in religious right endeavors - the need for political power:

Jackson, the pastor of a congregation in Maryland, has been ushered into the Religious Right’s inner circle since he announced in 2004 that God had told him to work for the reelection of George W. Bush.  Since then, Jackson has become somewhat of an all-purpose activist and pundit for right-wing causes – everything from judicial nominations to immigration and oil drilling -- but his top priorities mirror those of the Religious Right: he’s fervently anti-abortion and dead-set against gay equality.  And he has enthusiastically adopted the Right’s favorite propaganda tactic: he routinely portrays liberals, especially gay-rights activists, as enemies of faith, family, and religious liberty.

Jackson has big ambitions.  He sees himself as a game changer in the culture war, someone who can help conservative Christians “take the land” by bringing about a political alliance between white and black evangelicals.  Religious Right leaders see him that way, too, which is why they’ve helped Jackson build his public profile. 

Because of this, the report says, Jackson has towed the religious right and conservative line on other issues including immigration, health care, energy and the environment, and falsely claiming that abortion is leading to genocide in the black community.

And Jackson has been successful because he knowingly exploits his ethnicity:

Jackson has become popular with the media, not only because he is a smooth performer, but also because a black pastor and self-described “registered Democrat” is viewed as a desirably atypical right-wing spokesperson.   Jackson understands this dynamic, telling an interviewer on Daystar Christian television that it “takes blacks like myself to speak up.”  Jackson bragged that when he got a group of African American pastors to hold a press conference (falsely) attacking a federal hate crimes bill as a threat to religious liberty, he got media coverage that traditional Religious Right groups had been unable to generate. 

Jackson may be successful and popular in the religious right, but he has faced somewhat of a backlash. In April of this year, he complained that there have been ministers who would not work with him supposedly because they were jealous of his success and "were resentful that he has God's favor."

Perhaps these ministers see Jackson the same way I do.

Bishop Harry Jackson constantly reminds me of the only African-American I would see when watching "The Lawrence Welk Show" as a child. And that black man was always performing a tap dance number.


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al in la said...

So...A bunch of intolerant, homophobic douche-bags decide the best place to gather together to continue there hate-filled campaign to protect the "sanctity of marriage" is Las Vegas?

At least the closeted ones will be able to cruse some of the terrific gay & tranny clubs in that wonderful city--after their Mrs. goes to bed, of course.

Anonymous said...

So you turned this into a personal attack against Bishop Jackson. Nice. And by "nice" I mean what a typically slimy liberal thing to do.

Tell me... how is this worse than Samuel Jackson who was ACTUALLY attempting threatening and bullying people?

Fuck you and your idiotic, ignorant bias.

BlackTsunami said...

Samuel Jackson isn't selling out his own people for $80,000.