Abortion & Health Bill
NO NUKES, AGAIN
Gay Marriage in DC
What Did We Get?
El Salvador Mining
Science & Art
M*A*S*H & Murder
Hell & High Water
The Earth Shook
Zaps - 05-10
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Gay Marriage Checkmate in DC
Bishop Harry Jackson has been more than a trusted ally of the religious right. In the past few months, from his church headquarters in Beltsville, Maryland, Jackson has led a coalition of mostly African American religious leaders in a battle over same-sex marriage.
Nevertheless, on December 19, 2009, Washington, DC officially legalized same-sex marriage by a City Council vote of 11-2. On March 3, same-sex couples were able to go to Room 4485 in the DC Superior Court, pay a $45 fee, and apply for a marriage license.
Case closed? Hopefully. But that didn't stop Jackson. After losing the battle over the rights of gays and lesbians to marry, Jackson took another tack, demanding that citizens of the District of Columbia get an opportunity to vote on the issue. Jackson was clearly looking for something along the lines of Proposition 8, the November 2008 California ballot initiative that revoked the rights of same-sex couples to marry there.
"Although he's failed three times to get a ballot measure past the Board of Elections and Ethics, Jackson won't quit," Metro Weekly's Richard J. Rosendall recently reported. In a TownHall.com column dated February 8, Jackson wrote that, "Despite the [DC] council and [DC Delegate to Congress] Eleanor Holmes Norton's dealing behind the scenes, the cry, 'Let the People Vote' has reached the ears of many on the Hill."
One of those on the Hill is Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), who in late January introduced legislation in the House to repeal DC's gay marriage law directly. Jackson also managed to get nine of the Senates' most conservative members to carry a similar bill. However, the Washington Post reported that Holmes Norton said she had "received assurance from House Democratic leaders" that the House "would not vote on Chaffetz's resolution."
Stand for Marriage
Jackson's group, Stand for Marriage DC, has raised a fair amount of money for his campaigns. According to a DC Agenda report, "Two religious groups linked to Bishop Harry Jackson's church…have provided more than $102,000.... Contributions from the High Impact Leadership Coalition and Christian Hope Ministries-High Impact comprise slightly more than half of the $199,530 raised as of January 31 to fight the city's same-sex marriage law, according to reports filed with the DC Office of Campaign Finance…. Nearly all of the $97,338 that reports show were contributed by other donors came from national anti-gay groups, including Focus on the Family, Family Research Council Action, the group's political arm and the National Organization for Marriage." Interestingly, there were no donations from DC residents.
In "Point Man for the Wedge Strategy," the People for the American Way Foundation pointed out that, since endorsing George W. Bush in 2004, "Jackson has become somewhat of an all-purpose activist and pundit for right-wing causes—everything from judicial nominations to immigration and oil drilling—but his top priorities mirror those of the Religious Right: he's fervently anti-abortion and dead-set against gay equality. And he has enthusiastically adopted the Right's favorite propaganda tactic: he routinely portrays liberals, especially gay-rights activists, as enemies of faith, family, and religious liberty."
Over the years, Jackson has appeared at several high-profile religious right-sponsored events—often as one of the very few African Americans in the room. In 2004, Jackson co-authored a book with Christian pollster George Barna titled High Impact African American Churches and later co-authored Personal Faith, Public Policy with the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins. In 2005, Jackson became a very public and much sought after figure, at least in Christian conservative circles. That year, he founded the High Impact Leadership Coalition, which aims to "help educate and empower church, community, and political leaders in urban communities in the United States focus on moral value issues."
As People for the American Way's Right Wing Watch pointed out, the High Impact Leadership Coalition's Los Angeles launch was co-sponsored by Rev. Louis P. Sheldon's Traditional Values Coalition, a long-time anti-gay network of Christian churches "with close ties to the [Bush] White House, RNC chair Ken Mehlman, and other senior Bush administration officials." Right Wing Watch noted that, "The number one priority of the black pastors at the conference was to endorse a heterosexual, biblical interpretation of marriage on behalf of the black community."
In the summer of 2005, Jackson was a featured speaker at Justice Sunday II: God Save the United States and This Honorable Court, an event organized by James Dobson's Focus on the Family and Perkins's Family Research Council. At the time, Ted Haggard, head of the National Association of Evangelicals, claimed that Jackson was "building a bridge between white evangelicalism and African American evangelicalism that we haven't had in 20 years." The Christian Post named Jackson one of the 50 most influential Christians.
In November 2009, the Washington Post ran a 2,200 word profile of Jackson ("Seeking to put asunder"), chronicling his multi-pronged fight against DC's same-sex marriage legislation and calling him "one of the more vociferous leaders in the anti-gay-marriage movement across the country." Jackson told the Washington Post that he "feel[s] like I'm on a mission. It's not a mission of hate. It's a mission to protect godly boundaries."
Jackson authored The Black Contract with America on Moral Values, a hodgepodge of issues that (with notable exceptions) wind up in conservative contracts:
- Family Reconstruction: protection of marriage, end abortion, black child adoption by "stable Christian families"
- Wealth Creation: transformation of minority communities to encourage indigenous business, "prison after-care," Social Security reform, job manufacturing to lower unemployment
- Education Reform: school choice that doesn't destabilize existing public schools, increase black education participation, lessen drop-out rates, encourage No Child Left Behind structure
- Prison Reform: improve "3 strikes you're out" system, avoid recidivism with legislation like the Second Chance Act
- Health Care: affordable health care for blacks, long-term health education
- African Relief: direct funds to build infrastructure and stop the genocide in Sudan, stop U.S. companies from exploiting the Khartoum people by negotiating for fossil fuels
Jackson was against the Obama administration's health-care reform from the very beginning, telling reporters in an August news conference that "there's something wrong with a system that says...the least of these have to be served." On March 22, the day after health-care reform passed in the House, Jackson wrote, "One party has imposed its will on the nation."
