Wednesday, February 17, 2010

AN INTERVIEW WITH BISHOP HARRY JACKSON; THE IRONY AND IRRATIONALITY OF MINORITY GROUP HOMOPHOBIA

This is a very telling interview with Bishop Harry Jackson. His not seeing Gay rights as a civil rights issue every bit as valid as was the African American civil rights struggle not all that long ago, and his desire for same-sex marriage to be put up to a vote of the electorate when, had any or all of the civil rights of African Americans been put up for such a vote, there is a very good chance that we'd still have Segregation and Jim Crow laws, is very disquieting.

His inability or unwillingness to see Gay rights as a civil rights issue; his opposition to same-sex marriage and the "reasons" he uses to justify his position, show that not only is homophobia irrational, but is not amenable to "sweet reason" or to the appeal to "the milk of human kindness" by LGBT rights activists or by anyone who seeks equal rights for Gay people.

Here is an interview with Bishop Jackson. (Thanks to the Washington Post.):



Now, check this out:

Jackson was an active supporter of anti-gay ballot initiatives in 2008. He took part in conference calls designed to rally conservative pastors to support Proposition 8 in California. And he spent time on the ground in Florida, mobilizing support for Amendment 2. “There is a national agenda by the homosexual lobby to break down and redefine the family,” he said in an Amendment 2 press release. “If we do not protect marriage now, then their agenda will advance and we will face a threat to our religious freedom to preach the full truth of God’s word on issues like this.” On a Larry King Live discussion after the passage of Proposition 8, he said that “There’s been a hijacking of the civil rights movement by the radical gay movement,” and said to a gay activist on the show, “you can’t equate your sin with my skin.”

According to journalist Sarah Posner, Jackson was ordained not by one of the nation’s traditional African American denominations, but by Wellington Boone’s Fellowship of International Churches. Boone is among the most extreme of the anti-gay African Americans that Religious Right groups have embraced for their anti-gay positions. During the Family Research Council’s “Liberty Sunday” event in Massachusetts in 2006, Boone charged gay rights activists with the “rape” of the civil rights movement and spoke approvingly of colonial era laws making homosexual behavior a crime punishable by death.
Jackson insists that he’s not anti-gay, and often works hard to sound reasonable. He repeatedly told reporters last year that his effort to pass anti-marriage initiatives last year was not an attack on gays but based on his concern that “redefining” marriage could make it extinct in the African American community. But it’s awfully hard to square Jackson’s assertions that he’s not anti-gay with his repeated accusations that gays are Satan-inspired enemies of religious freedom who have “hijacked” the civil rights movement and are out to shut down the church in America.

Gays as satanic: Shortly before the 2004 election, Jackson outlined a strategy for defeating the “gay agenda,” writing, “Gays have been at the helm of a fourfold strategy for years, but the wisdom behind their spiritual, cultural, political, and generational tactics is clearly satanic.” In 2007, he blamed the advance of hate crimes legislation on the fact that “the authority of the evil one in the nation has continued to ascend and get stronger and bolder.” And at the Jamestown celebration that year, he said, “And so what we are dealing with is an insidious intrusion of the Devil to try to cut off the voice of the church, and I for one am not going to let that happen.”


[For the full article, please see here.]

It is a profound tragedy when many members of a minority group that was victimized by unspeakable oppression for hundreds of years in the U.S. now become the oppressor of another minority group!

In this connection, the following is a post I wrote a few months ago entitled, "The Irony and Irrationality of Minority Group Homophobia."


This is how Bishop Harry Jackson [Pictured] spent his summer vacation: He hustled back and forth across the District rallying his faithful flock who oppose gay marriage. He leaned into microphones over at the Board of Elections and Ethics, quoting biblical verse, decrying those who would trumpet marriage between man and man, woman and woman.

He continued his protests when the leaves began to fall and the early darkness crawled across the sky. He heard amen this and amen that from the pulpit of his Beltsville church. They sent him out to spread their version of the Gospel, and off he went, hopscotching across the country. Sometimes crowds would gather around him like geese, in Denver, in Los Angeles, sometimes 10,000 at a time. He spoke to swelling groups of people who felt the same way he did about same-sex marriage: No, no, no.

He popped up on national talk shows. The conservative radio commentators ushered him into their studios.


[For the full article, see here.](Thanks to AmericaBlogGay.)

Bishop Harry Jackson is a man who, as an African American, has a legacy of grinding oppression and unimagined suffering relieved only by intensive civil rights agitation by those who endured what Martin Luther King called "a season of suffering." It was this "season of suffering" that enabled the Harry Jacksons of the world to have what credibility they enjoy, but by no means deserve to the degree that they seek to deny the same civil rights of which they were once deprived but that they now enjoy precisely because of that civil rights struggle.

Now, Harry Jackson, and those minority group members who agree with him regarding the minority group of LGBT people, is exhibiting what may be seen to be a version of what Vilfredo Pareto, a famous early twentieth century Sociologist called, "the circulation of elites," whereby a deprived group, once it gets some measure of power, then turns around and oppresses another minority group.

Jackson invokes the Bible and God to seek to justify his homophobia, his intense desire to prevent same-sex loving couples from benefitting from the institution of marriage, with all of the civil and sacramental rights that accrue to that institution. (In this connection, please read my October 21, 2009 post, The Danger of the Religious Right.)

The irony of a member of one minority group seeking to prevent full equality of another minority group, beyond invoking the Bible and God to justify that oppression, is seen when we read of many of the "justifications" used by professing "Christian" White Supremacists to maintain the institutions of Slavery, Segregation and Jim Crow laws that once were institutionalized in the U.S. Indeed, "...religious endorsement of Jim Crow went a long way to sanctifying segregation as a widespread social reality." (See here.)

