John Ankerberg: Welcome to our program. We’ve got a great one for you today. This is a really important topic, Is same-sex marriage a civil right? This is one of the key questions today. And I want you to know that our program is a reflection of both my deep love for the homosexual community, as well as my deep concern for our nation if we legalize same-sex marriage. And let nobody say that Christians have to choose between loving homosexuals and opposing same-sex marriage. Love helps us see that there is a better way. Obviously, we in the heterosexual community, we must be concerned about our own sins, as we are about the homosexual community. And one thing is for sure, we must be concerned enough to speak out about any action, heterosexual or homosexual, that violates God’s intended plan for marriage and the family.
Now, folks, I’ve got a tremendous guest today. You’re going to love this man. It is Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr. Let me just tell you a little bit about this fellow. You’re looking at a man, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the prestigious Williams College, then went on to Harvard, got his Masters of Business Administration from Harvard Business School. He was courted by Goldman Sachs. He actually worked in some Fortune 500 companies. And while there, God started to pull him into ministry, and he started a Bible study while he was working. And that Bible study eventually grew so big it turned into a church.
And then in 1988 God called him to be the Senior Pastor of Hope Christian Church in Washington, DC. You know what, it’s a thriving, multi-cultural congregation that now has over 3,000 people attending, consisting of 22 different nationalities. Listen, you got to be a special kind of man to be able to minister to all those folks. He’s also the Regional Bishop in the Fellowship of International Churches.
He’s an author; he’s written “The Black Contract with America on Moral Values,” “Personal Faith, Public Policy” and “The Truth in Black and White.” He is the founder and chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition in Washington, DC, and Stand For Marriage, DC coalition. He writes a weekly column on Town Hall. He’s got two kids and his wife, and they live there in Washington.
Harry, I don’t know how you have time to breath. And, you know, I want the folks, as we start out, we’ve got this fantastic topic that they all want to hear about. But first of all, people want to know, you had it all, Harry. You were a graduate from Harvard Business School, you were courted by Goldman Sachs, you had opportunities to make nothing but dollars, okay, the American dream. And how did you get from these Fortune 500 companies, into being a pastor of one of the largest churches in Washington, DC?
Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr.: Well, John, that’s a great question. Sometimes I look back, even a few years ago, and I said to myself, “Wow, what am I doing, how did I get here?” ’Cause, my grandfather went to second grade in school. He was one of the Gullah people from off the coast of South Carolina. And my grandmother was actually a kind of mulatto, and really their family had nothing, came from nothing. But they had a faith in God. And I was raised with an understanding that serving God should be paramount. And that I went, really for the money, went on to Harvard, as you talked about, and had a great experience there.
And one night the Lord really began to deal with me as I was in that process of looking at Goldman Sachs, specifically, that’s really where I wanted to be. And I could not sleep the night after my second or third interview down in New York City. I had just flown back to Boston, knew that they were really talking about a very serious opportunity for me. And I felt, in prayer, that I could not take the opportunity. I went in another direction, which took me to the little town of Corning, New York. There, working for what is now Corning Fiber Optics, I ultimately was a sales and marketing manager of a technical ceramics division. That was a great job.
But God called me to start a Bible study. As you said, it became a church. I had to make a choice a few years in. My wife, who is a,… she is not shy, I’ll say it that way, came to me one day and said, “You’ve got to choose. You’ve got kids; you’ve got me; you have got this business thing you’re doing; and you’ve got all these people that are in the church. What are you going to do?” And it was at that time that I had to really surrender, to the inward witness of the Holy Spirit in my life, raise up the church, and become someone who works there. The church became a multi-racial church. It really pre-shadowed… Everything I’m doing today, I can look back to that time and see it was preparation. We had PhD’s in the church, and people with no degrees. It was ninety-some percent white, handful of blacks. Back in those days, in the 80’s, black people were not pastoring white people, it just wasn’t happening. But God gave me a love for the people in that community, and somehow they responded to the teaching and preaching of the word of God. And so that’s how we started, before God moved us to Washington, to a phone call I got late one evening, which we can talk about at some other point.
Ankerberg: Yeah, we’re going to come back to the church here. Let’s jump to our topic, Harry, because you’re a registered Democrat working with Tony Perkins, okay. In other words, you’ve collaborated in coauthoring a book together.
Ankerberg: And I love the fact, you got a Republican and a Democrat, and yet you are one of the few African American pastors in Washington, DC, that has taken a stand against the Obama Health Care program. And you have also taken this stand for traditional marriage, and so that when Proposition 8 was passed in California, and then afterwards the judge reversed it, I think you did more time on television than Larry King. I saw you on all of the networks. And I’d like to go through the interview that you had on CNN.
Ankerberg: And some of the things that you said about why same-sex marriage is not a civil right, in fact, that was the whole topic for that segment of the program. On CNN, you started off by saying the institution of marriage is unique. Why did you say it’s unique, Harry?
Jackson: Well, I wanted to really focus on the fact that God pre-wired us for a certain kind of union, and that unlike the loving case that everybody talks about where a white man wanted to marry a colored woman, we’re talking about a fundamental transformation of an institution. Marriage redefinition is marriage destruction. It’s nothing less than that. And many of our listeners today, they don’t get it. I mean, they think, well, why can’t, you know, this gay guy just be happy? I want everybody to be happy. But the reality is, as a preacher of the gospel, there’s a certain standard. But beyond that, God gave us His commandments, because certain things aren’t good for us, no matter whether we’re born-again or not. And so, if you look generationally, John, I’m thinking about 20 years, 30 years from now, I’m looking at a black community that portends what the white and Hispanic communities are going to be about years from now. Our families are broken. And as I speak about this, sometimes it almost makes my heart break; it almost makes me weep. Folks say, “Why are you involved in all of this?” Well, I’m involved because I believe that God wants a dimension of protective grace that will come over this nation. And somebody’s got to stand up. And I guess I and you’ve been tagged by the Holy Spirit to do this.
Ankerberg: Yeah. I think a lot of our Christians don’t realize, Harry, that Proposition 8 passed simply because the black community came out. Over 70% voted for Proposition 8, in the African American community. Now, you had guys out there, and you,… Talk about what happened and then tell me about your statement that you made about US District Court, the judge’s decision in overturning that.
Jackson: Well, first of all, two thirds of the black community voted for marriage, just a little bit more than two thirds, nearly 70 percent. And it was really important, significant. We had some guys that went out to California, they did a lot of work, but they were more catalytic, John, in that pastors were waiting to be encouraged, but they just didn’t know how to put the strategies together. And then, when Tony Perkins from FRC, Focus on the Family, National Organization for Marriage, all came together, it was powerful. But I think that we were very successful at encouraging leaders to organize their people. One quick story, if I might interject this…
Jackson: I’ll never forget being on the phone with one of the largest denominational leaders in California, the young man that I spent 20 years discipling, who is actually funded, his salary is paid for, by Tony Perkins at FRC. He spent five months out there. He gets us on the line and he’s saying, “Well, Bishop X, why isn’t this happening?” And they asked me a question. They said, “What party are you?” And I answered honestly, “I’m a Democrat.” He said, “So! Well, we thought this was just a Republican thing.” And I went on to tell him and remind him – very respectfully because of his position – that we are called to principle. We are called to promote the kingdom of God. We’re to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. And as I began to share that with the Bishop he said, “Yes, yes, you’re right.” And I said, “I want to promise you something. I am not, in our engagement with your leaders, and in California, I am not going to try to get John McCain elected, or tear down at this particular point, Barack Obama. I am so concerned that, in this issue, my highest priority is to bring a coalition in blacks and whites. And if we don’t stop this, what’s going to happen to your grandkids?” You can imagine the discussion. And he said, “Alright.” This was less than six weeks before the election. He said, “Alright, I’ll go tell all my bishops. We’ll gather our men.” And this past year, in reflection, one of the major newsmakers said, “Well, the reason that Prop 8 passed is…” and they put the picture of this bishop up on the screen. And I was just thankful. It almost makes me weep to think about it. That young man and…
Ankerberg: Took a stand.
