Sex and Religious Leadership : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

Is Sex the Devil's Tool to Topple Religious Leaders?

Today the headlines tell of the extramarital affair of religious leader and civil rights activist the Reverend Jesse Jackson. Here is a summary of the story:

Jackson admits to extramarital affair, out of wedlock daughter 

Jesse Jackson, civil rights activist and advisor to presidents, today admitted he had an extramarital affair that resulted in the birth of a daughter, who is now 20 months old. In his announcement of the affair, Jackson said "I fully accept responsibility and I am truly sorry for my actions." Jackson, a Baptist minister, first came to National attention as an aide to the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.  He since has established a strong political presence of his own as well as having been involved as a mediator in international hostage events.  Jackson said he will step out of the spotlight for a bit to reconcile with his family. Jackson said he has provided "emotional and financial support" for his new daughter. " "As her mother does, I love this child very much," Jackson said   Complete Jackson statement [GO]

Rev. Jackson neither is the first, and surely will not be the last, major religious leadership figure to fall to the temptation of the flesh. It even is a Biblical reality.

First I ask all who read this, and who know the power of prayer, to pray for Rev. Jackson and his family. He already has gone both to his family and his God for forgiveness and now may we pray that God will bring about the reconciliation needed in this family.

Secondly, this does raise several points to ponder:

This is not a discussion for accusation or gender bashing, rather a chance to address a very real problem and try to arrive at solutions to keep it from further striking and murking the waters of religious leadership.

Rev. John

-- Anonymous, January 18, 2001


One possible avenue toward a solution for religious leaders is to cultivate accountability relationships with another. Pastors are not exempt from the need for Christian fellowship and the support that comes with it. But how do these kind of relationships between clergy who are leaders and mentors in their own right, who may see each other as competitors and attempt to hide their problems out of the concern that these admissions would be used as ammunition against them? There are several assumptions behind this solution. One is that the Christian leader is serious about living a life of Christian discipleship. Another is that there must be a willingness to trust. My third assumption springs from the second one: to find someone who is trustworthy and willing to enter into that kind of relationship. I am sure there are more considerations than these, so I will pause here.

-- Anonymous, January 18, 2001

Rev. John; I salute you for combining journalistic integrity with theological sensitivity about the "Jackson Affair". The caricature about male black preachers [e.g. chicken eating, money begging, skirt-chasing hustlers] will be ressurrected with the disclosure about Jackson's dalliance. Like all caricatures only a kernel of truth is ever represented. I will "go out on a limb" and state that the majority of black male preachers do not fit the caricuature mold. The pecadilloes of Jackson, Swaggart, are not to be dismissed simply as "private matters". As Ambassadors of the Gospel they are in a position to articulate the ethical contract and shape and mold the moral fabric which citizens [parishoners] participate. Rev. Jackson is a public figure just like the former National Baptist USA President Henry Lyons. Private indiscretions by both of these gentlemen have profound public consequences. Much like David's attraction to and subsequent rape of Bathsheba, the lesson seen here is the dangers of power. Maybe I'm slightly naive but the frequency of unregulated libidoes appear to be a "male thing". I happen to know many women in the ministry yet I can't hardly recall a single incident where a female initiated either a consensual or non- consensual affair. I don't doubt that it hasn't happened, it just seems like the propensity is so much higher among my male cohorts. Consider if you will the current Bishop of the 18th Epsicopal District. She is not only God-fearing, a proven leader, smart, servant of humanity but incredibly ATTRACTIVE [slightly more attractive than my younger wife:-)]. I have no doubt that prurient thoughts have crossed the minds of her male colleagues but the likliehood of her acquiescing to these carnal desires I would like to believe are practically remote. She understands her historical place and the trust of her constituents. I'm not so certain that all men in similar roles can be equally balanced. Henry Kissinger's flippant comment about power being man's last aphrodisiac is still true. QED

