New Report Examines Political Activities of Bishop Harry Jackson, Face of the Religious Right's Outreach to African Americans

For Immediate Release


Drew Courtney or Stacey Gates

New Report Examines Political Activities of Bishop Harry Jackson, Face of the Religious Right's Outreach to African Americans

Point Man for the Wedge Stratgy

report released today
by People For the American Way Foundation examines
the political activities of Bishop Harry Jackson, who has emerged as the
leading African American voice of the Religious Right political movement. 
The Maryland-based Jackson, who helped organize religious leaders to back anti-gay
ballot initiatives in 2008, is now waging a campaign in the District of Columbia against the
Council's move toward marriage equality.  He is hosting an
anti-marriage rally in D.C. on Tuesday, April 28.  He also continues to
fight federal hate crimes legislation. 

"Point Man for the Wedge
Strategy" follows Jackson's
five years on the national political scene since he announced that God told him
to campaign for George W. Bush's reelection in 2004.  Jackson became a national
media figure with help from Religious Right leaders eager for someone to lead
their outreach to churchgoing African Americans.

"Religious Right leaders look at
the Black Church as a recruiting ground for their
anti-gay and anti-choice culture war," said report author Peter Montgomery, a People For the American Way
Foundation Senior Fellow.  "Harry Jackson is their not-so-secret
weapon.   Bishop Jackson often tries to sound reasonable in
mainstream media appearances and we want to give people a fuller portrait,
drawn from his own words and actions."

The report, which draws on first-person
visits to Jackson appearances as well as
published reports, includes extensive links to Jackson video appearances available
online.  Among the items of interest:

  • After Jackson
    told Christians in 2004 that God had told him to campaign for George W.
    Bush's reelection, Religious Right leaders invited him into their inner
    circles and helped him launch the High Impact Leadership Coalition, a vehicle
    for his public appearances.
  • In 2008, Jackson
    appeared on television and in an ad produced by a right-wing organization
    trying to convince Black Christians not to vote for Barack Obama.
    In 2006 he campaigned for Republican candidates Ken Blackwell and Michael
    Steele. He gets political mileage out of describing himself as a
    "registered Democrat" but has said that's largely to deflect
    criticism in his home state of Maryland.
  • Jackson is
    harshly critical of traditional civil rights leaders and organizations like the
    NAACP and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, accusing them of selling
    out African American families by supporting LGBT equality.
  • Jackson, who mobilized multiracial religious community events backing
    anti-marriage equality initiatives in 2008, says he's not anti-gay, but
    he has a long track record saying the gay rights movement is inspired by Satan
    and is a sworn enemy of religious liberty and the church. In 2007 he
    organized black clergy to join a dishonest media campaign to defeat hate crimes
    legislation by saying it would "muzzle" black clergy.
  • Jackson, who denounces abortion as "black genocide," has waged a
    campaign against government funding for Planned Parenthood, telling rally
    attendees last August, "there's got to be a concerted effort that
    we take Planned Parenthood out. They've put out a hit on all children,
    but they've set up themselves to put out a hit on black and Hispanic
    babies especially. It's time that we take them out."
  • Jackson has
    become an all-purpose spokesman for right-wing causes, lending his voice to an
    Astroturf campaign by oil drilling interests in 2008 and 2009 accusing
    environmentalists of waging a "war on the poor."

People For the American Way Foundation
and its advocacy affiliate People For the American Way monitor, analyze and
reports on the Religious Right through reports and daily analysis on

The African American Ministers Leadership
Council (AAMLC), a project of People For the American Way Foundation, is a
network of thousands of churches and clergy nationwide committed to being
strong advocates for social justice.  The ministers are empowering their
communities through voter registration and civic participation programs, by building
public support and political momentum for stronger public schools, and
educating their congregations about equal justice for LGBT people.  They
are available to discuss the detrimental agendas of the Religious Right and a
variety of other issues including race, religion, politics, and the role of the
Black Church.


People For the American Way is dedicated to making the promise of America real for every American: Equality. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. The right to seek justice in a court of law. The right to cast a vote that counts. The American Way. Our vision is a vibrantly diverse democratic society in which everyone is treated equally under the law, given the freedom and opportunity to pursue their dreams, and encouraged to participate in our nation’s civic and political life. Our America respects diversity, nurtures creativity and combats hatred and bigotry.

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