Bishop Harry Jackson, homophobic preacher and darling of the Religious Right, is telling the mostly white participants of this year's Values Voter Summit to tone down their anti-Obama rhetoric. He says he knows that they're not racists, but some of them are starting to sound like racists, which makes it hard for him to get African-American clergy members to join his anti-gay crusade. (And really, how can Jackson be expected to promote his own brand of bigotry when all these annoying No-bamas are scaring off black ministers?)
Peter at Right-Wing Watch provides insights and highlights from Jackson's speech: Gays and liberal Christians are enemies of God who deserve to be struck down. Jackson cited verses from Psalm 68 saying "let God arise, let his enemies be scattered... let the wicked perish at the presence of God." He described God striking dead a person who wasn’t following instructions about how the Ark of the Covenant should be moved. Who are the wicked? Gays, certainly, but also "folk who are Christians in name only" but are just asking to be struck dead by God for not following His ways. Jackson said repeatedly of people who don’t support his agenda that "there are people in our culture who are easily led." Do you remember the outcry from the Religious Right when the Washington Post said the same thing about them? But nobody batted an eye when Jackson suggested that African Americans who don’t support him are "in an ideological plantation" and "easily led" to believe the worst "character assassination" about conservative evangelicals. That’s why, he said, right-wing activists need to tone down their attacks on Obama. In the fight to keep same-sex couples from getting married, he said, he "can’t win if my own black brothers see me as a traitor." (Poor thing.)
Jackson apparently believes that it's perfectly fine, admirable even, to behave like a raving homobigot - but if African-Americans think his values pals are racists, then it becomes difficult to enlist his preacher pals to bash Teh Evil Gays.
Not everyone thinks that Bishop Jackson's path is righteous. Sylvia Rhue, the director of religious affairs for National Black Justice Coalition, says: "I think it's disturbing when black people join the contemporary Confederate army. I don't see anti-gay religious leaders as any different than the army who wanted a civil war to maintain slavery. They were passionate and thought that God was on their side. But they were very wrong."