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Jackson confuses 'vilification' with 'error correction'

by Jeremy Hooper

Okay, kids, so read this excerpt from last Friday's USA Today, and then we'll have a chat:

Minister Harry Jackson recalls being told about the black men who were lynched near his home in Florida in the 1950s and his family's flight to Ohio after a state trooper threatened his father at gunpoint for helping blacks register to vote.

"That was a real hate crime," Jackson says.

Crimes such as those spurred black ministers to join the civil rights movement of the '50s and '60s, which led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964.

Today, Jackson, pastor of the Hope Christian Church in Lanham, Md., leads a movement against what gay activists say is their civil rights act: the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007.

Jackson and more than 30 ministers say the law could prevent clergy from doing what their civil rights forebears did: preach against immoral acts. "We believe there is an anti-Christian muzzle-the-pastor kind of feeling behind this kind of law," Jackson says. "I need to be able to preach that adultery, fornication, straying from the way of the Lord is wrong."

Activists say argument is a lie

Proponents of the bill, which would increase penalties for attacks on gays motivated by the person's sexual orientation, say Jackson's position is nonsense.

"They cannot be more protected than they are … to do that because (the bill) reiterates their right to say what they want to say," says Harry Knox, director of the religion and faith program at the Human Rights Campaign, a gay advocacy group in Washington that is pushing for the law. Jackson's argument "is a lie, and it should not be told in the name of the Gospel," he said.

 Good As You Images 0,,1543106,00Alright, so clearly Bishop Jackson is trying to use the twisted "pro-family" line that hate crimes legislation would prevent speech. Also clear from the piece: HRC's Harry Knox is calling out that spin job, presenting the fact that such legislation in no way targets a preacher's right to preach. It's all pretty straightforward, to-be-expected debate on this issue.

Unfortunately, Bishop Jackson is now spinning this even further, presenting the above excerpt in a way that makes it seem like Harry Knox was condemning his religious views, not his legislative misrepresentations. This from a response piece that Jackson has penned for TownHall, titled "Why Do Gays Hate Religious Freedom?":

I was excited last Friday when I got the word that I was featured in an extensive article in USA Today. The voice on the other end of the phone also informed me that a sizable picture of me would also appear. Needless to say it only took but a few minutes for me to get a copy of the paper in my hand. As I read the article, I was further flattered by the fact that the writer included the story of my father being threatened by a Florida State Trooper in a 1950s hate crime.

The joy that my message is getting huge traction in the mainstream media faded as I read the second paragraph. “Jackson's argument is a lie, and it should not be told in the name of the Gospel.” This riveting line stopped me in my tracks. Spoken by a major gay advocacy group’s leader, these words were meant to vilify me and the thousands of Christian ministers around the country that believe exactly like I do. I was saddened but not surprised. I could not help asking myself the question, “Have we reverted to senseless name calling, instead of debating the facts?”

Senseless name calling?! Meant to vilify Christian ministers?! Uhm, no, Mr. Jackson, try it's a gay Christian calling you out of your blatant attempts to lie about this particular legislation! If you are asserting that this measure is preventing ANY sort of preaching, then you sir are twisting the truth. It is not name-calling on Mr. Knox's part to set the record straight -- that is him "debating the facts" by PRESENTING THE FACTS.

In the same USA Today piece that's quoted above, Jackson also presents this scenario:

Lets say a congregational member has a diminished (mental) capacity, goes out and hurts somebody or threatens to hurt somebody and is arrested and says, 'Pastor Jackson told me to do this.' Under the laws of the land, I could be implicated and brought up on charges as an accessory to that crime,"

And again, this is completely duplicitous! That's because ANYONE who is cited by ANYONE else as an instigator of violence is going to have to be brought in for questioning. That is simply the way criminal justice works. Regardless of the perp's mental state, they could theoretically place blame on any person that they, for whatever reason, want to target. However, if that particular person of interest -- be they clergy or layperson -- truly has done nothing wrong, then they have nothing to worry about. However, what Bishop Jackson and his allies are presenting is a situation that is TRULY frightening -- one in which a pastor is automatically above suspicion simply because they are a religious leader. Disturbing.

It's fine that folks like Bishop Jackson are opposed to HR1592/SB1105, be it on social, political, or religious grounds. However, their attempts to replace the actual issues with a parade of untruths is truly unconscionable. Harry Knox had the right, nay, OBLIGATION to speak the truth about the flawed tactics. Here's hoping that in the future, Bishop Jackson will realize that the only senseless wordplay being bandied about in this debate is by those who feel that "violence" and "thought" are interchangeable terms!!

Ministers say hate crimes act could muzzle them[USA Today]
Why Do Gays Hate Religious Freedom?[TownHall]

*SEE ALSO: Snopes takes on more HR 1592/ SB 1105 misrepresentations, this time courtesy of the AFA.

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Your thoughts

Lest the good Minister forget...

Coretta Scott King, speaking four days before the 30th anniversary of her husband's assassination, said Tuesday the civil rights leader's memory demanded a strong stand for gay and lesbian rights. "I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice," she said. "But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.'" "I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream to make room at the table of brother- and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people," she said. - Reuters, March 31, 1998.

"Gays and lesbians stood up for civil rights in Montgomery, Selma, in Albany, Ga. and St. Augustine, Fla., and many other campaigns of the Civil Rights Movement," she said. "Many of these courageous men and women were fighting for my freedom at a time when they could find few voices for their own, and I salute their contributions." - Chicago Tribune, April 1, 1998, sec.2, p.4.

Posted by: Franc | Jun 18, 2007 7:22:46 PM

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