In what amounted to a tortured rewriting of history, Jackson stated that he was "personally outraged at the duplicity and 'hard ball' politics that have marked the Democratic Party's approach to one of this decade's most important issues." Then came denial, coupled with a defense of some of the tea partiers racial slurs aimed at Democratic legislators. "In order to win" over certain constituencies, including the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, "the race and class cards have been played simultaneously in a de facto manner.
"Many opponents to healthcare have been demonized and labeled racists because they have voiced legitimate concerns with process, philosophy, and practicality of the proposed reforms. In this debate, most Americans have been guilty of thinking about their own personal needs, instead of what's best for the nation."
Although Jackson may have lost his fight against same-sex marriage and health-care reform, he is an outspoken opponent of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, so look for him to be leading the effort to stop ENDA.
Z Magazine Archive
HUMAN RIGHTS - The U.S. Human Rights Network will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the Advancing Human Rights 2013 Conference, December 6-8, in Atlanta, GA.
Contact: 250 Georgia Avenue SE, Suite 330, Atlanta, GA 30312; email@example.com; http:// www.ushrnetwork.org/.
AFRICAN/SOCIALIST - The Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party USA will be held December 7-11, in St. Petersburg, FL.
Contact: 1245 18th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705; 727- 821-6620; info@aps puhuru.org; http://asiuhuru.org/.
SCHOOLS - The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) will host a workshop on the DSC “Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting A Human Rights Framework for Schools” at the Mid-Hudson Region NY State Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnerships, December 11 in White Plains, NY.
Contact: http://www.dignityin schools.org/.
ANARCHIST/BOOKFAIR - The Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair will be held December 14, in Eureka, CA.
Contact: humboldtgrassroots @riseup.net; http://humbold tanarchist bookfair.wordpress. com/.
CLIMATE - The World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities is hosting a follow-up event to the 2012 Rio de Janeiro symposium. The gathering will be held in Qatar on January 28-30, 2014.
Contact: http://environment.tufts. edu/.
LABOR - The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) will host Organizing for Power: A New Labor Movement for the New Working Class in Los Angeles, March 26-29. Proposals are due December 15.
Contact: LAWCHA, 226 Carr Building (East Campus), Box 90719, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0719;lawcha @duke. edu; http://lawcha.org/.
MEDIA FELLOWSHIP - The Media Mobilizing Project is seeking applicants for the first annual Movement Media Fellowship Program. The Fellow will work with MMP to produce the spring season of Media Mobilizing Project TV. MMPTV is a news and talk show that tells the stories of local communities organizing to win human rights and build a movement to end poverty.
Contact: 4233 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-821- 9632; milena@media mobilizing.org; http://www.media mobilizing.org/.
RACE - The 7th Facing Race: A National Conference will be held in Dallas, TX November 13-15, 2014. Organizers, educators, artists, funders and everyone interested in racial equity is invited to exchange best practices and learn about innovative models and successful organizing initiatives. Proposals must be submitted by January 24, 2014.
Contact: Race Forward, 32 Broadway, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10004; 212-513-7925; media @raceforward.org; http://race forward.org/.
VETERANS - They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars - The Untold Story, by Ann Jones, is about the journey of veterans from the moment of being wounded in rural Afghanistan to their return home.
Contact: Haymarket Books, PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618; 773-583-7884; http://www.haymarketbooks.org/.
LIBYA - Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution, by Francis A. Boyle, is a history and critique of American foreign policy from Reagan to Obama.
Contact: Clarity Press, Inc., Ste. 469, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GE 30305; 404-647-6501; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www. claritypress.com/.
CHILDREN - Fannie and Freddie by Becky Z. Dernbach is about two bumbling villains who gamble away the savings of the people of Homeville.
Contact: fannieandfreddiebook @gmail.com; http://fannieand freddie.org/.
PROTEST/COMIC - Fight the Power!: A Visual History of Protest Among English Speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson and Benjamin Dickson is a graphic narrative that explains how people have fought against oppression.
Contact: Seven Stories Press, 140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-226-8760; info@ sevenstories.com; http://www. sevenstories.com.
CHILDREN - Brave Girl by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is the true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
Contact: http://www.harpercollins childrens.com/Kids/.
FESTIVAL - The 2014 Queer Women of Color Film Festival will be held June 13-15 in San Francisco. The festival is currently accepting submissions until December 31.
Contact: QWOCMAP, 59 Cook Street, San Francisco, CA 94118-3310; 415-752-0868; email@example.com; http://www.qwocmap.org/.
IRAQ/REFUGEES - Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, thousands of displaced Iraqi refugees are still facing a crisis in the United States. The Lost Dream follows Nazar and Salam who had to flee Iraq in order to avoid threats by Al- Qaeda-affiliated groups and Iraqi insurgents that consider them “traitors” for supporting U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Contact: Typecast Films, 888- 591-3456; info@type castfilms. com; http://type castfilms.com/.
HUMAN RIGHTS - Lyrical Revolt! III will be held December 4 in Syracuse, NY. The event will feature hip-hop musician Anhel whose album Young, Gifted, and Brown was just released. The event is sponsored by ANSWER Syracuse, Liberation News, and SyracuseHip Hop.com. Performers and artists are encouraged to send submissions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.answercoalition.org/syracuse/.
FOLK - Musician Painless Parker has released his album Music for miscreants, malcontents and misanthropes featuring “Fuck Yeah, the Working Class.”
Contact: email@example.com; http://painlessparkermusic.com/.
COMEDY - Political comedian Lee Camp’s new album Pepper Spray the Tears Away has been released.