Bishop Harry Jackson recently met with families of Soulforce:
The American Family Outing is a nationwide fellowship effort that aims to build bridges between LGBT families and families at American mega-churches. AFO families met with Bishop Jackson and members of his Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, on Saturday, May 24, 2008.
This video documents Jackson's closing remarks at that meeting.
Bishop Harry Jackson and the American Family Outing
Full transcript follows, as well as video and full transcript of smackingly contradictory CBN video -- three days later -- making a public mockery of not only these Soulforce families, but of their sincerity in meeting with him.
Among the sentiments he expressed to Soulforce:
Bishop Harry Jackson: I honor the fact that other people have been threatened, but I think it’s unconscionable that I have to work through my feelings about being attacked or accused or threatened, all that kind of stuff, and every day that I live I wake up, look--little Google thing that comes across my desk, I have at least three or four things that are written by openly gay bloggers that have my name on it, and they call me an out and out bigot, and I think that’s interesting. They feel like they have the liberty, without knowing me or talking, to defame me, to talk about me, to put me down -- they’ve never done what you are doing, visited us, never talked to us. There’s something hypocritical about that.
Well then. Let’s get to know the good bishop…
Full transcript of Soulforce video above (followed by video and full transcript of CBN video):
Bishop Harry Jackson: ...there’s a problem in the culture, and the Word of God gives a clear answer to the problem. Whatever that answer is, we should first live it ourselves. The church in my view, especially the evangelical church in our generation, has been guilty of trying to bring others to do things that we won’t do ourselves. To live things that we don’t live ourselves. The issue of marriage today, traditional marriage, as we had the question earlier--what shall we do about gay marriage, and all of that. The reality is heterosexual marriages are failing in America, many of them, nearly fifty percent, because--heterosexual community is not doing something right. There’s a failure to live out some of the convictions that are primary to the scripture. And if you don’t live it at that first level, you really disqualify yourself to speak out to anyone else about it. It really is a violation of what I’m going to call prophetic protocol, if I may say that. So the Church has to decide how intensely is she going to live the truth the she purports to believe.
Second issue is doing right. And the doing right, in my view means, what ministries do you have, that deal with the problems that you see? The question was asked earlier, whether we had a ministry for G-L-B-T people, and how do we respond to them. I said we don’t have any ministry, other than our friends at Exodus International working with us, and us referring folks to them. And as I hear that question, I have to say to myself that we at Hope Christian Church, need to be about being more open and offering the healing power of God, as we see it. Now that’s where we are today. And, but rather than saying hey, there’s nothing that we’re going to do, maybe there should be service ministry locally, around people coming to grips with where they are, their journey, coming to really know Christ, etc., etc.
Third issue is moving right. I think, as I view this phrase moving right, I would call it the current PR battle of our generation. Scripture says that we’re not to let our good be evil spoken of. And tonight I want to just tell you that I hate the fact that there are many many folks who believe as I do in the sanctity of marriage, believe as I do about trying to uphold some of these fundamental institutions, who have stepped over lines, and they’ve got issues that are unresolved with gay folks. And I think that somehow we’re going to have to say, how does love wear servant’s clothes, or what does love look like if it says I disagree with you, but I still value your right to believe as you believe, and still value you as a person?
I’ll take some ownership of the fact that the evangelical community has not always known carefully or clearly, how to say I disagree, but I’m going to disagree in a spirit that reflects the spirit of Christ.
Fourth thing that I think is important is that we need to pray right before we prophesize--speak to the culture. And what I mean by pray right, somehow in that civil rights movement, folks got a hold of something from God that so transformed them that they could say hey, release the dogs on me, or release the hoses on me, and I’m still going to come and stand in a right way, in a right spirit.
