One of the early morning options was breakfast with Bishop Harry R. Jackson of the High Impact Leadership Coalition, a Religious Right-supported vehicle for promoting Jackson as a conservative Black church voice. The program was kicked off by a staffer who bragged about how HILC had worked closely in the last election cycle with Michael Steele, then the African American Lieutenant Governor of Maryland and a candidate for the U.S. Senate. HILC brought pastors to rallies and helped Steele figure out how to work the black church.
Jackson announced that he and FRC’s Tony Perkins will hold a lunchtime press conference opposition passage of the Employment Non Discrimination Act. (But he assured us he would not have hatred for gays in his heart or spirit while doing so, praising the “ex-gay” Exodus as an example of a “heart of compassion.”)
Jackson started off his remarks with the Religious Right’s familiar claim that there’s a backlash against Christianity in America even though the nation was founded on Christian principles – and that there are people telling conservative Christians they have no right to be in the public forum. He complained that the conservative church had developed “a chronic illness – social laryngitis.”
He took a shot at Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, saying that they had tarnished the reputation of the civil rights movement by becoming panhandlers, letting themselves get bought off with a check. (He also said the Moral Majority hadn’t done enough to prevent itself from being stereotyped as racist.)
Jackson said the Religious Right had some work to do to be more effective politically. He said they had managed to scare voters about gay people getting married – enough to put George Bush back into the White House in 2004 – but that the Right has sort of tapped out its ability or organize through fear or ambition for political power, and now needed to come up with a motivating vision.
He had a five point plan for activists: Live Right, Do Right, Move Right, Pray Right, Speak Right. And he had a list of things the movement needs to confess or repent for in order to get God’s blessing on their efforts: 1) the ongoing racial divide in the church 2) becoming over-identified with the Republican Party – which, according to Jackson, “is now doing to white evangelicals” what the Democratic Party has been doing to black people for years – basically taking them for granted. 3) having not had great accountability for some of the movement’s leaders 4) being seen more concerned with truth than love. 5) Lack of vigilance on protecting the unborn. Jackson called the abortion rate in the black community “genocide.”