Bishop T.D. Jakes

Adding T.D. Jakes and Race to the Debate Over Sexuality and Religion

My old friend Elvis Mitchell was in town on Friday, conducting an interview for a sequel to his 2008 star-studded documentary The Black List: Volume One, bought by HBO shortly before making its Sundance Film Festival in January. There will be two locals in the follow-up, which debuts on HBO in February, but only one of whom can be revealed: Bishop T.D. Jakes of The Potter's House, who makes a cameo this morning in The New Republic as well, where Manhattan Institute senior fellow John McWhorter writes that Jakes, who served as one of Obama's sort-of spiritual advisors during the campaign, is really no different than Rick Warren, Barack Obama's pick to offer the inaugural invocation. --Robert Wilonsky

Suppose Obama had invited black megastar preacher T.D. Jakes instead. Jakes heads a 30,000 member Dallas church, reaches millions more with the television show The Potter's Touch, and was designated "perhaps the most influential black leader in America" by The Atlantic. His church runs outreach programs as well as anti-poverty efforts in Africa. Yet like Warren, Jakes dissociates himself from those who "support abortion, homosexuality and other things I see as unscriptural." Still, I suspect that progressives' reaction to Jakes' inclusion would be vastly less indignant.

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