And I’m sure that Maggie Gallagher and Brian Brown are all-too-willing to keep the cash flow going to purported men of faith like Bishop Harry Jackson, who preaches at Hope Christian Church in Maryland but spends much of his time meddling in other places where marriage equality and LGBT rights issues are front and center politics. Adam Serwer at Mother Jones has a piece worth the click up, “You Can’t Equate Your Sin With My Skin: Will the National Organization for Marriage’s plan to pit blacks versus gays work?”
The loudmouth carpetbagging preacher tried to pressure Congress to act and review the DC City Council’s vote to recognize marriage equality there, and whenever the National Organization for Marriage or the Family Research Council wants a rent-a-homophobic-Negro to put before the cameras, Harry is Johnny-On-The-Spot. Now Jackson is working hard to stop marriage equality at home (for once):
As Maryland has become ground zero in the culture war, Jackson is on the front lines. In February, the state legalized same-sex marriage. Now a ballot initiative to overturn that law awaits voters in November, and activists led by the National Organization for Marriage believe they can prevail by appealing to African Americans, particularly socially conservative churchgoers. Some of the biggest mega-churches in the country are in Maryland, notes Derek McCoy, an associate pastor at Jackson’s church and the director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, an umbrella group bankrolled in part by NOM. “The difference is they’re African American.”
NOM believes that stirring up anti-gay-marriage fervor among black voters has helped it win referendums in other states by pitting two groups of loyal Democrats against each other. As internal documents released during Maine’s investigation into the group’s finances asserted, “The strategic goal is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks—two key Democratic constituencies. Find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage; develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots.”
Jackson is exactly the kind of African American spokesperson the NOM memo envisions. “There’s been a hijacking of the civil rights movement by the radical gay movement,” he said on CNN after backing California’s Proposition 8 in 2008. “You can’t equate your sin with my skin.” He has received $20,000 from NOM’s education fund and has rallied support for same-sex marriage bans in Florida and Washington, DC, where he joined Councilmember Marion Barry to oppose a marriage equality bill in 2009.
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.
Enlisting minority spokespeople to deflect accusations of bigotry is nothing new. But the anti-gay-rights movement is going further in using black preachers like Jackson to battle the very idea that marriage equality is a civil right.
Considering the millions that roll in for anti-gay causes, Jackson is a cheap date. Notably, Jackson is affiliated with Rev. William Owens of Memphis of the Coalition of African-American Pastors (see Alvin’s post). That group is calling for blacks to withhold their votes in November to protest the President’s support for marriage equality. His very public ties with Owens to anti-gay bigotry go back to Jackson’s spearheading of the The Don’t Muzzle Our Pulpits campaign back in 2007 against the Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Jackson’s high profile with NOM made him the subject of a huge expose by People for the American Way considering him the “point man” in the overall strategy of organizations like NOM to dividing the black and gay communities.
I wonder how many other professional anti-LGBT organizations are spending “educational” dollars to pad the wallets of Jackson and his fellow pastor puppets on the hate payroll?