On Friday, May 31, 2013, members of the Black Caucus (all Democrats) in Illinois, asked the Democratic leadership not to bring the same-sex marriage bill to the floor for a vote. The session ended Friday afternoon with the bill being defeated because some Black pastors got involved and let their voices be heard. One of those pastors is my friend, Pastor Danny Holliday, pastor of Liberty Baptist church in Alton, IL. See his photo at right.
It’s a miracle that same-sex marriage didn’t pass in Illinois. Most people thought it would sail through easily. But the miracle had legs and it had a voice. The miracle was a partnership between mostly white policy organizations including the Illinois Policy Institute, Eagle Form and other experts in legislation and Black pastors called Coalition to Protect Children and Marriage. Black leaders like Former Democrat Senator Rev. James Meeks, Bishop Lance Davis, head of the Black ministerial alliance of Chicago, Pastor Keith Gordon, Frank Bass of the BKB Group and other pastors from every ethnicity came together to stop same-sex marriage in Illinois. The formerly missing ingredient for success was Black pastors and leaders. The various policy organizations had the knowhow, but the Black pastors first showed up, then met with individuals of the Black Caucus, and together a difference.
Of course, the headlines and the pictures during the process were not flattering, but that didn’t stop them.
Pastor Holliday spent a total of 15 days in Springfield from the time of the Illinois Family Institute Rally Day. Holliday would spend all day in Springfield talking with Representatives. On one of Holliday’s first visits to the Capitol after he spoke before the Executive meeting he brought a copy of David Barton’s The Founders’ Bible. He showed it to a Representative because he felt it would benefit them and help them as they represented the people of Illinois! The Bible has a wealth of information on U.S. History, the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and other founding documents included along with the Bible. The representative immediately wanted the Bible and said, “I’ve got to have this – right now,” and wrote Pastor Holliday a check for his copy! Pastor Holliday said, “I believe The Founders’ Bible helped the legislator withstand the pounding and pressure by proponents of the same sex marriage bill.”
One of the key people that educated the pastors was Pastor Linda Jernigan, a former lesbian for 20 years. The Illinois Family Institute brought her in to speak to pastors, legislators and homosexuals. She’s been set free from the lesbian lifestyle, has been living for the Lord for 13 years and ministers to homosexuals. See her photo at left below.
Some people have never heard that homosexuals can be free. There are former LGBTs (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender). But no former Blacks or Latinos. As Black Pastor Dwight McKissic, Pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas said, “Their sin is not the same as my skin!”
This is Linda Jernigan’s short YouTube testimony http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rug3UMYYHzc
When asked by the Chicago Sun Times if same-sex marriage is a civil rights issue, Representative Monique Davis answered, “Have they ever hung from trees? Were they ever slaves for 500 years? Then I don’t think so….I don’t think [their issues are] equal…African-American people have the same right to be conservative on issues that everybody else has.”
Now is the time to affirm the Black legislators in Illinois who stood up to their own Democrat Party leadership and chose their faith rather than their party.
Please join me in thanking them for their courage and for their leadership. Write them, call them and pray for them. The attack against them is not over.
Representative Kenneth Dunkin (D)
|1543 North Wells Street|
|Chicago, IL 60610|
|(312) 266-0699 FAX|
Leader of Illinois House Black Caucus. The Black Caucus as a group stood up and told House Leadership they did not want to vote on bill. The black caucus as a whole should be thanked!
Representative Mary E. Flowers (D)
|2525 W. 79th Street|
|Chicago, IL 60652|
|(773) 471-1036 FAX|
Played a major role in the defeat of this bill.
Representative Eddie Lee Jackson, Sr. (D)
|4700 State Street|
|East St. Louis, IL 62205|
|(618) 875-9870 FAX|
Only Democrat to vote no on same sex marriage in the Executive Committee and would not change position in spite of tremendous pressure to change his position to yes!
Representative Jehan A. Gordon-Booth (D)
|300 E. War Memorial Drive|
|Peoria, IL 61614|
|(309) 681-8572 FAX|
Bullied to tears in a meeting Friday, the last day of session, she refused to change her position, stating, “I am a Christian first.”
Representative Monique D. Davis (D)
|1234 West 95th Street|
|Chicago, IL 60643|
|(773) 445-5755 FAX|
One of the first Democrats to state she was a no vote on same sex marriage.
My Perspective by Alice Patterson
Conventional wisdom said working against same-sex marriage in Illinois was a waste of time. Nobody who knew anything thought defeating same-sex marriage in Illinois had a chance! I guess nobody but a few Christian leaders in Illinois. As of Friday, May 31, 2013, two of the most liberal states in the nation—Illinois and California —have both rejected same-sex marriage.
