Bishop Harry Jackson, a famously homophobic pastor who advised Donald Trump, died Monday at age 66, Religion News Service reports.
Jackson had joined Trump's Evangelical Advisory Board during the 2016 presidential campaign and became a regular faith adviser to the Trump White House. Trump invited Jackson to the White House this year to give the Easter blessing. The minister also attended the closing speech at the Republican National Convention in August and the White House ceremony announcing Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
Jackson has a long record of homophobic stances and was an especially influential figure in the fight against marriage equality in the early 2010s.
In a 2011 interview on right-wing radio, Jackson called the fight for marriage equality in the United States “a Satanic plot to destroy our seed.” Jackson added, “We have a minority group that has decided they’re going to impose their will on the culture by force, and redefine God’s law and not care whether a whole generation of people are so confused they don’t even remember the role of a mother and a father.”
As pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Md., Jackson was a major figure in efforts to block marriage equality in nearby Washington, D.C., which adopted a marriage equality law in 2009 and began issuing licenses to same-sex couples early in 2010. Jackson went so far as to petition the Supreme Court in 2010 to hear a case in which he sought to put marriage equality in D.C. up to a popular vote. The court rejected the petition.
Another lowlight from Jackson’s career was claiming that LGBTQ+ people are trying to “recruit your kids.” In 2009, he protested the D.C. marriage equality law by saying, “Folks who cannot reproduce want to recruit your kids. What we’re facing is a radical force of people who want to change the way America looks the next 20 years, and we need to stop this thing now. … We need to steal back the rainbow — we can’t let the gays have it.”
Jackson last conducted services a week ago at Hope Christian. He had also hosted a town hall meeting there with Vice President Mike Pence November 1, according to Religion News Service. Pence tweeted condolences to Jackson’s family Tuesday, calling the minister a “Good and Great Man.”