Soulforce Releases Video of Bishop Harry Jackson

For Immediate Release

Contact: Paige Schilt, 
Media Director
Cell: 512-659-1771


(Friday, May 30, 2008) Today Soulforce posted a video of Bishop Harry Jackson’s closing remarks at a dinner meeting with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) families at his Beltsville, Maryland church on May 24, 2008.

"I want to thank you for the spirit in which you have said you were going to operate and in which you have operated thus far," Jackson said to the assembled families.

The conciliatory and grateful tone of the remarks offers a sharp contrast to Jackson’s recent appearance on the Christian Broadcasting Network News, where Jackson characterized the families as "irrational," "heathen," and "aggressive."

The meeting was part of a nationwide fellowship outreach called The American Family Outing, which aims to open dialogue by inviting families at six American mega-churches to share a meal and conversation with LGBT and straight-ally families.

Prior to the meeting, a press release from Jackson’s High Impact Leadership Coalition mistakenly suggested that members of The American Family Outing planned to protest outside Hope Christian Church and that Jackson had invited the family members in to "hear the truth of the Gospel."

Jackson’s remarks to the LGBT families clarify the nature of the meeting: "I want to thank you tonight for coming. Again, if you had not invited us originally, if you had not insisted on the dialogue, it never would have happened."

Jackson concluded his remarks by saying "I believe that we have learned quite a bit from this time together."

View Jackson’s complete closing remarks. View the CBN interview.

Speaking to the discrepancy between the two videos, Paige Schilt, Soulforce Media Director said, "Sometimes, when our interlocutors are in the grip of profound misinformation, they do not treat us with respect and integrity."

"It is tempting to withdraw or become defensive — and yet we persist in our witness. Why? Not because we are naive, but because we believe that, ultimately, no misinformation or slander can obscure the goodness and authenticity of our families and our quest for justice," Schilt continued.

In previous weeks, AFO families have visited Lakewood Church in Houston and The Potter’s House in Dallas. In these successful visits, American Family Outing participants and church congregants have engaged in thoughtful and inspiring dialogue and fellowship. In weeks to come, LGBT families will visit Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois and Saddleback Church in California.

Soulforce is a national civil rights and social justice organization. Our vision is freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from religious and political oppression through the practice of relentless nonviolent resistance.