California did it in 2008 with the passage of Prop 8. A lot of people worked to pass Prop 8 including Pastor Jim Garlow, but If it had not been for Black voters in California, Prop 8 would not have passed. On the same ballot where Barack Obama received 98% of the Black vote, 77% of Black voters cast their vote for marriage between one man and one woman. Seventy-seven percent!!
Sometimes, or I should say, most of the time, we see each other through our own perceptions and biases. For instance, if you’re white and Republican, your reasoning could go something like this:
The Democrat Party’s platform affirms same-sex marriage. Black voters are the most loyal voting block of the Democrat Party. Black Democrats must support same-sex marriage. WRONG. It’s just not true. It wasn’t true in California. It wasn’t true in Illinois. And it’s not true where you live. Some Black Democrats do support same-sex marriage, but it’s a fact that most Black Americans, especially Black pastors, oppose same-sex marriage at a higher percentage than white voters do.
In 2005 when Texas passed a constitutional amendment to our state constitution stating that marriage was between one man and one woman, the highest percentage in support of it was in the small rural counties in the Panhandle and East Texas. In the cities, what surprised some people was that the precincts that were heavily Black or Hispanic got the most votes for traditional marriage. The results showed that the higher the income and educational level, the lower the support for traditional marriage.
We have an opportunity.
See Photo left, L-R Rev. Danny Holliday, Alton, IL, Alice Patterson, Bishop Michael Bates, St. Louis, MO.
Illinois showed us the way to a winning coalition. It’s a coalition of pastors and leaders across the political spectrum, but it’s led by Black pastors! There are some things that Blacks and Hispanics can say, that white people can’t. Especially Black pastors.
I suggest we put off party labels and look at each other honestly, as individuals. Let’s turn over a new page and see people of faith as just that, no matter the skin tone. Let’s see everyone who loves the Lord as sharing the same values because most of us do.
Now I know it’s not true of all. There are White and Black church-goers who support same-sex marriage. But I do believe this. When leaders like Rev. Linda Jernigan, Bishop Lance Davis or Frank Bass or Pastor Danny Holliday stand up and let their voices be heard, others will find the courage to do the same.
There is a huge treasure of Biblical values voters waiting to be tapped in the Black, Hispanic, Native American and other ethnic communities, primarily in churches. They love the Lord and they love this nation. They will lead the charge for Biblical values in this nation if we just connect them with opportunities and information.
A few years ago, at different times, the Lord dropped some thoughts in my heart. I’ve checked them with leaders in these various ethnic groups to see if they agree, and they do. Here they are:
□ Blacks are the key to justice in America. Because they understand injustice and have the courage of their convictions.
□ Hispanics are the key to revival in America. Because they are passionate for the Lord and for their families.
□ Native Americans are key to overcoming the spirit of death in America. Because they understand territory and how to pray for God to heal the land. The shedding of innocent blood defiles the land, not just individual lives.
So I asked the Lord, “What are white people supposed to do, just get out of the way?”
“No,” He said. “You are to build a foundation for others to stand upon.” Wow! I got it and I get it.
Although some white pastors and mostly white organizations were engaged in Illinois, if it had not been for Black pastors showing up and letting their voice be heard, same-sex marriage would be the law of the land in Illinois. If it had not been Black Christian leaders giving Black Christian legislators support and courage to speak out, the outcome would have been very different.
I realize I overuse the term just show up, but that’s what most of us are unwilling to do. When young Davids aim their stone at Goliath’s head, the Lord can add velocity and precision. But if they don’t show up, the battle is lost before it begins.
The Illinois Policy Institute built a platform for Rev. Linda Jernigan and other pastors. The partnership between Black, White and Hispanic leaders working together was the winning combination.
Guess what? It always is. Jesus’ last prayer in John 17:21 was that “we would be one.” When we are one, things begin to happen that could never happen in our division. When Abraham declared, “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” he was doing more than quoting the Bible. He was showing us the way to victory in our day.
Thank you, Rev. Linda Jernigan, Bishop Lance Davis, Pastor Keith Gordon, Frank Bass and Representatives Kenneth Dunkin, Mary Flowers, Eddie Lee Jackson Sr, Jehan Gordon-Booth and Monique Davis and all who stood against the intimidation and threats in Illinois. You showed us the way to victory. The nation is grateful to you. Now we’ve got to do our part where we live.
Justice at the Gate
PO Box 681148
San Antonio, TX 78268