African American conservative evangelical says 'The GOP Needs Political Viagra'
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Feb 25, 2008 at 05:03:04 PM EST
Christian conservative movement not 'on its deathbed,' says Bishop Harry Jackson

Despite the President Bush's record low approval ratings and the conservative movement's recent floundering, as of Sunday, February 24, three conservative books -- "An Inconvenient Book" by Glenn Beck and Kevin Balfe, "Real Change" by Newt Gingrich with Vince Haley and Rick Tyler, and "Liberal Fascism" by Jonah Goldberg -- were on the New York Times best-seller list. In less than ten days, another conservative tome will be published: "Personal Faith, Public Policy" by Harry Jackson and Tony Perkins,  the head of the Washington, DC-based lobbying group, the Family Research Council.  

Jackson, the founder and Chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and the author of a number of books including "The Warriors Heart: Rules of Engagement for the Spiritual War Zone," used his Monday, February 25 column Townhall.com column both to boost the sagging morale of the Religious Right, and to promote his forthcoming book.

In a piece titled "The GOP Needs Political Viagra," Jackson argued that: 1) despite the "lack of political passion and enthusiasm of the conservative movement," and despite the mainstream media's predilection for burying the Religious Right, the movement is not at death's door; and 2) the Religious Right is actually growing.

"Personal Faith, Public Policy," due out on March 4, provides, according to Jackson,  a clear "blue print for positive, visionary involvement in the political process."

"Personal Faith, Public Policy"

In a promotional blurb for the book, Christianbook.com writes: "Have Christian conservatives lost their political clout? Jackson and Perkins answer with a resounding 'No!' In fact, values voters are poised to make a comeback. Identifying vital issues people of faith must address, this call to action urges believers to work toward curing domestic poverty, protecting the environment, defending marriage and family, and more."

In his column, Jackson writes:

The GOP needs to tap into the energy of the faith community. In order to do this it has to create a faith friendly platform reflecting the greatest concerns facing evangelicals today. The movement has united around what it doesn't want more than an image of what it does want. It did not have a pre-agreed upon list of priorities or a mandate form evangelicals that the majority of evangelicals had agreed upon with regard to economics, the war, and host of other important topics. The evangelical Christian movement has operated more like a mob than an army. Therefore, the movement has often been unable to execute cultural initiatives requiring sophisticated coordination, focus, and timing.

According to Jackson, the book, endorsed by the Southern Baptist Convention's Richard Land, longtime Religious Right activist and co-author of the "Left Behind" series of apocalyptic novels, Dr. Tim LaHaye, former Senator Bill Frist, conservative Congressman Mike Pence and a host of pastors and leaders around the nation, "addresses the following issues and a host of others including health care and the war:

  1. "The Value of Human Life"

  2. "Immigration"

  3. "Poverty and Justice"

  4. "Racial Reconciliation"

  5. "Religious Liberties"

  6. "Rebuilding the Family"

  7. "The Environment and Global Warming"

Harry Jackson to the stage  

While Tony Perkins has been a marquee name on the Religious Right for several years, Harry Jackson is relatively new to the political spotlight.

In August 2005, I wrote a piece for MediaTransparency.org titled "High Impact, Low Maintenance" which profiled Jackson:


...Over the past year, Jackson, who was the featured African American speaker at the "Justice Sunday II" rally, has become one of the religious right's go-to-guys.

One month before the [2004] presidential election, Bishop Jackson envisioned the future, and it had a second term for President George W. Bush writ large all over it. In a commentary posted on The Elijah List -- "Discover what God's Prophets and Prophetic People are Saying Daily" -- Jackson wrote that he "support[ed] George Bush" and he believed "that the Black vote will push him over the top."

Bishop Jackson said a "'stealth vote' of Blacks will turn things around for the President."

"In my view, God has been preparing the heart of President Bush to take a radical stand for social justice in his next term. This could be the beginning of the development of a 'kingdom agenda' instead of a limited 'conservative' versus 'liberal' approach to the woes of our society. The current political labels have led to bitter divisions that do not serve the nation's best interests."

Bishop Jackson traced his support for Bush to a January 2004 meeting with members of the Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders (ACPE). According to Jackson, ACPE, led by C. Peter Wagner, includes Lou Engle, Joseph Garlington, James Goll, Bill Hamon, Cindy Jacobs, Chuck Pierce, John and Paula Sanford, Dutch Sheets, Tommy Tenney, Barbara Yoder, and several others.

"We all felt that the election would be close and very bitter," Jackson wrote. "As a group, we stated that the major issue of this election would be justice. We, corporately, prophetically declared that if President Bush chose justice, he would be re-elected."

