Paige Schilt

Harry Jackson Home Movies

Filed By Paige Schilt | June 02, 2008 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Fundie Watch, Living, Living
Tags: American Family Outing, Family Research Council, Harry Jackson, Hope Christian Church, Soulforce

This weekend Soulforce posted video of Bishop Harry Jackson's closing remarks at a dinner meeting with LGBT families at his Beltsville, Maryland church on May 24, 2008. The meeting was part of the American Family Outing, which is visiting six mega-churches between Mother's Day and Father's Day 2008.

iPhone users: Click to watch

Jackson, who recently co-authored a book with Family Research Council's Tony Perkins, seems conciliatory and grateful in these remarks, which offers a sharp contrast to his May 27 appearance on the Christian Broadcasting Network News, where Jackson characterizes the families as "irrational," "heathen," and "aggressive."

In his remarks to the families participating in The American Family Outing, Jackson says:

"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."

Nothing in these remarks would suggest that Jackson is speaking to a group of aggressive and irrational heathens. In fact, Jackson commends the families for their civility:

"I am thankful for the spirit in which you have said you were going to operate and in which you have operated thus far."

Soulforce also posted an extended version of the remarks in which, fascinatingly, Bishop Jackson seems to acknowledge the 1,000+ rights and responsibilities that are denied same-sex couples and to suggest that political solutions could remedy some of the inequalities. I wasn't at the meeting, but I've heard that my friend Michelle Freeman made a spontaneous and impassioned plea to Bishop Jackson and the elders of Hope Christian Church to understand the hardships that she and her partner, Georgia Chambers, have experienced as two women of color whose relationship is not legally protected. Jackson clearly references Michelle's story in his own remarks.

iPhone users: Click to watch

As someone who is deeply invested in the utopian possibilities of The American Family Outing, I won't deny that it hurt to have Jackson call the families irrational heathens on Christian Broadcasting Network. And for the families who were part of the visit to Hope Christian Church, who know that they experienced some moments of real connection, I know it was exponentially more painful. But just because Jackson and his PR people decided to deny that connection doesn't mean it didn't happen and that it won't ultimately make a difference.

When we began reaching out to mega-church congregations in a spirit of nonviolence, we committed to interacting with authenticity and openness. At times, when our interlocutors are in the grip of misinformation so profound that they do not treat us with respect and integrity, it is tempting to close up, to withdraw, to become defensive -- and yet we persist. Why? Not because we are naïve, but because we believe that, ultimately, no misinformation or slander can obscure the goodness and authenticity of our families and our quest for justice.

afo_johnson-willoughby_small.jpg[The Johnson-Willoughby Family. It was 15-year-old Zahndria who took the video.]

Read more about the American Family Outing.

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Well How Heterosexually Kind of Him....

I mean no disrespect but I personally could careless if a mega church or any other church comes to the understanding or acceptance of Who I Am - How I was born.

Just give me my Civil Rights and Human Rights, the churches, pastors, bishop, church members etc. fight over the most simple scriptures regarding the Bible, they fight over minuet things when it comes to Jesus/God/The Holy Spirit - they will fight decades centuries and lifetimes when it comes to whether my sexual orientation is right or wrong, sinful or not.

But, congratulations to those that our invested in this plight.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | June 3, 2008 1:47 AM

I think that what is unimportant to many is very important to some. Our "reason" has to fight with ten million years of humankind seeking something to worship. If it was the sun, the moon, the stars, an eagle, an elephant or a seashell we would find something to worship. Always formal religion insinuates itself into government, and the key thing, control.

"We have your salvation, it's right here, can you dance fast enough?"

Build me a temple, an observatory, pyramid, Stonehenge, a church. Always remember that I am the anointed of "god" and you will have salvation. I wish you luck in creating greater understanding between yourselves and other who require deity. It is a positive thing.

Harry Jackson's words belie his past actions, which include the hatchet job his organization, the High Impact Leadership Coalition, did on ENDA last year.

At the 2007 NTAC Lobby Days, several lobbyists were in offices when people from HILC were calling offices, and heard the calls. They were ugly and threatening, nothing like the dulcet tones this supposed man of God used here.

I am a Christian, and do not understand how anyone who teaches hatred - as Jackson has - can also be considered a Christian. That he is also a liar marks him as, not a Christian, but a hypocrite.

I'm glad he greeted the Soulforce contingent with perceived kindness, but I'd love to be a fly in the wall to hear what he said after they left. I'm certain it was mean-spirited, because that's the way that charlatan preacher man Jackson is.

Isn't there a section in the Bible about bearing false witness?

Video is not a conservative's best friend.

I'm glad that Polar brought up ENDA, because that's the point. If we want civil rights, we need to be engaging evangelical culture because leaders like Jackson do impact pubic policy. Not as much as they once did, but they still need to be reckoned with.