Jackson: …took a stand. And some of us who consider ourselves little people, if we take a stand, we’ll influence the big shots and we’ll see the will of God done.
Ankerberg: Well, we’re going to take a break. When we come back, there’s a couple things I want our Christians to know. And number one is, the Heritage Foundation published an article, “The price of Proposition 8.” And the folks in California that got behind it, and supported it, there were 25,000 acts of violence reported during that time period. I want you to tell me a few of those stories. I also want to come back to the statement that hit all the presses, all the newspapers about what you said about US District Court, the judge that overturned Proposition 8 in California, what this did to black voters, okay. We’re going to do all that when we come right back. Stick with us.
Ankerberg: Alright, we’re back. We’re talking with Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr., from Washington, DC. We’re talking about, is same-sex marriage a civil right. And, Harry, we all remember when Judge Vaughn [Walker] out there in California reversed the Proposition 8, the bill that the Californians had voted on, over seven million Californians voted on it, you appeared on CNN and made some statements that hit the press, and I’d like you to tell me what you said at that time. What did you think about the judge’s decision?
Jackson: Well, I thought it was absolutely infuriating. Now, two thirds of the California voters, including 70 percent of African Americans, had their right to vote stripped from them. You know, the quintessential civil right that everyone went for, Martin Luther King and others, was the right to vote. My own dad was threatened at gunpoint. All kinds of things happened. We paid a price, shed blood for the right to vote. And then an openly gay judge, who seemed to be obviously biased in his decision, takes that civil right. It’s not fair and it’s not something that goes down easy. And, in fact, to imply that it’s racist, that we get a say in this major institution, really infuriates me. Because, really, we’re not talking about bigotry. This is a matter of biology. And men were not meant to be married to men; women not meant to be married to women. And so, where we are then, is that marriage really does require a husband and a wife. And if we lose sight of that and have a momentary decision that is based on appeasing someone that’s intimidating, infuriating, we’ll destroy the fabric of our families. We’re in a major, major time in history.
Ankerberg: What do you think about this shift that the society’s trying to make: that it’s not about the procreation of children and taking care of children and raising children, so that they have a mother and father, it’s really about the sexual desires of two adults – forget the kids?
Jackson: Yeah, unfortunately that really doesn’t hold much water. And Judge Walker’s decision won’t stand the test of time. Ultimately we’ve seen every place where same-sex marriages were legalized nationally, that the unwed, out-of-wedlock births goes up dramatically, the date or time-frame of marriage goes back significantly, and there is that lack of fathers and mothers in the families. What that means, if you look at black America and all the dysfunction, the poverty, the problems, the crime, all the violence, if that’s how you want all of America to look, then let this go forwards.
Ankerberg: What do you want the Supreme Court to do?
Jackson: Well, I want them to give us the right to vote on this thing, and to say the decision stands. I think that’s only fair.
Ankerberg: You’re going to get hammered, right in Washington, DC, on another matter close to this as well. Tell me about that.
Jackson: Well, I smile because, it’s not funny, but I smile because we’ve been fighting same-sex marriage law that was passed early in 2010, and signed in a church building. That particular law had no involvement of the people. Thirteen out of control councilmen and a council chairman decided we don’t want to hear from the people; you don’t get a chance to vote on it, or to have any input into it. And then they kind of said, “No, no, no.” And we’re about to take that to the Supreme Court of the land, probably sometime in early to mid 2011.
Ankerberg: And you’re saying to the Supreme Court, what?
Jackson: We’re saying the people have a constitutional right to vote. In the city charter of Washington, DC, there’s a right to a referendum, striking down an existing law, an initiative, making law from among the people, and a recall vote of anybody sitting in those chairs that we think is not doing the job. And when a city council can say, “We changed the law and you don’t have the right to speak on it,” it basically doesn’t give a balancing function to the public. One more point, I’d like to make, John, is that when the Constitution says, “We, the people,” for Christians that doesn’t mean there’s some imaginary line: we stay over here, they go over there; and anytime we put our head under or nose under the tent, we’re going to get rapped on the nose. That’s not how this should work from a spiritual point of view and from a Constitutional point of view.
Ankerberg: Yeah, it shouldn’t be, “I, the judge,” it is “We, the people.”
Jackson: It really should be. Think back to the days of the real Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. He seemed to have the Constitution in one hand and the Bible in another. And when people wouldn’t hear biblical truth, he used the absolute authority, in his mind, of the Constitution.
Ankerberg: Harry, every time I’ve seen you on TV and you’ve got a proponent of same-sex marriage opposed to you, they always bring this up to try to reassure the audience, “Listen, if you pass same-sex marriage, it’s going to not affect traditional marriage, it’s not going to affect what you say in church, it’s not going to affect your religious liberties outside of church, it’s not going to affect your personal freedom of speech outside of church.” You’re saying it’ll affect all of those areas and already is, before it’s even passed. Talk about that.
Jackson: Well, John, the reason that it will is that they are going to control the subject matter in the schools. Think about it this way. In the years ahead, if same-sex marriage is the law of the land, your kids will be taught that there once was a movement that tried to stop this, but because the people were bigots, it has now been allowed. They will be taught that there are many different kinds of relationships. They’ll be taught that “Heather has Two Mommies.” Those kinds of books are okay, and in Massachusetts when a dad says, “I object,” you know what they did? They arrested him, took him out of the building, and he gets no call on can he skip the class or not. A couple of things are happening in California that we need to look at. First, if you are a child in a California school, you can determine what sex or sexual identity you want to have, without the permission of your parents. Go figure. Then you have other teachers who say, “We’re going to have gay allies in our kindergarten class. Isn’t that wonderful, kids. How many want to be a gay ally?” And on things like Coming Out Day, they give these opportunities to the kids and tell them they need to be champions for the gay lifestyle. Now, I know it sounds like I’m making this up to your listeners, but if they’ll begin to Google in, on their computers, some of the references I’m making, even Helena, Montana, you begin to say education is under fire. Because if you redefine marriage you redefine the family; redefine the family you redefine what parenting consists of; who can have kids, how kids are to handled. And then it must impact education. That’s where, three generations from now, I want my kids to know truth.
Ankerberg: Alright. Give a word of hope here. We’re going to go into these issues even deeper, and especially in terms or race and civil rights here, alright, because we keep coming back to that. We’re going to really define it in our next program. But for the folks that are listening, there are a lot of Christians that think this tidal wave is just going over their head, there’s nothing they can do about it. Harry, what’s the word of hope that you have?
Jackson: Well, John, first I want to say I believe we’re on the verge of a Great Awaking, a real harvest of souls. We’ll come back to that much later. But also this is not inevitable, meaning gay marriage. They keep telling us, “Give up, give up, give up.” And it reminds me, John, when I was growing up in the ghetto area of Cincinnati, Ohio, of a local bully who used to come up to me. Every time he’d see me, he’d stand in front of me, he’d push me, put his hand out and want my lunch money. One day I stopped and punched him in the chest. On that day, suddenly, all the taunting stopped. All we need is voters to rise up. And we’re not talking about any physical retaliation. If we’ll vote our consciences, I believe we can make a difference. And we’ll stop being bullied by a minority who wants to enforce its will on us.
Ankerberg: Folks, this is going to be great stuff. Next week we’re going to talk about Judge Vaughn Walker’s statements about the Civil Rights Movement that are in his decision to turn down Proposition 8. We’re also going to talk about what the mayor of San Francisco said when he referred to Rosa Parks in the Civil Rights Movement and compared it to the fight that’s going on with same-sex marriage advocates right now. And I want Harry to unscramble this for all of us. You won’t want to miss it. I believe this information is absolutely crucial for you to hear, so please join us next week.
