Bishop Harry Jackson: 'The Church's Finest Hours Have Always Been in Times of Persecution'

By Lauretta Brown | July 1, 2015 | 2:20 PM EDT

Bishop Harry Jackson, pastor of Hope Christian Church and presiding bishop of the International Communion of Evangelical Churches. (Photo courtesy of Hope Christian Church)

( –  Bishop Harry Jackson, pastor of Hope Christian Church and presiding bishop of the International Communion of Evangelical Churches, told the crowd of traditional marriage supporters outside the Supreme Court on Sunday evening that "the church's finest hours have always been in times of persecution" and "there shall be a moral awakening in America."

Jackson was speaking at a gathering of conservative and religious leaders, who met at the court to pray for the nation in the wake of the Supreme Court decision issued Friday declaring that same-sex marriage is a "right."

“The Supreme Court has spoken. Many in our nation have made a decision to go contrary to what we believe is the will of God, the word of God, and our moral code," Jackson said. "In fact, in a way our moral compass is broken in America.

"We can look at television shows and look at folks who are being promoted by media and simply say there is confusion in America about the direction in which we should move," he said.

"But against this dark backdrop, I am very encouraged," said Jackson. "Why am I encouraged? Because the church’s finest hours have always been in times of persecution and oppression. The entire book of Acts was written under a time of persecution and challenges.

"It followed the church, and the church was not beaten down and pushed down, but the church flourished under pressure," he said.

“So, as we pray in a moment about religious liberty, as we understand that we’re not as popular as we once were, the church, we’ve got to understand that there’s a court in heaven that is making a different ruling than what we’ve gotten in the last few days,” Jackson added. "Heaven's court is bringing down the gavel and declaring there shall be a moral awakening in America."

Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), also spoke at the vigil about the importance of continuing to affirm beliefs about traditional marriage “in and out of season.”

“You know who your friends are in a time like this when you’re still standing up for the truth. I’ve been asked repeatedly: what is the plan? What next?” he said.

“Number one we have to affirm the truth that marriage is the union of a man and a woman constantly without fear. We have to reject the decision by this court. It was not a legitimate decision,” Brown said.

“It was not based in the Constitution, as John Roberts said, and we must not be silent from proclaiming this truth,” Brown said referencing the chief justice’s
dissent in which he said the Constitution “had nothing to do with” the decision to allow same-sex marriage.

“We have to overturn the decision, and in the meantime, we have to contain it through passing bills like the First Amendment Defense Act and others,” Brown said.

“It is going to be increasingly difficult to stand up for the simple truth that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.” Brown warned. “It is going to be increasingly difficult for our churches, for individuals, for businesses, but as others have said every time in history when the church was persecuted, when it was difficult to stand for a core truth, there were a few that stood up and helped transform the world.”

Cathy Ruse, senior fellow of legal studies at the Family Research Council, reminded those gathered that many Americans still opposed this decision and will continue to fight for traditional marriage.  

“You know the other side wants us to believe that America is against us and that the world is against us, and it certainly feels that way, but that is an illusion. Fifty million of our Americans stepped into polling places and voted to protect man-woman marriage - 50 million. Never forget that versus five in the building behind me,” she said.

“The people in 31 states of this union voted to protect man-woman marriage versus three. Three on the other side voted to redefine marriage,” Ruse added. “Never forget that.

“The people are with us. I know it feels lonely, but we’ve got to remember those numbers. Now look beyond America, and what you find is that only 18 countries out of 220 on the planet and in only two countries on the planet has a court imposed a redefinition of marriage on its people: Brazil and now the United States of America. Eastern Europeans are changing their constitutions one after another after another to protect the definition of man-woman marriage, and we stand with them,” she emphasized.

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