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The Charlottesville Call to Action: 'We Have to Pray, Then We Have to Act'

The Charlottesville Call to Action: 'We Have to Pray, Then We Have to Act' Read Transcript

Truly love is more powerful than hatred.


REPORTER: Christian leaders are speaking out

after a weekend of brutal violence in Charlottesville,

Virginia between a group of white supremacists and people

protesting their rally.

Now the violence left three people dead.

One man is now under arrest.

Bishop Harry Jackson is here in our DC bureau.

Thank you so much for stopping in

to talk to us about this incredibly important issue.

I want to point out real quick, please comment below.

Bishop Jackson and myself will do our best

to answer all your questions or prayers.

Just moments ago, the president spoke,

and he called out the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists,

saying that racism is evil.

Well first question, bishop, your reaction.

Well, I was glad that he spoke out so specifically.

The whole issue has become more about what the president said

or didn't say--

I think it was a wrong misdirection--

than what's the root of the race problem that we're

experiencing in America today?

So I'm glad he clarified it.

And I believe that he wants to take some action in the days

ahead that will help heal the intermediate and long-term

problems of race in America.

Bishop Jackson, you're talking about healing.

Does President Trump have an opportunity

to bridge the gap on this issue?

I think so.

It's almost as though the Lord is saying to us as the church,

I need you to deal with this now.

And all the animosity around this

seems to be almost universal.

And it's not about party alone, although people

are trying to make it about Democrats versus Republicans.

And I believe God wants us to begin

to address first the disunity within the church,

and then to have the church lead the way

to deal with the longer-term issues,

such as educational gap, unemployment, criminal justice


I could list out a host of other areas

where it seems that blacks, browns, and in

some cases, Asians, don't feel like they

have equal status to the rest of the American family.

Addressing the church, what are you

hearing from evangelical leaders?

What are they saying about the violence in Charlottesville?

Well I think to be very, very frank,

many white evangelical leaders are stunned.

They feel as though they're being labeled

with the alt-right, which we know isn't biblical,

and it isn't true.

And they don't really know how to respond,

what to say to what seems to be a 400-year-old problem.

So I believe the church must come together.

And we can deal with racism inside of the heart,

individual racism.

But then there are structural barriers

to people getting a job, getting opportunities that we all

have to deal with collectively together.

And so what I'm hearing is a willingness.

I was in Houston this past week.

And next week, I'll be in Dallas, Texas

addressing folks around these issues.

And multi-racial crowds are saying,

we want to make a difference now,

and they hear it, what's going on, as a call to the church

to step into the gap.

And Bishop Jackson, you brought up the church.

What is the church's role in a situation like this?

Well, first of all, we've got to pray,

and then we've got to act in very specific ways.

In Baltimore this past weekend, a group worked with prayer.

They also gave out food and clothing to the needy.

During the middle of the riots there, the Billy Graham Rapid

Response Team came into that area

and really helped by winning souls,

giving out relief aid by people who are trained to do so,

and then community policeman.

Chief Russell down in Baltimore is actually an associate pastor

at a Baptist church.

REPORTER: Oh, really?


So he carries a Christian perspective.

They've come together.

They're working.

And you'll notice the violence specifically

in Baltimore has come to a significantly lower level,

and it doesn't look like it's going to rear up again.

But that's because people like Bishop Angel Nunez and many

of the other leaders in Baltimore

are working on an immediate, intermediate, and long-term

strategy to deal with the racial tensions of the moment,

and then the outworkings of the disadvantaged communities,

if you will, in Baltimore.

More specifically, how can people pray?


I think we need to pray according to 1 Timothy Chapter

1, where we are to pray for those who are in authority,

and that we might live a quiet and peaceful life.

I know many--

I was just on the phone before this interview--

with a leader who had many of his peers

in place in Charlottesville.

But I think the thing would have changed

if we had a month of fasting and prayer beforehand,

and we had people all over that state

really engaged on a higher level.

Thank God for the valiant interaction

of a handful of people.

But what would have happened if the whole state of Virginia

and, yes, even the United States had seen this as the big deal

that it really is?

From here, the KKK wants to go to Boston and on and on and on.

And I believe the church is failing

to act on what will be considered,

I think in the future, this generation's most severe

intercultural social problem.

You brought up the church's failing to act.

I guess many might be wondering the big question then.

What's next?


What do you do?

Well, I think we need to gather at our website,

I have seven bridges to peace.

Bishop TD Jakes, James Robinson, a lot of guys,

Jentezen Franklin, and others have worked with us

on developing programs and events.

But I think we can pray together.

We can do civic outreach together,

in terms of reaching out to the poor.

Civic engagement by minorities and Christians in general,

meaning serve on the jury.

Run for office.

Don't just sit back expecting people who are not born again

to do the right thing.

That's never a winning strategy.

Educational reform, jobs in the hood, and family intervention.

Somebody's son, 20 years old, ran over and killed a woman

this past weekend.

You got to say that's the curse part of Malachi 4,

where the hearts of the fathers need

to be turned to the hearts of their sons,

and there needs to be an impartation of love and values.

And so black violence in urban America and alt-right violence

among young people, they shouldn't even

know what this race thing is all about, right?

And I think that's a failure there.

And I think the seven bridge to peace

that I failed to talk about, I believe I alluded to it,

is educational reform.

Because the gap at the third grade of blacks and Hispanics

versus white is so wide that it means many of our Hispanics,

except for the brilliant genius-level people--

every group has a few of those.

And they don't have to be educated into excellence.

They just got it.

Same thing with the black kids.

They, if you miss out on that education,

can't read and write correctly, then

you're going to be part of this permanent underclass

or wind up in prison.

So there are many things we can do,

but there's too much for one church to do.

We need the church, collaboratively, collectively,

and unified, to work together.

Bishop Jackson, thank you so much for stopping

in and talking with us here in the DC bureau.

We appreciate your perspective, your thoughts,

and your prayers.

Thank you so much for having me.


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