Ankerberg: Welcome to our program. Folks, you’re going to love this program today. We’re talking about the important topic, is same-sex marriage a civil right? And I’ve got one of the greatest guests you’re going to hear in a long time. It’s Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr. He earned his Masters of Business Administration from Harvard Business School; had all the abilities and opportunities to make big dollars in this world. God called him to ministry and he is now the pastor of Hope Christian Church in Washington, DC. They have over 3,000 members consisting of 22 different nationalities. And, Harry, I’m so glad that you’re here.
I want to pick up this topic today with something that the mayor of San Francisco said about legalizing same-sex marriage. As you remember in 2004 Mayor Gavin Newsom began handing out marriage licenses, giving out marriage licenses illegally to same-sex couples. And one of the homosexuals who traveled to San Francisco in search of a marriage license explained his rationale by saying, “I’m tired of sitting at the back of the bus.” And, of course, this was an allusion to the famous story of Rosa Parks. Parks was an African American woman who, one day in 1955, boarded a racially-segregated city bus in Montgomery, Alabama. I want you to tell me that story. And then I want to come back to, is it a fair comparison to compare what you and Rosa Parks and others went through in the Civil Rights Movement to what’s happening in this proposal for legalizing same-sex marriage? Tell me the story.
Jackson: John, thank you for having us today. This question is just infuriating to me. I’ve been to Montgomery, Alabama, to the Rosa Parks Museum, the whole nine yards. What happened, essentially, the end… it was late November, actually, of 1955, Rosa Parks, who actually had been trained from a Christian perspective – most people don’t really understand that – to carry out a non-violence campaign. It had been done before in other places. But that day she said, “I’m tired, I’m not going to the back of the bus.” And then there was a great need, after all the hubbub that happened in the city, for the Montgomery Improvement Association to elect a leader. December 5, 1955, Martin Luther King, Jr., became the leader of the Montgomery Improvement Association. They boycotted the bus systems. And it was a really, really, intense time. King’s life was threatened at least 30 times a day for 30 days. And it was culminated in his house being firebombed. But at the end of that time, King said, “We’re going to stand on Christian principles. We’re not going to retaliate with violence.” It led to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which included banning discrimination in terms of employment, housing and public accommodations.
And so the difference between that and this gay agenda really is that these people really had a grievance that was tangible; it was very, very real. And I think in some ways there has been a “con” – I’ll say it that way – perpetrated on the American people, in that there is supposed to be a right to marry somewhere in our Constitution. And so what really is their goal is to feel like they are equal with everyone else. And I think that there are other issues that they are struggling with that make them – I’m talking about gay activists, not all gay people, but the activists – want to have this station of life that “I can be married.” And they don’t care whether it affects the rest of the culture.
Ankerberg: Yeah. They usually pose it this way, Harry: How can you claim that denying same-sex marriage is not discriminating against those in the gay community? And in order to, I think, unscramble that, I think we have to go back to what was discrimination at that time, and when the law was passed, what was it based on? What was the difference between race as it was banned in civil rights legislation versus what the gays are talking about? One of the things was that the characteristic had to be in-born, alright. Talk about that.
Jackson: Well, first of all, let me back up real quick. Walter Fauntroy, who was the ambassador, if you will, of King to Capitol Hill, has worked with us in Washington, DC, as we fought for marriage. He actually signed on the legal documents that we presented, went to court cases with us. He says that real civil rights are based on five things. We’ve already mentioned them somewhat: education, housing, access to great employment, health care in terms of the sustaining of life, and a fair opportunity in court. It’s really no more than that. It’s individual liberties, so that you are treated as a person relative to everyone else. And I believe that that immutability concept, about making a group a protected class, is very serious. In my church I’ve got people who used to be gay, who now, I’m thinking about one person has two lovely daughters and is living for Christ. And that immutability, “can’t change it,” aspect of things is one of the major reasons why there should not be this protection at all.
Ankerberg: Yeah. Listen, at this point I think we have to say we feel sympathy and also love for those that all of a sudden have these inclinations for same-sex attraction.
Ankerberg: They honestly don’t know how they got there. They just feel different. And then they get involved in the sexual side of this and the attraction to same sex and then they think, well, this is the way I am so therefore I can’t change this. Let me give you an illustration of why that’s not true. I think we all remember when Anne Heche went together with Ellen DeGeneres.
Jackson: Yes, we do.
Ankerberg: Okay. And the thing is that they swore together in front of the public they were going to get married and that they were going to live “till death do us part.” And it was touted as therelationship. And they were together for three years, but then something happened. Anne Heche went off and married a heterosexual cameraman. So you say, now, wait a minute, somebody changed. In that instance, it was Anne.
Ankerberg: Alright. Now that’s the thing we’re seeing in our churches as well, is that when a person who feels different and doesn’t know what to do comes and they start looking at what God says is the model that He has made for humanity in terms of human marriage, and realizes that we are all part of the fall – the fall, sin that we have committed as a human race – we have all been plunged and it’s affected our emotions, it’s affected our will, it’s affected our bodies. There’s no reason to think that, in the area of sex, that we wouldn’t be affected either. Heterosexuals are affected; those who have same-sex inclinations are affected. And when you start to have a relationship with God and you realize Jesus is God the Son and you invite Him into your life to be your Savior and Lord, then you say, “I don’t feel this way, Jesus, but you know what, I’m going to take your word for it. So, I’m missing something.”
And a lot of things to talk about why, but the family relationship is probably primary. They’re missing a relationship, from either the mother or father, something got messed up. They might not even know this. But the fact is, when it’s explained to them, those needs need to be fulfilled. And they can be fulfilled. And with the power and help of the Lord in your life they can. And thousands of people have come into our churches that have had those needs and have started to struggle with them and face those. Just like heterosexuals might be inclined to be adulterous or into fornication or people that are alcoholics might be inclined to drink or folks that are inclined to cigarettes. We’re complex. But we’re all called to follow the Lord.
And it’s interesting, in Scripture God calls the sinful behavior of homosexuality, the “it” that is the sin, okay. He loves the person, but He says that behavior is what I don’t like. And the fact is, so when a person resists that temptation, the Lord loves that person and works with that person and can start to change and transform them. Anne Heche was an example. I don’t believe she’s a Christian, her mom is a Christian and praying for her. But the fact is that this thing that homosexuality cannot be said to immutable; like you, Harry, cannot change being Black; it just is not going to happen; where it can happen on the other side of the tracks. And that’s part of the difference. Give me another one.
Jackson: Well, I think also, the word “innocuous” comes up, which says that there’s no damage to anyone else. And we are finding out that as soon as you legalize same-sex marriage, it really does affect the entire public school systems, adoption agencies and many other laws of the land. So it’s not “it’s not going to harm anyone else.”
Ankerberg: Yeah. I think one of the things that you said on CNN really struck home to me, Harry, and that was that you said, “Look, if we legalize same-sex marriage, what you’re really saying to the entire society is that either you don’t need a man for kids, you don’t need a father, or they don’t need a mother. One of them is not necessary because you’ll have either two men or two women.” And the fact is that then we get into the thing of, what happens to the children? Is that the most beneficial for them? People say, “Well, can’t gay people raise kids into a healthy environment?” Yeah, but it’s not the most optimal. And that’s what the Social Science studies show.
Ankerberg: What are the things, especially in the Black community, Harry, where a guy is absolutely necessary, the father’s got to be there?
Jackson: Well, we are,… I like to say this phrase – [it’s] a little strong – marriage in our nation is on life support. And if you take the Black community, it really is even more so. And so without a dad in the homes, you’ve got kids that get involved in gangs, you’ve got lower income levels, you’ve got kids that don’t perform well in school, and on and on and on. The problem of an absentee father or non-existent father is huge. And I believe if the mother is not there, it’s the same kind of thing. So they’re experimenting with kind of manipulating the courts, manipulating the legislatures and saying it’ll be alright; it’ll sort itself out; don’t listen to the bigots. When actually the voice of reason needs to be heard now. And it is not a bigotry issue or hatred issue, as you’ve taken so much time to explain.
