Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr., pastor of Hope Christian Church, a 3,500-member charismatic congregation in Lanham, Maryland, has become one of the leading voices in an emerging movement of black religious conservatives. His High Impact Leadership Coalition has mobilized thousands of black evangelicals to "protect the moral compass of America." Last year, he introduced his ambitious "Black Contract with America on Moral Values," targeting such issues as same-sex marriage and abortion (which he calls black genocide). His goal is 1 million signatures by 2008.

While some traditional black leaders are critical of his conservative message, National Association of Evangelicals president Ted Haggard told Religion News Service last year, "He's building a bridge between white evangelicalism and African American evangelicalism that we haven't had in 20 years."

CT editor at large Edward Gilbreath recently spoke to Bishop Jackson.

You're a registered Democrat who pastors a predominantly black church, yet you're now a leading voice for conservative causes. What happened?

I voted for President Bush, but here in Maryland—a primarily Democratic state—in order to vote in the primaries that affect the election, you need to be a Democrat. That's where I started. Over time, however, I've found that I have very little in common with the Democratic Party in terms of national moral values issues. Still, being able to say I'm a registered Democrat disarms many of the people who want to write me off as an "Oreo" or an "Uncle Tom."

How do you convince African Americans that Republicans can care about their issues?

I tell them that one party has taken us for granted, because they feel like we've got nowhere else to go. And if the other party thinks ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

July/August
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
Also in this Issue
No Theocracy Here Subscriber Access Only
Respected religion journalist retains a clear affection for evangelicals.
RecommendedThe Vacuum Christian Indifference Creates
The Vacuum Christian Indifference Creates
The crisis we face when the church is silent on social justice.
TrendingKay Warren: 'We Were in Marital Hell'
Kay Warren: 'We Were in Marital Hell'
Through God's work in our lives, we've beaten the odds that divorce would be the outcome of our ill-advised union.
Editor's PickFinding My ‘True Self’ As a Same-Sex Attracted Woman
Finding My ‘True Self’ As a Same-Sex Attracted Woman
In my young-adult struggle with sexual identity, both legalistic condemnation and progressive license left me floundering.
Christianity Today
High-Impact Leader and Shaker
hide thisNovember November

In the Magazine

November 2006

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.