Judge demands apology for bishop’s ‘wrath of God’ comment
BY JON SEIDEL AND BECKY SCHLIKERMAN Staff Reporters July 24, 2013 4:18PM
Bishop Herman Jackson outside his church, the Ark of Safety Apostolic Faith Temple in Cicero, on May 9, 2013. Federal Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman ordered Jackson, who faces fraud charges, confined to the church. | Sun-Times library
Updated: August 26, 2013 3:14PM
Facing the Cicero preacher who told the Chicago Sun-Times that “the wrath of God” would visit her home, U.S. Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman demanded a public apology for the “outrageous” and “reckless” comment.
So Herman Jackson began.
Clutching a thick Bible in his hands, he said he had been misunderstood and called the black federal judge a “Nubian queen.” He claimed he would call the authorities himself if he thought she was in danger.
The word “wrath” as he used it “does not mean blowing everything up,” said Jackson, who also is black.
“It is the wrath of a father chastening a daughter or a son,” he said. “My God told me that he would talk to you about me being separated from my wife.”
Coleman said she would take his diatribe as “some sort of apology.”
Then she let him walk out of her courtroom Wednesday after warning him that his pending federal fraud trial is not a game, not reality TV and not “who can be the most popular preacher in the country.”
She said federal authorities are investigating the comments he made to the Sun-Times and might file criminal charges.
Threats toward judges are taken very seriously “especially in this building,” she said.
U.S. Judge Joan Lefkow’s husband and mother were murdered in her Edgewater home in 2005.
“If you look around, you are not in your church,” Coleman said.
Jackson is known as the bishop of the Ark of Safety Apostolic Faith Temple in Cicero.
Only a week ago, Jackson stood before Coleman seeking permission to move to Georgia part time to help his 15-year-old son travel to classes. Coleman gave him permission for only a brief visit to Georgia that ended at noon Wednesday.
She also said at the time she “has concerns about Mr. Jackson’s ability to . . . appreciate the severity and magnitude of the situation in which he finds himself.”
In response, Jackson told the Sun-Times over the weekend: “Because of Judge Sharon Coleman’s continual mocking of God’s ecclesiastical order and the sanctity of family/marriage, the wrath of God almighty shall soon visit her home.”
He denied it was a threat.
Nevertheless, U.S. Chief Judge Ruben Castillo announced Monday that security for Coleman had been increased. Federal authorities wouldn’t comment Wednesday on whether that continues to be the case.
After his latest hearing — for which he was 20 minutes late — Jackson told reporters “the judge’s life was never in danger at all.”
While he said his earlier quote to the Sun-Times was misunderstood, he confirmed that it was accurate.
He said the Sun-Times “quoted me to the T.”
Jackson and his wife, Jannette Faria, are each charged with fraud and accused of participating in an alleged scheme to swindle state day care funds. He’s living in his church under the judge’s order while he awaits trial — which she pointed out Wednesday was his idea, not hers.
Asked outside the Dirksen federal courthouse whether he had expected to leave the building through the front door Wednesday, he said he had left it in God’s hands.
“All that I know is I was going to come in here on principle,” Jackson said. “And if the God I serve saw fit, he was going to let me walk out. If God says, ‘You’re going to stay here and go to jail,’ Lord, I’m willing to stay in jail.”