....In November 2004, Jackson's prognostication proved reasonably accurate. While President Bush received only slightly more African American votes than he did in 2000 (up from nine percent to 11 percent), he did much better among Blacks in Florida, where support among African Americans rose six percentage points to 13 percent, and in Ohio, where the president may have garnered as much as 16 percent of the Black vote.

In "High Impact African American Churches", Jackson, and co-author, statistical expert [and political pollster] George Barna, spell out "the differences that set apart high-impact African-American churches from other churches."

According to the book's promotional materials at SonicLeader.com,

"The book observes the manner in which African-Americans approach their faith; how black pastors often serve as the most important leader in many African-American's lives; the unique and powerful ways in which African-Americans follow Christ through discipleship, worship, evangelism, stewardship and serving the community; and how African-Americans build lasting and vital relationships, both with family and in the church."

SonicLeader.com aims "To help today's Christian Leaders grow in their understanding of ministry leadership through concentrated knowledge of the latest, best, most important books; and to create an easy access point into the leadership conversation for tomorrow's Christian leaders." Being a Christian leader means "to learn ... about what it means to lead a movement, build teams, develop and communicate vision, organize their ministry, communicate cross-culturally, recognize and adjust to social trends, and study the lives of great leaders. In short, they need to learn how to leverage their gifts for maximum kingdom impact."

In January, Jackson launched the High-Impact Leadership Coalition, described in a press release as a "grassroots nonprofit organization" whose "mission is to help educate and empower church, community and political leaders in urban communities across America regarding moral value issues important to us all, especially among African Americans."

At its initial press conference and summit in Los Angeles, in February, The High Impact Leadership Coalition unveiled its "Black Contract with America on Moral Values." The Black Contract -- a throwback to Newt Gingrich's mid-nineties Contract with America -- focuses on: marriage, with a special emphasis on prohibiting same-sex marriage; supports privatizing social security and encourages homeownership; supports school vouchers, charter schools and boosting Black enrollment in higher education; advocates prison reform, including laws restoring the rights of felons; mentions intervention in Sudan and penalties against corporations that explore for oil in the region; and calls for overhauling America's healthcare system, with special emphasis on programs to cover the poor.

At Jackson's side was the Rev. Lou Sheldon, the founder of the virulently anti-gay Traditional Values Coalition. Jasmyne Cannick, of The Black Commentator, pointed out "the press conference and summit gave new meaning to the phrase 'sleeping with the enemy.'"

After an April meeting of conservative Christian leaders in New York City, Jackson pointed out that "We came together ... to send a strong message to elected officials and candidates for public office in New York and across America: vote against gay marriage, abortion and for other moral value issues or evangelical Christians throughout the U.S. will continue to vote you out of office."

...Jackson is just the kind of African American conservative the Republican Party is looking for ... He is a registered Democrat who has broken ranks with the Party; he is far to the right on social issues such as abortion and gay rights; he believes in the president's faith-based initiative; and, as senior pastor of the 2,000 member Hope Christian Church in College Park, Maryland, he has a ready-made constituency.

...Jackson has met with Bush; sat down with Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman; and was the only African American speaker at "Justice Sunday II," on Sunday, August 14, [2005] at the Two Rivers Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee.

At "Justice Sunday II - God Save the United States and This Honorable Court!" -- a live nationwide television simulcast produced by Family Research Council and Focus on the Family Action -- Jackson joined such Christian right luminaries as Tony Perkins, president of the Washington, DC-based Family Research Council, Dr. James Dobson, the founder of the Colorado Springs, Colorado-based Focus on the Family, rejected Supreme Court nominee Robert H. Bork, [former] House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), former senator Zell Miller (D-Ga.), Prison Fellowship Ministries founder Chuck Colson, and Eagle Forum President Phyllis Schlafly.

While the telecast may not have actually "made its way into 79 million households in 50 states" as the website of the Family Research Council recently claimed, there was certainly a goodly number of people tuned in. As the Washington Post reported, viewers from coast to coast heard Jackson tell the 2,200 (mostly white people) in attendance that the "Christian community is experiencing a new unity around the moral values that we share because of common faith." Jackson also pointed out that appointing judges who will strictly interpret the Constitution is advantageous to Blacks: "If justice matters to anybody in America, it matters to minorities and to people who have historically been at the bottom of the barrel" who will not have "to deal with a maverick judge changing the law at the last minute."

In an oratorical flourish that charmed the crowd, Jackson bellowed: "I believe that what God is doing today is calling the Black church to team with the white evangelical church and the Catholic Church and people of moral conscience, and in this season we need to begin to tell both [political] parties, 'Listen, it's our way or the highway.'

"You and I can bring the rule and reign of the cross to America, and we can change America on our watch together," he roared. "Do you believe it?"

