Saturday, September 03, 2016


Bishop Wayne T. Jackson, pastor of a predominantly African-American church in Detroit, is being criticized for his decision to meet with Donald Trump today. The appearance of his name in the news this week inspired some people to revive an old story about him:

I've been debating whether to bring this up. I don't know if it's possible for me to bring it up without seeming homophobic or culturally insensitive. That's not my intention. Okay, here goes: At 2:39 in the video below, Bishop Jackson lies on top of one of the men he's ordaining, who's facedown on the floor of the church, under a sheet and a cloth. At 4:44, he does the same with the other man.

Maybe it's because I'm a lapsed Catholic, but I'm suspicious of physical contact betwen religious authorities and those who are subordinate to them. It comes off to me as an abuse of power. (Fully conensual contact between adults? That's different. Feel free, even if you are a man of the cloth. The morality of that is between you and a God I don't believe in.)

I just don't know what's indended by the bishop, who's married and has nine kids.

A few years ago, this was news in some circles:
Bishop Wayne T. Jackson of Impact Ministries International in Detroit is upset that video of a consecration ceremony in which he is seen laying on two men has been taken out of context. Social media commenters have viciously criticized it as perverse and members of the cloth have assailed his actions as unholy.

Yet the popular Detroit pastor refuses to stop the practice....

The two men, newly tapped bishops who were being consecrated in the video, have not been identified. One church member, Henry Haddad, backed his pastor, arguing that The Bible does not specify how to consecrate a bishop and that he knows one of the men who took part in the controversial ceremony. “If he thought there was anything perverse about it, he would have gotten up and addressed it,” Haddad said.

Nicole Haddad, another church member added, “that was a service of covering. That’s what that was all about. I’ve seen it throughout my whole 28 years of being here. So it’s nothing new of me.”

... As Bishop Jackson explains it, what people saw on the video, from the sheet covering to the laying on the men, represents the death and burial of the old person and the rising into the new office of Bishop. Also, the ceremony was performed before more than a thousand people and that it was live-streamed to millions more. It was not done in hiding, the pastor added.
The Detroit religious leader says that the way in which he conducts the ceremony is similar to the ordination of Catholic priests.
No, I don't think so.

Well, there it is. Draw your own conclusions -- about him, and about me for posting this.

And now I'm going to go secular humanist and leave you with some art by Barbara Kruger:


Jeff Ryan said...

Now imagine this in a secular context:

CEO: Welcome to the team, Scheisskopf!

Scheisskopf: Thank you sir, it's indeed a great honor.

CEO: You know, we have a little initiation that we do here at Amalgamated Consolidated Limited, Inc., LLC, S.A.

Scheisskopf: Sir? What is that?

CEO: It's our way of building the team, bonding new members to the family. (Shouting) Hold all calls, Miss Brooks! (Turns to Scheisskopf) Wouldn't want to be disturbed, right? Okay son, I want you to lie face down on the floor...

(Apologies to Joseph Heller.)

Feud Turgidson said...

I have no doubt there's evolution at work here, working through various senses: certainly smell, PROBABLY taste, and others. Nothing right or wrong about it, it just 'is', and thereafter it comes down to how we're raised, what the rules of civilized living do to ameliorate against potential harm, and judgment.

Being AFAIK immune to religious belief and hypervigilant to bullshit form, men laying on each other to engage in occult channeling or encourage religiotic delusion activates my personal puke response for reasons that aren't restricted to evolution-induced phobias.

Victor said...

"The two men, newly tapped bishops..."

That's ONE way to put it.................

Religion makes strange bed-follows...

Leo Artunian said...

Lying on top of a person appears as a means of healing in stories in both the Hebrew Bible (Elijah in 1 Kings 17:17-24 and Elisha in 2 Kings 4:32-37) and the New Testament (Paul in Acts 20:9-12), but not as a means of commissioning someone to a spiritual office. In the New Testament (presumably the model for Christian communities), the latter is always done by "the laying on of hands," indicating that the person performing the ritual conveys the Holy Spirit by placing his/her hands on the head of the person being commissioned (cf. Acts of the Apostles 6:6, 13:3, 1 Timothy 4:14, 5:22, 2 Timothy 1:6), thereby authorizing and empowering them to carry out a particular ministry. So the biblical model is not where the particular ritual followed by Impact Ministries International in Detroit comes from, or at least not in any direct or discernible way.