Ankerberg: Okay, so the characteristics, in terms of race, were: it had to be in-born,
Ankerberg: Involuntary – you can’t choose it; immutable – you can’t change it.
Ankerberg: And what else?
Jackson: We also talked about it appearing in the Constitution, that race did. And this is really the very heart of the Prop 8 discussion and many of the things that are trying to force national legalization of same-sex marriage. I do not see it in the Constitution, because one of the requirements, John, as you may know, of joining the Union way back in the days as we were forming, was that you had to do your own wedding/marriage certificates and believe in a monogamous, one man/one woman kind of arrangement. They were trying to block out polygamy back then, specifically. But there has never been this universal right for everybody to get married under whatever terms. In Canada they’re now talking about polyamory, which means two people of one gender with another person. Where will it end?
Ankerberg: Group marriage, yeah.
Jackson: Yes. Group marriage. That’s actually being talked about right now. And we’ve got ADF, Alliance Defense Fund, lawyers actually working on cases right at this moment in Canada about that thing. So we need to take a stand.
Ankerberg: Alright, Harry, in the few seconds we’ve got left, summarize it one more time. We banned discrimination based on race in this county for the specific reasons that “race” is what?
Jackson: Well, number one, that it’s a characteristic that’s in-born. Secondly, that race is involuntary – you can’t choose it. Third, that race is immutable – in other words, you can’t change it. Fourth, very important, it’s innocuous – meaning in and of itself it harms no one. Five, race appears in the Constitution. And number six – we need to really understand this difference here – and that is to engage in homosexual behavior is none of the first five statements that we made. So it’s altogether different from what we experienced as we were looking at the civil rights of Blacks.
Ankerberg: Terrific. Alright, we’re going to take a break. When we come back we’re going to talk about “hate crimes” that could arise, are already arising, and stuff that’s happening even when it’s not even the law yet, alright. So, folks, you’ve got to hear this, so please stick with us.
Ankerberg: Alright, we’re back. We’re talking with Bishop Harry Jackson from Washington, DC. And, Harry, we just got done talking about the fact that the civil rights legislation banning race in terms of the things that we do in our country was based on certain things; we’ve covered those. But now what’s happening is the proponents of same-sex marriage are saying, “Look there won’t be any further repercussions to those of you that are preaching, to those of you that are teaching in the schools, if you’re a counselor, a lawyer, if you’re a big businessman, if you’re taking care of an adoption agency – you don’t have to worry about it, because nothing is going to change.” That’s not true. And things have happened to you. Let me start it off this way. In California, I believe that the pundits said that 90% of African Americans actually voted for President Obama.
Ankerberg: And yet, what infuriated those that are proposing same-sex marriage in California is that,… tell the folks here, what was the number of African American folks that voted to uphold marriage?
Jackson: Well, I’m proud of it: 70% of Blacks voted to uphold marriage. Ninety [percent] for Obama, and out of that same group, 70% voted to uphold marriage when their own party was pretty much pushing advocacy for the other side.
Ankerberg: Yeah. In fact, we would not have won Proposition 8 unless it had been for the African Americans that were in California.
Jackson: Absolutely. So we’re excited about it. But there was a backlash. The backlash was this, John. People were called the “n-word” right out in the public, on their way to meetings back and forth. Some of the gays who were lashing out didn’t realize that the Blacks that they were calling those terrible names were actually gay themselves. This had a backlash in the Los Angeles Times.A lady named Jasmyne Cannick began to write about it and talk about the unfairness of a predominantly white gay movement pushing something that all gays don’t even want – marriage. And that’s one encounter. Secondly, the intimidation that happens all over the country. In our city, our team and others who we work with had to ask the police to come in for special protection for me. I’ve been on “The O’Reilly Factor” because…
Ankerberg: Tell what happened when you were on Bill O’Reilly.
Jackson: Well, O’Reilly was an interesting case. He actually offered great support of me…
Ankerberg: Yeah. In fact, he actually said on the air that if you got more threats and people were trying to go after you, that you needed to let him know and he would do something about it.
Jackson: Well, and that was very encouraging, because this is what happened. Every other week for a period of about a month they had been putting my DC address in the newspapers. I own some properties in Maryland as well. They put all these things out, and they kept showing pictures of me, as if to intimidate. And it led to me having to get heavier security in the condominium in which I was living. People stuck notes under my door saying, “You picked the wrong place. We’re against you.” And folks were threatening with emails, calling up our church yelling and then slamming down the phone; folks saying “I’ll meet you anywhere, anytime. I’ll take you out.” That was relatively mild compared to other things that were said.
And so, one of the most chilling things, John, was to feel the intolerance of those who feel like they want tolerance in a public hearing, where I was sitting talking to one of our team. And this gentleman comes in and begins to say, “You’re that preacher, aren’t you? Yeah, you guys usually do this … you’re on radio and TV … da-da-da-da-da…” And then he began to say, “God is not for unrighteousness. You’re not right. He’s going to get you.” And that guy began to taunt verbally, walked up very close to me and basically said – he didn’t basically say, I’ll quote him – “Death to the bigots.” And he was close enough that he could have struck me. And fortunately some policemen were close by, and we have a security group that we work with. Nothing actually happened. But it’s very, very intense, the number of threats – hundreds that have come to me personally. And everyone who signed on with us in the early days – every single minister. We took out a full-page ad in the local newspaper to tell the city council that we did not want this to go through – on the front page. Those guys all got calls, 20-30 calls to them, kind of reinforcing the treatment that they gave to us. So it’s been really quite an experience in tangling with the other side.
Ankerberg: What happened in Philadelphia?
Jackson: Well, in Philadelphia, many of your listeners may recall, there was a group. We call them the Philadelphia Eleven. An aged African American grandmother, about 73 years old, was out with a bunch of folks at a gay rally. They weren’t participating, across the street, in the public place, and they simply were very nicely handing out some tracts. Now, I will admit that’s bold, but that is our right. And they were not unkind; they were not in any way disrespectful. Well, the cops got called. The grandmother gets taken in with everyone else. They brought her up, John, on charges that would have put her in jail for between 45 and 47 years. And they made her stay the night, until some legal help came.
And so there is this intimidation factor that deals with how our elected officials want to interpret the laws such as hate crimes on the books. It will be used, as in that case, against us, to tell us “Hush. Quiet down.” You cannot even reach out in Christian love and witness to this group.
Ankerberg: What if you, as a mom and dad, are teaching your kids about the value of having a traditional marriage, and then you send them to school? Are you going to be able to keep your kids in the same vein of thought that you taught them at home?
Jackson: No. They will be taught something totally different than what we believe. And Judge Walker, in California, said that these were harmful beliefs. And he passed that judgment on the beliefs. So under a hate-crime kind of legislation, what could happen if your kid gets into a fight at school? How many kids get into fights? A lot. And they could say, well, it’s because he thought that other kid was gay. They come back to your house, find teachings from Bishop Jackson or someone else, and they could actually begin kind of a witch hunt into your belief system and/or give you a heavier penalty for a childhood altercation because your family taught you that gay lifestyle was not right.
Ankerberg: Alright. This is terrific information, Harry. And what we’re going to do is next week we’re going to talk about this thing that anybody that rationally disagrees with proponents of same-sex marriage, you’re first of all called a racist, then you’re called a bigot. And how do you respond to these folks? I think everybody that is listening, you need to realize and take some tips from somebody that has gone through the fire on this one and is going through the fire on this one. And I want him to explain that, so I hope you’ll join us next week.