The answer before, and the statement that Troy brought before, I honor the fact that other people have been threatened, but I think it’s unconscionable that I have to work through my feelings about being attacked or accused or threatened, all that kind of stuff, and every day that I live I wake up, look--little Google thing that comes across my desk, I have at least three or four things that are written by openly gay bloggers that have my name on it, and they call me an out and out bigot, and I think that’s interesting. They feel like they have the liberty, without knowing me or talking, to defame me, to talk about me, to put me down -- they’ve never done what you are doing, visited us, never talked to us. There’s something hypocritical about that.
Somebody needs to pray through what they’re dealing with before they start to move out and try to correct problems. See, and that’s on both sides of this question, it’s with the evangelicals and it’s with the gay community. So, for us, I say to our team, we’re going to have to begin more and more to pray about the reality of discrimination and other issues with the gay community. And I have thought, and maybe you disagree with me, that we have allowed some of these issues to become polarized, because political parties find it to their advantage to play everybody against one another, and they play out their dance of support and finance and votes, but with no intention really of doing anything that counts toward the problem. ‘Cause if you tell me, well, there are 1100 laws that you have access to that separate me, and I’m saying that I believe everyone should be treated humanly, why hasn’t somebody sat down and said, what are the reality of the these laws -- the lady talked about the expenses she had to go through to make sure that certain rights, the transfer of property, or taking care of sick ones, aren’t available -- why doesn’t some politician sit down and say, this the list, these are the issues, and here’s where we go. No, we’re in a tug-of-war that is over all, or nothing at all, that makes no answer that we come up with but an all, or nothing at all idea with marriage, acceptable.
No preacher worth his salt who is born in a traditional evangelical church system in this generation would ever say, alright, just do what want with marriage.
First of all, he’d lose the paycheck, Second, he’d lose the parsonage, and ultimately he’d lose the pension.
So we’ve got an issue here that is untenable. So, I send you back, I mean, the gay movement is very very active politically, that’s very obvious in this political cycle, and in others. And the evangelical community has been active, so where are we? Are we praying through our issues or are we fighting a tug-of-war?
Finally, I think we have to speak right, speak correctly. And for me, it’s been a matter of whether others know it or don’t, receive it or not, act like they understand it or not, for me, I always try to measure my words concerning the issues I speak to, as I write columns or as I speak to various television programs or radio interviews, I try to measure my words to address the issues that I think need to be talked about from a Biblical perspective.
Our ministry is touched, and I know as we debrief afterwards, we going to ask ourselves a question, in this generation, with the growing number of openly gay people, and the growing number of gay marriages, regardless of whether we want them or not, or we even endorse them or not, how do we present the Gospel in this generation, it’s power and it’s claims?
And so I want to thank you tonight for coming. Again, if you had not invited us originally, if you had not insisted on the dialogue, it never would have happened. And I’m thankful for the spirit in which you have said you were going to operate, and you have operated thus far. Again, we did not know, were you coming in peace, or whether you came with a sword. We had no way of knowing that, really didn’t. And so we’re very very thankful for this opportunity to dialogue with you, and I believe that we’ve learned quite a bit from this time together. Pastor [Vera?] would you…
Compare and contrast with CBN interview no less than three days later, on May 27, 2008:
CBN News: Interview with Bishop Harry Jackson
Wendy Griffith: A gay rights group is trying to confront six mega churches across the US. Over the weekend the group met with Bishop Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Center in Maryland. The Washington Times reports 30 conservative black Pentecostals dined with 30 of the activists. Members of Soulforce say the talks are designed to force the conversation about faith, family, and homosexuality, to a national level. Other churches that have been targeted include Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church, and T.D. Jakes’ The Potter’s House.
Bishop Harry Jackson joins us now from Washington, and Bishop Jackson, you met with members of Soulforce over the weekend, what happened?
Bishop Harry Jackson: Well, they had their old spiel. You know, they’re out to get civil rights, they’re out to change the nature of marriage, and to be included in the Church. Over the years they’ve been aggressive, and this group has had a reputation of having sit ins, being arrested, holding up placards, and there was a veiled threat that if we didn’t talk, they were going to act out. So we said come in, the night before, and we had a little bit of a debate, we shared the Gospel with them, and it was an amazing time, where, I believe we learned a little bit about their strategy.