-- Anonymous, January 18, 2001

Part of the problem is that powerful men are attractive to the predatory female and all females for that matter. However, as pastors and shepherds, we must resist the urge to run with the sheep. You can't lead the sheep from that position. Solution: A good place to start is to be Born Again. Then maintaining a continuing Relationship with Christ will do wonders to prevent wrong relationships with others. Joseph had to run from Photiphor's wife who was so agressive. Satan of course is on the job at all times. He will attack us at our weakest position, For some it is sex, others money, and still others, power. You can be sure that he will attack at your weakest spot. Praying always. Blessings Pastor Paris

-- Anonymous, January 18, 2001

Thank you Rev. Fisher for responding to Rev. Jackson's unfortunate deception by the enemy. You have certainly taught me more how we as christians should deal with these situations. I would like to hear more about spiritual warfare as it relates to the ongoing conflict between the flesh and the Spirit.

Sincerely, JazzMan

-- Anonymous, January 19, 2001

Certainly, this is tragic...and it appears the only reason that Mr. Jackson came forward is that the tabloids were about to break the story.

As representative of God and Jesus Christ, all Christians, but leaders in particular (pastors, evangelists, youth workers, etc.) must especially be on guard to anything and everything that puts the church in bad light. Leaders MUST live by a higher standard and be pro-active to those things that would lead to temptation. It is not satisfactory to dismiss such situations as "private matters" for they do reflect negatively on the body of Christ.

I have heard it said - but can't verify it as truth - that throughout his ministry, Dr. Billy Graham has made it a point to never be alone with a woman other than his wife. Similarly, as I work with young people, we often have to provide transportation home or other places - to the best of my ability, I try to avoid being alone with female members of the group, even if it means backtracking to take male members home last. This is not so much that I fear temptation, but just a matter of caution, prudence, and my own protection.

Jackson is correct to take some time off from his public ministry for reconciliation with his family and with God. This was the step Jimmy Swaggert refused to take when his denomination asked him to leave his pulpit for a year of counseling and reconciliation...and most of us recall that it wasn't much longer before he was involved in another similar incident with a different woman.

It's easy to criticize, but let us also remember to pray for Jesse and his family.

-- Anonymous, January 19, 2001

Wonderful counsel from everyone. Have you ever noticed how we rarely decide to commit a serious sin out of the blue? Satan generally takes us there one little compromise at a time. The Bathsheba incident started because David wasn't out with the troops where he should have been. It makes one wonder what had gone on in his life to lead him to THAT point. Had he slept in a few too many mornings? Gotten too used to palace life? Going off to war yet again for some reason didn't appeal to him that year. I don't know, but the key is to stay fresh in God every day. Paul said he died daily to the flesh. I like to say we should stay at the edge of our experience with God, always stretching toward Him. He has more for each of us, but too often we become satisfied with where we are in God. Ask yourself if you're satisfied today, or do you remain hungry?

As far as this being a male problem, I've read that men, being site driven (I'm generalizing here) are more prone to casual sex. Women, being more relationship driven are more prone to illicit relationships that can lead to sex. Jimmy Swaggart was into pornography, and his relationships were with prostitutes. It appears Rev. Jackson cultivated a relationship here. Does this relate at all? I'm open to your input.

Also consider the issues of addiction and levels of satanic bondage. Rev Swaggart admitted to a pornography addiction. That's why his church's insistence on accountability was so crucial. They wanted to ensure he was delivered. Unfortunately he refused. Does anyone think Rev Jackson became victim to a type of addiction or satanic bondage? Again, these things come on slowly, but not always. Keep in mind addiction involves chemicals in the body (which we know pornography produces), and bondages involve demons. Both require deliverance ministries.

-- Anonymous, January 20, 2001

Jazzman, concerning Spiritual Warfare (SW). The Christian life is described as a number of things - marriage, a race, and a war. I find it useful to view all aspects of the Christian life as SW.

Satan gets a foothold in whatever area of sin we give him place. With some it'll be drugs, others profanity, others adultery. These will then daisy chain into other areas, again as we give him place. Pride can lead to a domineering personality, which can lead to harsh words, which can lead to ungodly anger...

