Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

Last Thursday, I nervously entered C-SPAN’s Washington, D.C. Studios. The program format normally includes remarks from different points of view, call-in responses from its national audience, and commentary from its host. It was a great opportunity for me to speak to the nation concerning the encroachment that a new law, HR 1592 “Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007,” represents to our freedom of speech and freedom of religion. This law promises to grant protected status to “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” – essentially mandating unequal protection under the law, which will pave the way for criminalization of thoughts and religious beliefs contrary to politically correct ideology.

I was opposed to this legislation for two reasons. First, as a Christian I am aware that this kind of legislation has opened the door to the arrest, fines, or incarceration of Christians in Sweden, Australia, Canada, and the U.S. In fact, in Philadelphia in 2004 such an incident occurred during a protest rally at a gay convention. A 75-year old grandmother of three was arrested, jailed, and charged under existing state hate crimes law for attempting to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Ironically, no one was hurt, wounded, or even intimidated by her actions. If anything, law enforcement officials sent the citizens of their state a message – “Gays can protest, intimidate and harass anyone anywhere but Christians had better not speak.” HR-1592 would embolden this kind of law enforcement.

My second reason for opposing this legislation is that sexual orientation will be elevated to the same status as race or gender. Surprisingly, the African leader I was set to debate was in agreement with this landmark step. He represented the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR) founded in 1950 with over 192 national organizations. The LCCR has enjoyed the reputation of being the nation's premier civil rights coalition coordinating the legislative campaign for every major civil rights law since 1957.

Unfortunately, this powerful and formerly effective organization has been co-opted by the radical gay movement. Please read this excerpt from their website:

“LCCR, representing persons of color, women, children, labor unions, individuals with disabilities, older Americans, major religious groups, gays and lesbians, and civil liberties and human rights groups. Its mission: to promote the enactment and enforcement of effective civil rights legislation and policy.”

Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.