Bishop T.D. Jakes brought together an all-star line-up of national Christian leaders to North Texas Thursday. Their goal? To help heal recent racial strife across America.
He may not be as famous as some of the others who trekked to the Potter’s House in southern Dallas. But Bishop Harry Jackson, who leads Hope Christian Church in Washington D.C., carried the message these pastors support.
He wants Congress to pass a bipartisan bill by Democrat Cory Booker and Republican Rand Paul. The REDEEM Act would make it easier for those just out of prison get back to a normal life. Jackson said mostly these are blacks and Hispanics.
“Despair and the confusion that we found in Ferguson and we find in Staten Island is when people are in a tract where they really can’t get back to all the American dreams, it begins to do something to their spirit and their soul,” Jackson said.
He also wants parts of the already passed Second Chance Act to be used. It funds halfway houses, boot camps, and drug and alcohol programs that would shorten the time released prisoners spend in the criminal justice system. T.D. Jakes called on faith leaders to tackle the problem.
“I just said to them that I believe the recent headlines and all the turmoil and all the unrest, the anger and hostility, that some of the responsibility must rest on us,” Jakes said. “If we who are reasoned do not speak, then those who have no voice will cry out in ways that are detrimental to the welfare of the nation.”
Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., echoed Jakes’ words that the church’s involvement was now needed to help solve the racial strife of recent months. On the day that would have been her father’s 86th birthday, she recalled her father’s marches in the 1960s.
“We always have to remember that the movement was not a group of civil rights leaders," Bernice King said. "It was a group of pastors who came together and made a commitment to unite and to fight these social injustices in the south.”
James Robison, whose Life Today TV ministry broadcasts out of Fort Worth, joined this group too in demanding not only reforms to the criminal justice system, but more involvement by business leaders.
“I will not be silent until the creators of wealth understand they have a gift from God and that gift is to be passed on and to benefit the people who never had a chance,“ Robison preached to his fellow pastors.
As T.D. Jakes summed it up, and with support from all the others, including former U.N. ambassador Andrew Young, it’s time for pastors to take a national lead in solving these problems. He said this is just a first step.