LOS ANGELES, Calif. — The Black Contract with America on Moral Values, a new six-issue platform focusing on biblical and moral values across America, was unveiled Feb. 1 in Los Angeles.
The contract is the project of the newly established High-Impact Leadership Coalition, formed by prominent Maryland pastor Bishop Harry Jackson. According to officials, the grassroots nonprofit organization’s mission is to help educate and empower church, community and political leaders in urban communities across America regarding moral value issues important to all, especially among African Americans.
Designed to highlight national attention to biblical marriage and other local, national and international issues, the news conference also included a four-hour summit to discuss possible solutions. Similar summits are planned this year for Miami, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Houston and Washington, D.C.
Supporting Jackson is the Rev. Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition, a well-established organization that has lobbied extensively on behalf of family issues.
The concept of biblical marriage—a term used by the group to reflect the triangular model of marriage that includes the Lord, one man and one woman—is included in the first point, which is reconciliation of the family.
“You can’t use the phrase one-man, one-woman because it’s just you and your wife trying it on your own,” Mark Paul, a spokesman for High-Impact, said in a telephone interview. “That doesn’t work. That’s why the divorce rate is so high.”
The remaining points covered by the Black Contract with America will include wealth creation, economic development and jobs; education reform; health care reform; prison reform and African relief.
“I have been praying, preaching and talking about these issues locally for many years,” Jackson, senior pastor of the nearly 3,000 member Hope Christian Church just outside Washington, D.C., said in a news release. “Our nation is in a moral crisis and the church must lead the way to healing our nation. It is time for both righteousness and justice to reign in America and strong biblical principles must lead the way.”
Paul said that local leaders assisting with the project include Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr., senior pastor of the 25,000-member West Angeles Church of God in Christ and the Rev. Fred Price, pastor of the Crenshaw Christian Center.
All six points, Paul said, reflect issues important to its target audience.
“They are not only biblically important, but they are also important for everyone, specially for the urban community, specially for the black community,” Paul said.
Although white evangelicals are credited with doing a good job promoting the issues surrounding biblical marriage and the societal threats of same-sex marriage, Paul said many in the white community have failed to adequately address the other issues.
“For many in the black community these messages are not the first time they’re hearing this,” he said. “But the message is ‘come home’ and that is ‘come home to the Bible.’”
The Bible, he said, is essential to the African American church and culture, even though many have strayed from the core themes of the Scriptures.
“You can’t have Black History Month without the black church,” Paul said. “It’s central, you can’t separate them.”
Elevating the church
Jackson’s vision, the spokesman said, is to return the church to its once-prominent place.
“He’s been very active over the past several years and has been asked not only by Christian leaders, but national leaders all over the country are also asking him (to take a lead).”
Paul said they realize the campaign will come at a cost, with criticism from liberals all but certain.
“From a biblical perspective anyone who is a leader, who is a Christian, has to fully understand this: You will be attacked and you have to be fully prepared for it.”
As believers, though, he said it’s imperative that the light overcomes the darkness and that can only be accomplished by working on the outside.
Developing a plan
Paul said Jackson addressed the issue during a recent marriage rally event in Maryland when he told the crowd the issue of sacred marriage is not a liberal, conservative, Republican or Democrat issue.
“This is an issue of the Lord,” Jackson reportedly told the crowd.
In the coming months, Paul said the coalition will be spending a lot of time listening to people in the targeted cities, educating each other on the issues and soliciting possible solutions. Ultimately they will develop a plan to address the six issues.
“The six points are basically a backbone,” Paul said. “When you say moral values it can mean many things. We say these six are important. Do you agree?”
For more information, log on to the High Impact Leadership Coalition Web site online at himpactus.com or call (240) 416-7708.
Published by Keener Communications Group, February 2005