I frequently bemoan the fact that far too many black pastors act as water carriers for "family values" organizations that have strong white supremacist leanings such as The Family Foundation here in Virginia - or in the case of FRC's Tony Perkins, actual past involvement with white supremacy groups. At times I have attributed this trained circus dog like behavior to ignorance and a lack of knowledge of history and just whose water these black pastors are carry. But now we know there's another reason for this slavish obedience to their white masters: money. And in the case of so-called Bishop Harry Jackson, we now know that he was paid at least $20,000 by the National Organization for Marriage ("NOM"). The documentation confirming payments to Jackson was part of additional releases in the Maine lawsuit where NOM is under investigation for campaign disclosure law violations. Jackson gives new meaning to the terms whore and prostitute. One can only wonder if his dwindling followers know that Jackson has been bought lock stock and barrel by those who seek to divide the LGBT community from the black community as one of their cynical anti-gay agenda. Here are excerpts from Mother Jones:
As Maryland has become ground zero in the culture war, [Bishop Harry] Jackson is on the front lines. In February, the state legalized same-sex marriage. Now a ballot initiative to overturn that law awaits voters in November, and activists led by the National Organization for Marriage believe they can prevail by appealing to African Americans, particularly socially conservative churchgoers. Some of the biggest mega-churches in the country are in Maryland, notes Derek McCoy, an associate pastor at Jackson's church and the director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, an umbrella group bankrolled in part by NOM. "The difference is they're African American."
NOM believes that stirring up anti-gay-marriage fervor among black voters has helped it win referendums in other states by pitting two groups of loyal Democrats against each other. As internal documents released during Maine's investigation into the group's finances asserted, "The strategic goal is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks—two key Democratic constituencies. Find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage; develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots."
Jackson is exactly the kind of African American spokesperson the NOM memo envisions. "There's been a hijacking of the civil rights movement by the radical gay movement," he said on CNN after backing California's Proposition 8 in 2008. "You can't equate your sin with my skin." He has received $20,000 from NOM's education fund and has rallied support for same-sex marriage bans in Florida and Washington, DC, where he joined Councilmember Marion Barry to oppose a marriage equality bill in 2009.
Details on the funding for Jackson's personal organization, the High Impact Leadership Coalition, are also murky. The group, which shares an address with Jackson's church, spent $40,700 trying to defeat marriage equality in DC. It describes itself as a nonprofit and solicits tax-deductible donations on its website. However, it is not listed in current IRS or charity databases, and its trade name registered with the state of Maryland lapsed in 2011. HILC's name was originally registered by an organization headed by Jackson's wife that lost its tax-exempt status after failing to file federal tax forms. (Mother Jones sought comment from Jackson but received no response.)
NOM and its allies may be overestimating the power of their wedge strategy. "It's wrong and disingenuous to pit blacks against gays, which is what the media has done," says Baltimore Delegate Jill Carter, who supports same-sex marriage rights. "I'm not wedded to my religion over civil rights and the Constitution."
Reverend Delman Coates, who testified in support of marriage rights in the Maryland Legislature, explains that . . . . . "There's a difference between the 'black church tradition,' and a church of blacks," Coates says. Pastors like Jackson "are often selected by interests outside of our community, and funded and promoted in ways that represent interests that are not in keeping with the historic tradition of freedom and equality. That's the black church tradition."