When we give place to the devil we authorize various demonic powers of sin to operate in that area of our lives. This leads to a weight on our will. That's why the 2nd time is easier, 3rd easier yet. As we continue to give place to those spirits they entrench a habit in us. After a while we don't even think about it. Example: How many cuss as part of their normal speech? They don't even think about it anymore.

Continuance along this path can then degenerate into a demon inspired obsession. Obsession is when this sin begins to dominate large portions of a life. Next is oppression. This is marked by self- destructiveness. Some guys are so into pornography it leads to divorce, and still they can't stop. Lastly is demon possession. The victim is a virtual puppet of the demons.

What I've just described is the path of sin each of us is subject to according to our choices to disobey God. Some sins may never get past certain stages if we choose to give no further place to them. Some we can deliver ourselves from by discipline alone (but I'd ask for God's help anyway). The oppression/possession stages will require supernatural deliverance though, and that's where the Bretheren come in. Also keep in mind chemical addition and occultic activity are satan's reinforcers. Deliverance becomes that much more difficult, and you can skip multiple stages of bondage where these are involved. Also he is a liar from the beginning. Deception is part and parcel of his work ("one time won't hurt").

So my brothers, be alert! Our enemy prowls like a roaring lion. The soldier is alert at all times, and keeps his head well below the trench. From there he can relax and have joy. He just remembers he lives in a dangerous place.

-- Anonymous, January 20, 2001

This may sound simplistic, but the issue about controlling the lower nature. Rev. Jesse, bless his heart, could not control the sex demon. This is not a gender issue, because a woman participated with him, knowing that he was married. They both were driven by "sense" gratification.

I pray for Rev. Jackson and his family. There is a life lesson for him to learn...Also, I PRAY for that sister (the mother of his child), who willingly participated in a adulterous affair. I pray that she finds a loving and healthy relationship.

I think that best to handle temptation is through super-natural prevention. G-d. There is no nature cure for this temptation. It is too strong.

In Love and Light,

-- Anonymous, January 21, 2001

Following up on Bro. Price's comments on seems that Jesse's taking time off to heal and reconcile was very short- lived. Apparantly, Rainbow/PUSH has stood steadfastly behind him and urged him to come back - so much for "time for healing"! But of course, his organization is not a religious organization. Which leads me to a question - as a minister, to whom (humanwise, that is) is Jackson accountable? With what body is his license/ordination? Has there been any comments from them?

It just doesn't seem right to come back a few days later after admitting to moral failure and continue in a "business as usual" manner.

-- Anonymous, January 23, 2001

"My soul be on thy guard, Ten thousand foes arise And hosts of sin are pressing hard To draw thee from the skies"

-- Anonymous, January 28, 2001

"Rev" Jesse Jackson claims to be a Baptist. In my youth as a Baptist, one could only be ordained when a congregation called and accepted you as pastor. That surely has changed today. Jesse is Rainbow/PUSH and a very fast healer. Pastor Paris

-- Anonymous, January 30, 2001

Redemption is a road that is travelled often. In this day and age many of our leaders as well as followers have issues that remind us and them that they are human sinners saved by grace. Yes Rev. Jackson has done this and has asked for the forgivness of Almighty God, than it should be passed. In regard to the snares that are ever before us we must be on guard at all times and mindful that we need God to help us to overcome the snares. I am reminded of all that happened to Jimmy Swaggart, who before his fall preached hellfire and brimestone, but after his entire ministry changed to the forgiving grace of God and the redemption from sin. James Baker's message is one of redemption and restoration.

-- Anonymous, January 31, 2001

Redemption does not always mean restoration to the former position. Sometimes the sin that we fall into can make us unfit to serve in certian positions forever. For example, the redeemed and restored alcholic does not return to his former profession as a bartender; the forgiven and restored child molester cannot be given the responsibility as youth pastor to our children. Today's society has placed emphasis on forgiveness, and rightfully so, but consequences follow us after restoration. God Bless Pastor Paris

-- Anonymous, January 31, 2001

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