Ankerberg: Welcome to our program. We’re talking about, is same-sex marriage a civil right? And my guest is Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr. He is the pastor of the thriving 3,000-member church, Hope Christian Church, in Washington, DC. Harry graduated from Harvard Business School with his Masters in Business Administration. And this man has brains. He has the ability to make big dollars, and God called him to the ministry. And Harry, I’m glad that God did, and I’m very glad that you had the courage to follow God’s leading. He is involved, folks, in so many social issues, and taking so many stands, and you have probably seen him on all the network shows and will continue to see him in the days ahead. I want you to get to know him personally on this show, and let him be able to say his piece. A lot of times they cut him off; they won’t let him have a chance to answer the questions; and so I’m going to ask him the tough ones.
And, folks, these are tough questions. These are the ones that we’re going to be facing as we talk about the proposals to change traditional marriage and institute same-sex marriage into the Constitution. And one of the things that folks say, Harry, is that same-sex marriage is an individual right that’s guaranteed by the Constitution, which the majority has no right to overrule when the judiciary is there protecting our rights.
And the way they say this is that, look, you remember when interracial marriage was against the law. And they’ll come especially at you on this one, Harry, and they’ll say, look, if you took polls of the American people, 70-80% were against interracial marriage, or were against the fact of allowing interracial marriage. And the thing is that what they needed back there, and what we got, was we got a judiciary that stepped in and rectified a wrong. And we agree it was a wrong. And the fact is, but now they’re comparing that situation to the situation in terms of same-sex. And they’re saying, “Look, it doesn’t matter that 60-70-80% of the population would be for traditional marriage and against legalizing same-sex marriage, but look at; these folks that are gays and lesbians, they love each other so why shouldn’t they be able to choose who they marry? And that’s their civil right, and that is the reason we need a judiciary to step in and overturn this one and make it a Constitutional right.” How do you address that issue?
Jackson: Well, John, that’s a very powerful question. By the way, thank you for having us on the show again. I address it this way: it’s apples and oranges, in that we believe, especially as Christians, that we have truth on our side; not only the truth of the Bible, but the truth of the Constitution. And historically in America, there’s really never been an individual right to marry. Way back in the early days where the colonies were getting together, there were laws and there were statements that people signed off on that said we believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. We as a nation did not want polygamy or other varieties of marital unions or arrangements, because we felt that that would hinder the progress of this great Union of ours. And therefore I reject that. But also, I want to go back just for a moment, if your audience could just bear with me…
Jackson: …and trace a little history. There’s a book that’s been written called “The Root and Branch,” by a guy named Ron James. And he goes back and he traces the legal roots of the Civil Rights Movement. But more importantly, he looks at the interplay, John, between the public, what they were feeling, how what happened in court impacted folks. And it’s clear to me that the radical gay movement has followed a little bit of the Civil Rights Movement history. But they haven’t caught the right spirit; because at the very root of what they did in the Civil Rights Movement originally, there was a desire to win the hearts of the people by bringing a persuasive case.
Walter Fauntroy, who worked with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said it this way: “We did all of the public demonstrations believing that the Holy Spirit would bring conviction upon the heart of America that what was happening to us was unrighteous; and that because of that they’d do the right thing.” So this book, Root and Branch, starts in the late 1930s. And there are cases that are tried, of rape and other things, that had African Americans involved, and they simply won the right to stand as free men in the court. And they acquit themselves very well.
There’s a man named Charles Hamilton Houston who was the mentor of a man that everyone knows, Thurgood Marshall. And Houston took over the Law School at Howard and raised it up. And his first major protégé was Thurgood Marshall. Suffice it to say, in a nutshell, what they did was won case after strategic case, and they then appealed to the public. And in their appeals, it was not the case that a small minority was absolutely forcing their will on the public. I’m sure they wished they could have accelerated it. But about the time that we finally got all the Civil Rights laws passed in the 1960s, there had been a transformation of the awareness of the nation so that many people were saying, yeah, it’s the right thing to do, even though they made a resistance.
Ankerberg: Alright, Harry, the gay and lesbian community comes back and say, we’re exactly like the civil rights for African Americans because we can’t change who we are and therefore we require freedom to marry who we want. And we’ve got to get that from the judiciary; we’re not going to get it anyplace else.
Jackson: John, I know as a fact as a Black man, I cannot change who I am. But gays, that’s a little bit different story. I have people in my church who have gone from being gay to being happily married. And they can change. I think what we’re looking at is an attempt by this group simply to see the ability to get married as the highest level of equality that they’re stretching for. And it concerns me, because I don’t think they’ll even be satisfied with that. In Washington, DC, right now, there is a[n] agenda that the gay and lesbians have put together in terms of outreach – the GLAAD organization. They want to legalize prostitution in DC. And they’re going to start the process this year.
Now wait a minute before you get upset, and the audience gets all nervous; they base it on the same issue with their gay lifestyle. They believe young gay teenagers who “come out” and tell who they are will be pushed out of their houses. Many of them will be forced to survive by selling their bodies. Because they are going to sell their bodies and they are in danger of having HIV/AIDS, then there should be some kind of unionization of the sex trades, regulation, and thereby protect all of us? That kind of twisted logic is how you begin to move from one issue to another issue to another issue. I don’t think you could find in the Constitution the right to be a sex worker, either.
So we’re at this impasse based on what ultimate authority and truth is being looked at from a legal perspective. Is the guy who is legislating from the bench looking at our Constitution as an objective guideline, or is he looking at international laws, changing things? Some of our major issues that the church is facing today – religious liberty, and involvement in politics – really, these things bleed together. And we’re going to have to stand up and say, “No, no, no, no; Judeo-Christian law is where we began as a nation and our heart is to compassionately engage every segment of society, not to persecute anyone, but to hold fast what is best for the nation.
Ankerberg: Alright. Harry, let’s turn the coin on this question that legalizing same-sex marriage, proponents of same-sex marriage are saying it won’t hurt your traditional marriages; it won’t hurt your families; won’t hurt your freedom of speech; it won’t hurt your freedom of religion. We believe that it will actually transform everything that we believe about marriage in this country. And I’d like to quote one of the leading voices in the homosexual community that actually bragged about this inOut Magazine, Michelangelo Signorile, who has written quite a few books. But in Out Magazine, this is what he said, which is the goal, he says, of legalizing same-sex marriage. He said, “The trick is gay leaders and pundits must stop watering the issues down – that this is simply about equality for gay couples – and offer same-sex marriage for what it is, an opportunity to reconstruct a traditionally homophobic institution by bringing it into our more equitable queer value system. It’s a chance to fully transform the definition of ‘family’ in American culture. Our gay leaders must acknowledge that gay marriage is just as radical and transformative as the religious right contends it to be.”
Now, writing back to this, Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe put it this way in response. He said, “The adoption of same-sex marriage,” he believes, “would topple a long-standing system of shared values. They would change assumptions and expectations by which society has long operated. That men and women are interchangeable and that the central reason for marriage is to provide children with mothers and fathers in a safe and loving environment.” He went on to say, “My foreboding is that a generation after same-sex marriage is legalized, families will be even less stable than they are today, the divorce rate will be even higher, children will be even less safe. To express such a dire warning is to be labeled an alarmist, a reactionary, a bigot, and worse.” All of those have been said about you on TV. I’ve heard it, Harry. “But it is not bigotry to learn from history or to point out that some institutions have stood the test of time because they are the only ones that can stand the test of time.”
So, my question is, is there good reason to believe that, if we legalize same-sex marriage in this country, do you think, Harry, that it’s going to transform everything that we think about marriage?
Jackson: I think it will transform everything we think about marriage. Jacoby was right. Gays can live any way they want to, but they don’t have the right to change this entire institution. And that’s what we’re debating about – their enforcing their will as really some kind of a badge of honor that they’ve changed the culture and they are accepted. It’s wrong and we must stand against it.
Ankerberg: Alright, Harry, when we come back we’re going to talk about another issue. Is same-sex marriage not a religious issue; because we have a separation of church and state in this country; that people like you and me, we should stay out of this debate? And what we think really doesn’t matter, because this is really about the rights of gays to do what they want to do. Alright, folks, we’re going to answer that question when we come right back. Stick with us.