There’s nothing to be afraid of. Ultimately we need to recognize, as the Church, that these folks are sinners, and that the Gospel of Jesus Christ can overcome any kind of sin, from drunkenness to homosexuality. Sometimes we try to make it so deep that we’re fighting some kind of foe that we can’t defeat. But Wendy, it’s important to note, that with the California ruling, the next decade, we’re going to deal with things like hate crimes, Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and the gay community has targeted the Church as it’s ultimate arch enemy.
Wendy Griffith: Well let me ask you this, I understand that while the group did not back down, at least one life was changed during the service. Tell us about that.
Bishop Harry Jackson: Well what happened was, we decided that we’d meet the night before, and during the regular service, I’d preach a message entitled: “Jesus, the ultimate liberator.” And we preached that from the scripture Saint John, that if you continue in His Word, then the truth shall set you free.
A openly gay man, who is HIV positive, who was not apart of that group got saved that day. But it was a sign to us, as he came forward, that God’s Word is greater than any of these kinds of attacks.
Wendy Griffith: Wow. Well you’re church is one of six churches targeted by the group. What do they hope to accomplish, and what are they doing at churches that won’t meet with them?
Bishop Harry Jackson: Well, churches that won’t meet with them, like Lakewood wouldn’t meet with them early on, and they had a little placard and they stood someplace in the city, and they had a press conference, calling them all kind of names--it’s a subtle form of intimidation. And Wendy, you may be aware that I’ve had death threats by openly gay groups, and it was interesting in our debates, as we talked with them, and I mentioned this fact, they kind of shrugged that off. And one of the guys came up and said, well, our people are under the threat of death every day of their lives, in a sense, you’re just feeling what we feel all the time.
Wendy Griffith: [LAUGHS OUT LOUD] A'heh!…I’m not getting the logic there…a'heh..
Bishop Harry Jackson: No, I don’t get it either, but the thing is that they are irrational. I believe that many of them want to be Christians, but it is a counterfeit Gospel that is being preached. And their ultimate goal is a four fold fight. They’re fighting on a PR front, they’re fighting on a legal front, they’re fighting also on a generational front, that our children will be more open to the gay lifestyle. And then finally, they’re fighting on a doctrinal front. They want to be included in the warmth and [roof?] of our society, and I think we need to, according to Psalm 2, believe that God will give us the heathen as our inheritance. And if they want to call themselves a gay nation, then I believe that Jesus can win every nation by winning those aggressive people to Christ, as he did in our Sunday morning service.
Wendy Griffith: Well said. Bishop Harry Jackson, thanks as always for being with us today.
Bishop Harry Jackson: Thank you.
It would appear that Bishop Harry Jackson leaves us with two demonization options to choose from.
Be depicted as automatically unfair:
Bishop Harry Jackson: openly gay bloggers … They feel like they have the liberty, without knowing me or talking, to defame me, to talk about me, to put me down -- they’ve never done what you are doing, visited us, never talked to us. There’s something hypocritical about that.
Visit, talk with him, and get to know him:
Bishop Harry Jackson: And so I want to thank you tonight for coming. Again, if you had not invited us originally, if you had not insisted on the dialogue, it never would have happened. And I’m thankful for the spirit in which you have said you were going to operate, and you have operated thus far.
And then be depicted as unfair:
Bishop Harry Jackson:
they’re out to change the nature of marriage
they’ve been aggressive
there was a veiled threat
we learned a little bit about their strategy
these folks are sinners
from drunkenness to homosexuality
I’ve had death threats by openly gay groups
they are irrational
children will be more open to the gay lifestyle
God will give us the heathen as our inheritance
For the record Mister Jackson, I too am a bigot.
I am bigoted against hypocritical religious supremacists.