Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

Jesse Jackson’s term as a the unofficial leader of the black civil rights movement ended abruptly with the release of excerpts from the Fox News’ tape of Jesse Jackson’s off-camera statements. Americans of all races have lost confidence in him. His own son, Jesse Jackson Jr, led the way in renouncing him as the reigning monarch of black political leadership.

As many folks have suspected for years, Jesse Jackson revealed to everyone that he has an opportunistic side. His motives seem to be mixed and confusing. It’s safe to say that he, like many others, jumped on the Obama bandwagon because it suited his purposes. The contradiction of Jackson’s public praise of Obama and his private views highlights the truth of the expression, “Politics makes for strange bedfellows.” It also shows that the far Left is less unified than many Democrats would hope. Progressives, as they would prefer to be called, see themselves as compassionate guardians of the “holy grail” of American freedom. Jackson, often seen by Hollywood celebrities as the second coming of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, showed himself to be filled with jealousy and pettiness that would reprehensible for any clergyman - but is especially disturbing when seen in the life of someone of his stature.

Yet in the name of watching out for the best interests of his people, Jesse Jackson elevated himself to the role of “leading, black-policy advocate.” For a black man to use such graphic metaphors was amazing to me. After all, castration was the ultimate method of torture and intimidation used before and immediately after the Civil Rights era to enforce white supremacy over blacks.

Rev. Jackson attacked Senator Obama for two ideological reasons. The behind-the-scenes conflict between these two men is based upon generational differences and a divergence in how they see the economic and social needs of blacks today. The first ideological concept revolves around the role of the socially active, black church in America. Concerning the role of the church - it seems that Obama is not liberal enough for Rev. Jackson. This assessment is especially ironic given Senator Obama’s liberal voting record. He is the most liberal senator in the nation.

Most extreme liberals believe that it’s the government’s job to take care of the poor and to pay for it by increased taxes. The senator’s recent recommendations about continuing the George Bush’s Faith Based Initiative program shows a major departure from many liberal views -many progressives will not acknowledge the fact that it will take the church, business, and individuals working together with the government to heal our major social problems - especially poverty.

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.