Ankerberg: Alright, we’re back. We’re talking with Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr., and we’re talking about, is the same-sex marriage proposal really something about civil rights? And one of the questions, Harry, that comes up is that same-sex marriage is not a religious issue anyway, because the separation of church and state forbids religious institutions from telling the government how they must govern and rule. And so what they’re saying is, all of you preachers, all of you Christians, you might have that belief and that’s fine and dandy for you, but you can’t jam that down the throats of the rest of us. You can’t impose it on the rest of us. What do you say to that?
Jackson: Well, John, I say that the Constitution begins with “We, the people.” And for Christians who believe the Bible, we are in a time where we need to pray and we need to act. And if we don’t act, we have no one to blame for the changes in our world but ourselves. I believe we are set as “watchmen on the wall” in America, and that the Lord wants to use not just the big-name preachers with television shows, like yourself, but He also wants to use everyday people who stand up and speak out. Now, the other side wants nothing more than for us to be intimidated into silence, and to have a sense of what I will call illegitimacy – that our ideas don’t matter, they’re passé; and that there is an idea of inevitability. That’s what they want; that’s what we have to resist.
Ankerberg: I want to ask a question of this fellow that graduated with a Business Administration Masters from Harvard University, okay. And here’s my question. Harry, can we legislate morality?
Jackson: I believe we have no choice but to legislate morality. When you think about it, every law is an expression of someone’s morality. You’re saying stealing is wrong on these terms, whatever the situation is – wrong or right – based on law. So we’ve got a right to influence the law-making process. And that’s where many Christians get confused, concerned. They listen to what I’m going to call just the “misinformation” of the kingdom of darkness and they don’t let their light shine by speaking out, engaging, and then putting people into place who will vote the right way.
Ankerberg: Yeah. I mean, just think of it. If we do legalize same-sex marriage, we will have implemented somebody’s moral ideas in that law.
Ankerberg: Okay. So one way or the other, somebody’s moral laws, ideas, are going to be put into that law. That is just the function of law. And for people to think otherwise is just naïve; it’s going to happen. Now the question is, what is the most beneficial for our society? And here we’ve got what God says; and every time God says, “This is true,” I believe the social sciences will back that up. What do the social sciences show about the benefits of the traditional marriage for the family?
Jackson: Well, the social sciences are very clear. The longitudinal studies that are out – meaning over a long period of time – clearly show that boys and girls do best when they are raised by a mom and a dad. It’s clear. If you’ll use the Black community, not as a whipping post, but as an example of what marital breakdown does to a culture, then I would say – and I want to ask my Black friends to forgive me for saying this – that it’s a model of what happens when you leave the application of the Word. My community preaches the Bible, and is more religious in its adherence to attendance and various other religious codes, than any other segment of our culture. But, since we don’t often, in this area, live out, act out and obey what the Scripture absolutely says in this realm of marriage and family life, we are reaping a devastating whirlwind to our disobedience. And that is the problem in America.
Ankerberg: Harry, you’re involved in so many social issues and in helping people in Washington, DC, and other places. I mean, it’s hard to make a list of all the things that you are doing or president of or on this committee of; I mean it’s just amazing. But you’re concerned about children and helping children – in the Black community, the White community. And the fact is, when we get into this area of adoption, when proponents of same-sex marriage say this is not going to hurt or impinge upon your freedom of speech or your freedom of worship or your actions at the job, the thing is, in adoption we’re already seeing problems. You might use the illustration of what’s happening with the Catholic Charities in Boston.
Jackson: And it’s happened with the Catholic Charities in Washington, DC.
Ankerberg: Explain what happened.
Jackson: Well, what happened is that as the laws changed, John, which were allowing same-sex marriage, the Roman Catholic Church said, “Look, we don’t want to have to pay benefits to same-sex couples. And since we know the city is in transition, if we do any adoptions we will be forced to put children into the wrong parents’ hands.” God knows that the Roman Catholic Church understands that pedophilia is a huge problem, from which they have repented themselves. And they cannot, in good conscience, promote the spread of such a thing. And I think that that’s going to have a major effect.
Let me slip in a real quick personal story. My wife comes from three generations of broken homes. She was sexually abused at the age of seven. It’s almost bringing tears to my eyes. And every man that has been in their family has come and gone, divorced if they were married, and left. And so when we got involved together – my wife and I decided to get married, we decided to be soldiers in this area of marriage and promotion of marriage and family. And she’s done a marvelous job with our kids.
These so-called “unintended consequences, these so-called “ancillary side issues,” for us – Michele and I – they are the central issue. And if we don’t deal with those things, I don’t want to have to answer to God for having been around and not spoken up. These are things that make me weep when I think about the fact that you could place a child in a home, intentionally, in which that child will be abused or in some way mishandled.
Ankerberg: Harry, give us some hope here; because anybody that seems to oppose this in a rational, logical way, bringing in biblical information and even the social sciences – I have heard you do this rationally on CNN and Fox and NBC and ABC and some of these other stations – and, I mean, it’s like a minute and 30 seconds after the thing gets going, the word “racist bigot” comes up.
Ankerberg: Okay, how do you advise all of the Christians that are listening right now, here and across the world, that say, “Man, if I get into this, Harry, I’m going to be called racist, a bigot. I’m not any of those, but what do you say? What do you do? How do you react?”
Jackson: I preach to pastors all the time and I tell them that there’s five steps to being a prophetic voice in your culture. And I look at the Old Testament prophets. I won’t go into great detail. They are:
You’ve got to live right. If we’re going to talk about marriage to them, we have to have a value of marriage in here, in my house, in our church, on the grass-roots level.
Second, we have to do right. We’re going to have to minister in our community to help marriages. My wife leads something called “Bliss.” It’s a secularized program through which she has gotten people saved, rededicate their life to Christ. She simply offers marriage enrichment.
Third, we’ve got to move right, which means to me, we adjust our tone, our PR statements, so that people see the winsome side of our message.
Fourth, we’ve got to pray right. With what we’ve been through – death threats, other things – your audience is going to be resisted and opposed – we have got to let the forgiveness of Christ overarch and overshadow everything we do.
And then finally, we must speak right. And what I mean by that is, speak to this issue while we’re on it. Don’t get off onto a whole lot of other things. Stay focused.
And if we’ll do those five steps, I’ve found that God can give you a voice, if you will, in an entire city. I believe if you do those things, and when they come back and try to find out how you’re being hypocritical and they see I’ve been with that same Black woman for 35 years – she’s acted like seven different personalities, but the same woman – they’ll know that there’s nothing out of order here, and it lends credibility and authority to the message we give and to the Lord we serve.
Ankerberg: Next week, Harry, I’m going to come back. Harvard grad, pastor of 3,000 members, in Washington, DC; if a person comes – you’ve got 22 different nationalities coming – if they come to you and say, “Pastor, I have desires, inclinations, attractions for people of the same sex. What do I do? I feel different. I don’t know what to do. Help me.” What do you say? I’m going to ask you that question so you can tell our audience, what do you tell them? Next week. I hope you’ll join us.
Ankerberg: Welcome to our program. Is same-sex marriage really a civil right? And we’re talking about this important question with a person that can really answer these questions, Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr. He is the pastor of Hope Christian Church in the Washington, DC, area; 3000 members, 22 different nationalities. He has written on these topics: “The Black Contract with America on Moral Values,” “Personal Faith, Public Policy,” and “The Truth in Black and White,” just some of the books. He is the founder and chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and Stand For Marriage, DC Coalition; writes a weekly column on Town Hall; has got a radio program on 400 stations. The man is Superman, I’m telling you.
Harry, what I want to talk about today is, as a pastor, when we have folks coming into our churches that feel different, they don’t know why, but they have same-sex attraction. And they don’t know who to trust. And maybe they’ve had engagements with different people, and broken it off, and they feel guiltier. Or they’re feeling just fine in that relationship right now, but they realize they’ve got a problem with the Lord. And so they finally come and they dare to say, “Pastor, what do I do? I don’t know what to do.” What do you tell them?