It would be instructive for the Harry Jacksons of the religious world to learn from the following:

For centuries, Christian artwork had depicted Satan and his demons as black. In Christian literature, Satan was described as black, even specifically as an African, such as in Athanasius' Life of Saint Anthony and the medieval best-seller Voyage of Brendan. Not surprisingly, Christians decided that Africans and Indians were a lot closer to Satan than white-skinned Europeans and acted accordingly to protect themselves from the "pollution" of contact with dark-skinned peoples. Read historian Forrest G. Wood's The Arrogance of Faith for an in-depth exploration of the Christian origin of racism, slavery and segregation.

That's why defenders of slavery in the antebellum South repeatedly use the Bible and refer to Christian concepts in their arguments. Read The Ideology of Slavery, which reprints slavery defenses, edited by Drew Gilpin Faust, to see how devoutly Christian the defenders were. Defenders correctly note that the Bible repeatedly condones slavery, even commands it at times, and never condemns it. Even the Tenth Commandment condones slavery; so much for the Commandments as a source of moral virtue. Also read Proslavery, by Larry E. Tise, pages 116-120, for surveys showing the overwhelmingly Christian character of slavery defenses. In one survey of pro-slavery tracts, clergymen wrote more than half.

In the aftermath of the Civil War, it's no surprise that Sunday morning became the most segregated time of the week. Nor is it surprising that it was agnostics and atheists in various liberal movements who spoke out first against segregation and racism. That's one reason that white segregationists--clergy included--labeled the civil-rights workers "communists," a word they considered synonymous with atheism.


[For the full article, see here.]

Part of an Abstract of an article entitled, God, Preachers, And Segregation, reads as follows:

In 1965, transcripts were collected of 72 sermons on the issue of racial integration preached between 1955 and 1965. The sermons, all given by Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, or Episcopal ministers in the southern United States, were examined to determine the position advocated by the minister. The sermons deemed segregationist were then analyzed for recurring strategies used to defend the segregation viewpoint. The major arguments of the segregationists may be summarized as follows: (1) segregation is the divine will of God as expressed in the Bible; (2) desegregation leads to mixed marriages, which are undesirable; (3) segregation is a universal law of nature...(5) the motives of those who support integration are improper; (6) segregation does not necessarily entail discrimination....

So, the irony of the homophobic pronouncements of the religious Harry Jacksons of the world is that those pronouncements virtually mimic much of the rhetoric of the White Supremacist clergy that was used against their ancestors, and that helped to provide "justification" for the institutions of slavery and segregation in society.

As I wrote in an article, It's Not About Issues:

...we have the irrational and surreal phenomenon where we have people aligning themselves with the Power Elite by directly working against their own interests, so that we see the spectacle of some African American clergy willing to align themselves with the KKK to oppose same-sex marriage, as seen by Rev. Gregory Daniels who is quoted as having said, "If the KKK opposes gay marriage, I would ride with them."

The reactionary mind-set of the Power Elite has even infiltrated many other African American clergy and their gullible followers who should certainly know better, so that they perversely use the very same rhetoric, justifications for, and advocacy of, discrimination against LGBT people and their acquisition of full and equal civil rights that were once used against African Americans by the allies and members of the Power Elite, and they are now willfully blind to the fact that it was those "activist judges," "liberals," and courageous people, Black and White, which and whom they now roundly condemn, that made possible the end of slavery and segregation.


Unfortunately, appeals to rationality and to the essence of the Gospel message seems to have little, if any, influence on deeply prejudiced people, particularly if those people can get their fifteen minutes of fame, and acquire a great deal of power, prestige, and wealth by bearing false witness against Gay people, and preaching exclusionary rhetoric that appeals to people's prejudices and xenophobic feelings and unfounded fears.

It comes down to the fact that the rhetoric of the Harry Jacksons of the religious world are not merely bankrupt, but that there are all too many gullible people who take their rhetoric seriously, and thereby suppress and subvert the "season of suffering" that their ancestors endured; they also renounce the entire Gospel that they falsely say they preach, as well as they renounce the Prince of Peace, the very God, Whom they say they represent!

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Unless and until all people realize that we are all brothers and sisters who are equal in the sight of God; God creates both Gay and Straight people; bearing false witness against Gay people (and others) and defaming and stigmatizing them will only lead to increased acts of incivility and even depravity by the oppressors against Gay people and any group that they perceive to be vulnerable and "safe" targets to persecute; as long as those who claim to represent the Prince of Peace contravene the teachings of Jesus and seek to deprive others of dignity and civil rights, we will degenerate from one madness to another until such time that there will be a war of all against all, to the detriment of the oppressors' souls!
Share |

2 comments:

DON CHARLES aka "STUFFED ANIMAL" said...

UGH! I'm sorry, Jerry, but I wouldn't listen to an interview with that joker even if I had access to computers that could play it. I simply cannot abide this man, who I once designated one of "Four Evil Kings" who promote Gay genocide. He drags Christianity through the dirt! How DARE he call himself a minister.

I heard the "Bishop" interviewed on the PBS show "Tony Brown's Journal" years ago, and he said Gay men are synonymous with prostitutes. The lies just rolled off his tongue like dog slobber. He has no ethics, no integrity, no class! After the interview was over, I wanted to bash my TV set in, I was so damn angry.

Jerry Maneker said...

The tragedy, beyond the obvious, is that there are a lot of other ignorant and/or hateful African American and other clergy who use their pulpits, and all sorts of other venues, to spew their bile and help cause untold suffering on Gay people and their families. They must be exposed and confronted for the wolves in sheep's clothing that they are; the psychological dynamics that would make a person a strident homophobe must be studied, exposed, and confronted in every single public venue possible! Best wishes, Jerry.