On Monday July 25, 2005 Jackson was one of more than 20 Black religious leaders "who met with Bush at the White House," the Washington Post reported on August 7. After the meeting, Jackson maintained that he was impressed with the president's efforts to "increase Black homeownership, to extend more funding to faith-based social service agencies and to increase funding to slow the spread of AIDS in Africa."

"People who are skeptical about the Republicans don't realize the sincerity of their outreach effort," Jackson said.

According to the Washington Post, since January, Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman has met with and addressed 17 Black groups, including the annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (while Bush was addressing a more conservative Black audience in Indiana); Black church leaders; and the National Association of Black Journalists.

"Almost always, his message is the same," the newspaper reported: Mehlman generally talks about the Republican Party's historic connection to African Americans; offers up an apology for the Nixon-era, and onward, GOP "Southern Strategy" which basically disregarded Black voters while using racist tactics to solicit the white vote; and then proclaims that GOP leaders are working aggressively to bring Blacks into the Party.

In an August 19, op-ed published by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon-owned Washington Times, Bishop Jackson wrote that a "New Black Church" is "emerging in America." He commented on the need for "social justice" and maintained that the president's "brilliant phrase 'compassionate conservatism' ... resonates in the hearts and minds of Black leaders."

Then Jackson praised the Bush Agenda and its effect on African Americans. Jackson approved of the president's Medicare drug benefit, but said nothing else about health care for the poor. He supported an upcoming faith-based summit in March 2006 that will "discuss removing barriers which prevent faith-based organizations from receiving corporate and foundations funds," but said nothing about mechanisms to hold faith-based organizations accountable for the government funds it receives. In addition, he praised the president's "compassionate work in Africa," without questioning whether or when the aid promised by the Bush Administration would be delivered.

It will be interesting to see if Jackson and Perkins' "blueprint" for flexing the muscles of the evangelical movement resonates with the choir.

 




Display:
"Apostolic" leaders in the New Apostolic Reformation, of which Jackson is a part, believe that THEY are the true world government and that it will only be a matter of time before churches will submit to their authority, and then they will use those churches to infiltrate and take over other "spheres" including governments, the media, the military, etc. etc. etc.  Like Christian Reconstructionists, they believe in dominion theology but with a twist... once a critical mass of Christendom submits to their authority and become "activated" in their spiritual gifts, they will literally become Christ.  Christian Reconstructionists and other Reformed postmillennials believe they have the mandate to take over the world for Christ... these guys believe they have the mandate to train believers to BECOME CHRIST.

Once that happens, purging the "body" will follow.  "Joel's Army" will make Cromwell's "New Model Army" seem like a cakewalk since of course now in the 21st century they will have WMDs...

According to "Dr." Bill Hamon (emphasis mine),

So we have three more movements yet to take place. So we are right now in the Prophetic-Apostolic Movement but then somewhere along 2012 or 2010 the preachers will start getting on the ball and teaching and training the saints. Then we will have the Saint's Movement that will demonstrate to every nation the Kingship of Jesus Christ. Then we are going to have the Army of the Lord demonstrate the power of God and go forth as mighty warriors and shake whole nations. Then we will have the Kingdom Establishment Movement. The Kingdom will be established and Jesus will return and change us in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye so we can finish the job with our immortal bodies. That's the purpose and identity of the movement of God for the Church.

What Hamon doesn't say is that Christ's return, according to the NAR's theology, is a spiritual one where he supposedly returns in the "Army of the Lord" and then these "immortals" rule and reign not just for Christ, but AS CHRIST.

They take many of these doctrines directly from an English Restoration era prophetess, Jane Leade, who believed that the time in which we now live would be when this would all take place.  Her later and most mature works, especially her three messages to the Philadelphian Society she headed, seemed to have been influenced by Francis Mercurius van Helmont's "translation" of Seder Olam, published in 1694. I've compared Leade's Third Message to the Philadelphian Society against Seder Olam, and her timeline for the spiritual return of Christ in believers who would rule and reign as/for him seems to be taken almost directly from van Helmont.

The English satirists of her period pretty much laughed her and her movement into near oblivion, but her writings survived and were rediscovered by Pentecostal Healing Movement evangelists in the mid 20th century, and my research indicates that her "Sixty Propositions" may have helped spark this movement.

At least the NAR has given us a handy timeline of their plans.


by ulyankee on Mon Feb 25, 2008 at 05:54:40 PM EST

.... and my research indicates that her "Sixty Propositions" may have helped spark the Latter Rain movement, from which the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) is descended.  

Among other things, the Latter Rain and NAR believe that apostolic government (apostles, prophets, etc.) is being restored to the church and that the church under their authority will usher in Christ's (spiritual) return.  Christ can not return until the church and then a critical mass of the world submits to their authority.  Bill Hamon's timeline as linked above summarizes this nicely.

by ulyankee on Mon Feb 25, 2008 at 06:04:16 PM EST
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