Jackson: Well, that’s a really important question. I’d like to answer it in light of the testimonies and the people we’ve worked with. I believe the first step in change is recognition that you have a problem, but also recognizing that that problem is sin. I don’t have a biblical answer for “I was made this way. As long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to do this.” If I recognize that this is a part of my fallen nature, and the downward pull that this world brings to our lives, and it’s no worse than being an alcoholic or being someone who is trying to chase girls and not be married to them. And I think that is really the first place. So, you’re going to recognize it. And then, second, after you recognize and call it sin, you’ve got to be able to receive God’s counsel and not – this is very important – and not bring undue shame on yourself. Ephesians 1:6 says that “we are accepted in the beloved.” And another verse that I look at is Colossians 1:10, which says that “Christ has delivered us from the powers of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.” And so if we’re already born again and this test, this call of darkness, of sin, is still working in my life, walk through those steps and then the hard part starts.
Ankerberg: Yeah. And I would say also, start by resisting the temptation.
Ankerberg: Okay. All of us are tempted every day, okay?
Ankerberg: Heterosexual men can have a wonderful wife and still be tempted, okay? And their job is to resist that temptation.
Ankerberg: And the thing is that you might not be able to stop having those temptations. The person that is in a homosexual relationship, once they stop, they might have temptations after that.
Ankerberg: And it’s not like it goes away. The fact is, you may have to face that the rest of your life. But you stop giving in to the temptations. And then you continue to immerse yourself in the Word of God, and God starts to change you. Those temptations will get less and less. But we don’t have any expectations until we get to heaven that all of these temptations are going to go away from any of us.
Jackson: Oh, that is so well said. I think that’s so important. The resistance is also part of that repentance process, where I’m attempting to change my mind, even though what I was doing – whether it was drinking – still feels good. But I’ve got to not do it because I know it’s wrong. So, I think you’re absolutely right.
Then I’d like to have them take another step, another “R,” and that would be relate to someone in the church that can disciple them. Start off by coming to the pastor. Let him direct you through counseling ministries. I’m thinking about one young man right now that we’re working with. We’ve been working with him for a couple of years. And he has come out of this cycle of having been tormented, of having these occasional problems. But what we did is he had accountability. “Are you reading your Bible? Are you actually doing all the spiritual things that you should do?” And then, secondly, we found that we have a counselor, a trained counselor that he’s worked with. We’re also working with people who have specialized ministries in this area.
John, I found out that many people who are walking in what we would call the gay lifestyle have never been called into manhood. And becoming masculine, feeling masculine, is a two-fold process: it’s not just all by nature, some of it is by nurture. Think about it this way. Jesus, when He was,… His parents lost him on the way back home, to their home. And they went and chased and looked for Him, for several days, until they recognized He was even gone. And they found Him discussing the word with the teachers of the Law. And He said, “Well, I should have been about my Father’s business.” Jesus knew that there was a time in His personal life that He needed to become a man. He knew what the customs were for manhood. And He began to walk down that path.
In our culture, especially for men, there isn’t as clear a path, or I should say, steps that will segue someone into manhood. So, what we’re finding is that we get real specific counseling for these people, we work with groups like Exodus International and others. But on top of that, we also have someone help take them through certain rights of life, even down to, and I hope this doesn’t sound bad to your listeners, but even down to saying, “You know what, the way you walk, the way you talk; this is a masculine approach, that’s not.” And the way you present yourself, you know, all of those things are so very important. And I think that discipleship, as we find it in the Bible, has got to be a holistic, accountable process, in which we transfer what we know and what we have in Christ. And, therefore, I do try to get outside help for people that actually have specifically gone through the temptation with the gay lifestyle. And I think, from there, it’s the growth pattern that every Christian would take toward Christian maturity.
Ankerberg: Harry, there’s a lot of ladies in our audience, that are listening, and some of them are faced with this thing of same-sex attraction – female to female. And when they come to the women of your church, to your wife and others, what is the counsel that you give to them?
Jackson: Well, the counsel for lesbians is very similar to the counsel for male homosexuals, with one exception, and that is, we believe that it’s a lot more easy for a woman, if she recognizes this is a problem, this temptation is here, it’s real, it’s sin, she starts that repentance process. She then begins to resist temptation as we talked about. Then, that process sometimes of renewing the mind is a little bit easier. I find that a lot of the lesbian relationships are more emotionally based, and based on bitterness, broken relationships with men. And let’s face it, many of our women have been sexually abused, sometimes even in church, and there is a discernable root of bitterness that can be dealt with. And then we have a course that we take people through called “Cleansing Streams.” It’s something that originated at Dr. Jack Hayford’s church some years ago, in which you go through Scripture and come to an awareness of how you can stand by faith and God’s vision of sexual purity for your life.
Ankerberg: How did your wife get over the abuse that she experienced?
Jackson: That’s a very interesting thing. First, let me say that she was very angry. And when she was in her late teens, her aunt, who is now deceased, came to her and said, “I know what happened. Everyone else wouldn’t believe you, so I’m going to fix it.” And she said, “I’m going to cut this guy.” And she was faced with having to tell her aunt, “No, I feel like I’ve just started to have feelings for Christ, and that’s not the way to go.” And, unfortunately, her aunt poured scalding water all down this guy’s chest – he came to the house – and permanently marred his body. And she had to deal with the twin areas of bitterness and forgiveness, of having experienced what she experienced, feeling at some level like she was involved and liked what was going on, played itself out in her early teen years, in terms of promiscuity, and later on in life, led to her actually having some abortions.
I say all of that to say, she was able to get the help she needed, though the avenue of forgiveness and walking first in that realm of saying, “You know what, what was done to me, is not going to define my life.” And so, when we got married later on, she had just moved totally into a sold out dimension of following Christ, Bible study; Bible memorization, personal counseling in the times and seasons where she was tempted. And she was able to get through that and we have a very healthy intimate life. We have two lovely children. And there doesn’t seem to be the scars, permanently, from such a heinous kind of childhood experience and upbringing.
Ankerberg: What do you say to those who are proposing same-sex marriage, who look at the heterosexual community and say, “You know what, we’re not going to destroy marriage, you folks are doing a great job all by yourselves.
Ankerberg: And there’s a bit of truth to what they’re saying,…
Ankerberg: … because the divorces are up and out-of-wedlock is up and births out–of-wedlock and abortions, I mean all kinds of things that the heterosexual community is just violating God’s law.
Jackson: Well, John, I’d say that they’re right. But that’s two different things. If you redefine marriage, you destroy marriage: redefinition is destruction. Number two, there has to be intervention. And as I look at the entire church – black, white, Hispanic – we are not doing enough to disciple people in how to stay married. There’s a group called “Marriage Savers” whose headquarters is up in the greater Washington, DC, area. Well, they recommend that you do – and we do something like this – in terms of healthy marriages, find people in your church who’ve been married for a while, who have been through problems: problem of addiction, problem of adultery, problems of many kinds. Challenge those people to get with younger couples and go through a small curriculum with them, and let them openly share where they’ve been and that God can deliver you from this problem.
The awesome thing is, if you take a young family, young couple, who feels like the worst thing that ever could have happened is that my husband cheated on me, and then they look at somebody who stayed faithful after that incident for 10 years. And I know that every church has failures. We don’t show them the failures. We try to say, “We’re going to get out of this sex-crazed culture alive and intact in our relationship with Jesus, by doing the old-fashioned thing of “each one teach one.” And Matthew 10 tells us that when the disciple is fully trained, he will be as, or he will be at the level of, his master or teacher. That principle of discipleship is critical, and it works in so many areas. And that’s what we do in terms of strengthening marriages. And we get up-close and personal.
And the last word on that, some people in this culture will run from accountability, even if they’ve been married for years. But we can’t let that, as pastors, keep us from doing the truth, and telling the truth, and encouraging our members to be workers together with us.
