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In this special feature, which will run weekly through election day, Between The Lines will profile people from across the state who are working diligently to defeat the discriminatory and anti-gay Proposition 2. The people profiled here are gay and straight, black and white and from backgrounds of all faiths. Their common goal is to protect the civil rights of Michigan’s entire population, and to make the state a welcoming environment for all.
Rev. Karl Jackson. BTL photo: Jason Michael.
DETROIT – Rev. Karl Jackson, founder and pastor of New Covenant Assembly of Justified Believers, knows in his heart that God loves his gay children. Preaching that message has been his calling for over a decade, and now he’s calling on the black church to stand up and stop the gay community from being relegated to permanent, legal second-class citizenship by Proposal 2.
To that end, he’s created the Society for Advocating the Believers Essentials Rights. SABER seeks to educate the urban religious community on why this proposition is not only uncalled for, but also ungodly.
“Even though Friday, Sept. 4, the proposed amendment to ban same-gender marriage was approved for the Michigan ballot, something else happened that I found very interesting,” Jackson said. “A bill was passed in Florida that has also been passed in Michigan. It is the RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act) Bill.”
The bill, which was drawn to enforce a right granted to people of faith that is found in the first amendment, supports the right of free exercise of religious practice. But according to Jackson, one religious practice that will be dishonored for many if this proposal is passed is the sacrament of marriage for same-gender couples.
“Many LGBTs who love marry to honor their faith,” he said. “This is the message that SABER is promoting to assist in the defeat of Proposal 2.”
By Jackson’s own admission, the group is small and operates with no grants and few volunteers. Thus far, SABER has communicated with about 100 pastors on the issue of Proposal 2.
“Of course, some of them are just flat out not interested, and some are not really sure how they’re going to go,” said Jackson. “Some of them, while they have strong feelings about it personally, they’re not ready to bring it before their churches.”
But Jackson won’t give up. Detroit has more churches per capita than any other city in the country, and the most effective way to reach black voters in the state is undeniably through the church.
“Without the vote of the black church in Detroit, this thing is just not going to happen,” said Jackson. “So we’re doing everything we can to reach them.”