Bishop Harry Jackson, leading opponent of gay marriage in the District, entered the No-Spin Zone this evening.
Jackson was featured in a five-minute segment midway through the O’Reilly Factor, as proof, according to host Bill O’Reilly, of “the staggering hypocrisy of the left and media that enables the far left to do these things.”
Some backstory: On June 5, Lou Chibbaro Jr. reported in the Washington Blade that Jackson had only recently registered to vote in the District and that he listed his residence as a one-bedroom apartment in the Whitman, a Mount Vernon Square condo building. That, of course, is germane because he is (a) a proponent of a referendum on a District law and (b) required to be a registered District voter to do so. Earlier this week, Chibbaro added to his report, reporting that virtually no one at the condo building had seen Jackson and that Jackson is maintaining his residences in Maryland.
On Wednesday, at a hearing before the Board of Elections and Ethics, Jackson took time to decry the disclosures, calling them a threat to him and his family and an attempt to intimidate him and other same-sex marriage opponents.
On O’Reilly, he continued his protestations.
“Well, Bill,” he started, “they hacked into my records, found out when I registered to vote in the District of Columbia. They printed in two newspapers my home address and the addresses of houses I own in the Maryland region, outside D.C. And there have been e-mails that have gone forth saying they want to destroy my church. Kind of amazing, isn’t it?”
“It isn’t,” O’Reilly replied. “I’m not amazed by it.” He then brought up his own recent troubles, where he’s come under fire for his years of vitriol toward Kansas abortion doctor George Tiller, leading some to suggest culpability in his brutal murder. Hypocrisy, he said: “You don’t hear a word about people like you, and they’re printing your name in the paper!”
Jackson continued: “You know, Bill, people are looking for privacy, and they say their rights need to be protected. And on the other side, unlike the civil rights movement…[which] operated with a Christian spirit, this minority is going to rise up and impose their will on the majority. And they don’t care that I’ve got young adult daughters and a wife. They don’t care what happens to my family. They just want it their way, and they’ll intimidate you or me into submission if they can.”
“How are you handling all this, as a man of God?” O’Reilly asked. “Are you forgiving them? Are you angry with them?”
Replied Jackson: “Well, I am praying for them and forgiving them. Bill, this is very much a spiritual battle in my view, and I look at Martin Luther King Jr. as the ultimate model in terms of his public resistance to oppression, and I think that this is going to deepen our faith roots if you will. But very sincerely, I cannot answer back, obviously, with the same kind craziness that they’re operating with. But I’m glad that you’ve had me on tonight so that we can expose the fact that folks are saying one thing then doing something totally hypocritical on the other side.”
Cue Bill O’Reilly, tough guy: “I know you can’t do anything, but I can. And if anybody bothers you or your family, and if you believe that anybody’s putting you in danger or doing anything against you church, I want you to call me immediately. And we will deal with those people, because we are going to defend people like you.”
Then O’Reilly gave Jackson “the last word”: “Thing that I’m so concerned about is that this kind of thing has a chilling effect on people standing up for their rights. Once people see what’s happened to me, they say, ‘Shoot, I’m not going to get involved. I’m not going to say my piece.'”
“That’s why they do it to me! That’s why they do it to you!” O’Reilly interjected. “And it’s not the American way. It’s un-American.”
LL will make but one comment. OK, two. (1) You’re fitting your wife and young adult daughters in a one-bedroom condo? (2) Obtaining the address and date of registration for a District voter by no means requires any “hacking.” Any person is free to visit the offices of the Board of Elections and Ethics (441 4th St. NW, 2nd floor, south wing), walk into the waiting area, log in to a public computer terminal, and look up that information for any voter in town. In fact, call 202-727-2525, ask real nice, and they might even look it up for you. And land records? Those are public, too.
Open government: Very, very American.