Ankerberg: Alright, we’re going to take a break, Harry. That’s a great word that you just gave to us there. But when we come back, in the very last segment, we want to talk about where is all of this going. Proposition 8 is in the courts now, it’s headed toward the Supreme Court. What hope do you have for the folks that are listening that want to see traditional marriage stay that way? And you know CNN and FOX and all these are simply saying it’s just a matter of time until public opinion sways over. And O’Reilly says in 14 years this will be a done deal, it will be a forgotten issue. I kept thinking to myself, you know, I don’t think Jesus is going to change His mind in 14 years. I just don’t, I don’t see that happening. But the fact is, for folks that are listening to this and feeling like the tidal wave’s going right over their head, we need a word of hope and what we should do. And in this next segment, this last segment, I want you to explain what we should do. Folks, stick with us, we’ll be right back.
Ankerberg: Alright, we’re back and we’re talking about is same-sex marriage really all about civil rights? If it’s not, what is it about? And we’ve got our guest, Bishop Harry Jackson, from Hope Christian Church in Washington, DC. And, Harry, right here, one of the reasons we’ve done this program is that when you listen to the conservative talk show folks, they have been giving Christians heartburn in how they’ve handled the same-sex marriage issue. We don’t hear a case being made for traditional marriage. It’s like everybody’s punting. It’s like the tidal wave is coming over. And what we need is a word of hope. All the folks that are listening out here, they’re saying, “Is this a done deal? Do we have any hope? What is the hope?”
Jackson: Well, John, first of all, thank you again for having us. And this segment of the program is ideally most important. Let’s talk first about the hope for an individual who’s been struggling with “Am I gay?” or “Can I live the way God wants me to live?”
Jackson: First Corinthians 6, Paul goes through this huge list of people in various stages of life. He even addresses people who are involved in a kind of gay sex trafficking and those kinds of things. And at the end of that long litany of sins, he says, “And such” – in the King James Version – “were some of you.” In other words, hey, folks, God’s called you out of those lifestyles. And I believe Paul wants to tell us He can keep us.
But He can’t keep us in lukewarm Christianity. I believe if we run after God, as individuals, follow the steps we’ve already talked about in this program and the one before, that we can, in fact, stay in the place God wants us to be. And if we stumble, we need to get up and keep running.
My daughter ran a half marathon just a few days ago, plans to run a full marathon. And her goal was just to finish. She wasn’t trying to impress anybody with how fast she ran, but that she ran. I think if we apply that to the Christian walk, we’re going to do well.
But, then let’s bump it up a little bit. We need a Great Awakening. I believe that America’s going to see a Great Awakening like the first two. In each one of them there was a harvest of souls and there was a social consciousness that was released. In the first Great Awakening Blacks, for the first time, heard the Gospel. Your listeners may not be aware that many folks in the States didn’t let Black people hear the Gospel, because they felt if they got saved, they’d have to release them from slavery, before the 1740s. But there was always a social interaction with, you come alive, and you do something. In our city, Washington, DC, I’ve told our folks, we are going to be involved because it’s an expression of our Christianity.
In the next 10 years, should Jesus tarry, we are going to create something we’re going to call “Freedom House.” The first three steps are going to be three pregnancy centers that help prevent abortions, one in the worst part of DC, and covering needy areas in our region. Second, we’re going to begin to work in this area of sex trafficking, getting people out of current-day slavery from other places, and paying to see people set free. And then, finally, to see a halfway house develop where people that have addictions can be helped.
Marriage also. My wife will begin again to do a class called “Bliss.” The Bliss class is gauged secularly; it’s advertised in secular forums. She doesn’t hold up the Bible till at the very end of the last class. She says, “I will counsel you for free if you’re willing to hear what’s in this book.” And she waves her Bible. “I won’t charge you a dime, but you’ll need to know that everything I have said in these meetings comes from this book, and everything I will say will be from this book. But going forward, it will be with much more clarity and specificity. “
We have been called to impact the culture, and I believe for those who are looking for spiritual fulfillment, if we’ll arise, God will empower us to get involved. One of the things, John, that caused me to get involved with this same-sex marriage thing, I went to the Lord in prayer, in Washington, DC. I heard the issues. I had cancer, was just coming out of it, my wife was going into it. I said, “God, you can’t be calling me to do this.” But I sat down and I wrote down, based on what I knew about this city, “If I’m going to do this, I need this.” And I wrote out a list of things. And the budget attached to starting that thing for one year, was a half a million dollars. And forgive me, as I prayed, I said, “God, if you want me to do this, I need to know, and I don’t need to know three years from now.” And I wasn’t trying to test God, I said, “I need to know.”
Ankerberg: I might not be here, God.
Jackson: Yeah. “I need to know in 36 hours. What do you want me to do? And my sign is going to be that you’re going to bring a tithe of that money, $50,000, through a source. And, Lord, I want to make it hard for You. I need more money than that to start, but I need for You to put Your signature on this. I need one individual to give me that money, one organization.” Do you know I prayed that prayer and I’m waiting for 36 hours. But the next day, I got up and got about my duties and I went to my computer, opened up my computer. And there, the first email I read… again forgive me; my voice is going. The first email I read was from someone I’d talked to about the problems in DC, had not been able to tell them all the stories, because their interest to pass the law had just come out on the Tuesday. This is early Thursday morning. But they, no doubt, had heard a little bit about the news. They said, “Harry, we believe in you, we believe that God wants to do something in that city. And I have already cut the check and I’m sending you $50,000 to begin that fight.”
And so, it wasn’t easy doing that, and raising the rest of the money, and taking time for the church, the family to do it. But, John, I believe that what God is looking for is just a few willing vessels. He’s not looking for folks who’ve got it all together, who know all the answers and can tell everybody, “Well, the public policy answers are all of this.” But, if we’ll get on fire enough, in terms of our connection with Him, to simply be in a place where we can hear and understand what He’s saying, through prayer and reading the Scriptures, I believe He’s going to commission and station some of us in powerful places, where we can make a difference, and where, ultimately, people that we touch will have their lives transformed because we’ve touched the Master.
Ankerberg: Harry, I just love hearing you talk and hearing your heart. And I can testify, too, that almost everything I’ve ever done starts with your love for Jesus Christ, and because He wants you to do it, you get involved in these things, not because you dreamed up an idea. A lot of these things aren’t fun to get into, but people need us to step up. And when God calls, one of the things I admire so much in folks is courage. You know the Lord and you have been so courageous. Your life is on the line in Washington, DC. You’ve got all kinds of duties and you’re still getting involved in other areas to help people. And so, for all of this information that you have shared with us, I want to say personally to you, thank you. And thank you to your church for allowing you to come. And thank you to Michele for another night away from home, to come and to share all this information with all of us.”
And, folks, I hope that you will pray for Harry. And when you see him on all the different network programs coming up, that you will pray for him during those times. Those are tension filled moments, those are pressurized moments and the deck is stacked against Christians when they speak up on the networks. But God has given him that duty and the brains to do it. And so, we’ve got to pray that God will help him as he does it. So, thanks, again, Harry, for coming and being with us.
Jackson: And thank you, John. What you’re doing is multiplying our impact because now we have an opportunity to touch, prayerfully, more soldiers for Christ.
Ankerberg: Amen. Folks, I hope you’ll join me again next week.
Ravi Zacharias is one the world’s top defenders of the Christian faith. He travels around the world, speaking at top universities, conferences, and events, including invitations to speak at the United Nations prayer breakfast. In this series, Ravi shares how he came to faith in Jesus Christ out of a Hindu background. In addition, he shares insights from an important Harvard lecture series entitled “Can Man Live Without God?” and discusses the top questions students have asked him from the Far East. This information has changed the lives of countless people around the world; now you can see it for yourself as Dr. Ankerberg interviews Ravi in these three information-packed episodes.