WASHINGTON -The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) long ago lost its grounding in the Christian faith, Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr. complained Monday at the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) "Justice Summit." He recently registered with the organization, he announced, and hopes it will return to its foundational faith.
"The Civil Rights Movement was never intended to be a black movement, it was burned from God's heart to be a revival of Christianity," Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr., senior pastor of Hope Christian Church and founder and president of the High Impact Leadership Coalition, proclaimed. Jackson argued that the Civil Rights Movement lost its way, but he found hope in the future of both the NAACP and the NHCLC.
Citing Job 14:7-9, Jackson declared that "there is hope for a tree if it be cut down that it will sprout again." Hearkening back to the early days of the NAACP, he mentioned that the group was founded with a majority of white and Jewish people and only a handful of blacks. Nevertheless, the group was "birthed out of the heart of racial reconciliation," with a "spirit of Elijah."
At the pinnacle of the Civil Rights Movement, around the time Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X died, Jackson said, sin entered in. The NAACP "forgot that they were Christ's organization and they became a black organization." The racial bitterness in the black community overwhelmed the spirit of reconciliation, Jackson argued. "In the anger and in the bitterness of that era, sin entered in."
At this time, Jackson claimed, the tree was cut down. "Today, some of the organizations are little more than glorified ambulance chasers, trying to stir up something instead of solving something," the pastor alleged. "They're trying to get on the evening news instead of the tablets of heaven."
Jackson also accused today's political parties of dividing righteousness and justice, with the Democrats pursuing social justice and some Republicans holding the line for life and marriage. "You cannot have justice without righteousness," the pastor proclaimed. "You have to have 'both and,' not 'either or.'"
Jackson pulled a chair on stage and stood upon it to reach the ceiling. "If you stand on righteousness, then you can reach justice," the pastor said. Only "justice based in righteousness" is honoring to God. "Righteousness has a vertical dimension, and justice has a horizontal dimension, and it forms the cross of Jesus Christ," Jackson proclaimed.
Nevertheless, the pastor declared that there is hope for the cut-down tree. Quoting Job, he said "at the onset of water it will break forth." Jackson said he sees the same spirit from the early Civil Rights Movement in the NHCLC meeting in front of him. "You are on the verge of seeing something resurrected today – revival, righteousness, and reconciliation in Christ."
When Martin Luther King Jr. said he had "been to the mountaintop," Jackson explained, the Civil Rights leader was prophesying that, like Moses, he himself would not see God's promise of reconciliation. "You are not going to enter the Promised Land," Jackson said, paraphrasing God's words to King. "But there is coming a day when you will live out the American dream, which did not begin with the Founders, it began in the very heart of God."
Jackson announced that he had just registered a life-long membership with the NAACP, and expressed hope that it would return to its original spirit of reconciliation. He predicted that God would raise up "a multicolored Joseph generation."