Working with likeminded organizations who don’t care who gets the credit is a core value of Justice at the Gate (Jatg). JatgG began in 2001 when asked by a businessman to do voter registration in churches during the 2002 gubernatorial election in Texas. JatG was built upon the foundation begun in 1984 through Permian Basin Eagle Forum in Odessa, Texas in Ector Country. With no political expertise, just a plan to send questionnaires to all the candidates and get their answers to the churches, the 5 people who answered pro-life/pro-family were elected, and they were all Republicans! That was the first time that many voters in Ector County looked at issues to inform their vote rather than a political party. Texas as well as Ector County were Democrat strongholds, but nonpartisan election information in 50 of the 150 churches in town changed the political landscape.On the state level, because of the work of Richard Ford and others like him in Texas, the pro-family leaders worked together in the 1980’s, meeting by invitation only in Dallas once a month. As a local leader in Eagle Forum and then Field Director for Texas Christian Coalition, the foundation of JatG was always working with leaders of different networks and sharing information, believing what Ronald Reagan once said, “There is no limit to what God can do through one man who doesn’t care who gets the credit.”So the ministry of Justice at the Gate has never been about name ID or funding for this ministry alone, but about a vision to change America through likeminded leaders with networks, expertise and a heart to partner together.We saw Texas change in the 1990’s through networking with other leaders and not trying to duplicate something that was already going on in various counties. It was about serving existing organizations and providing skilled leadership in grassroots mobilization. That took place through Texas Christian Coalition (TXCC) having organized 179 county chapters in Texas and delivering voter guides in those and many counties where there was no organization, just one person who was willing to deliver voter guides. The county coordinators were shared with statewide organizations that were primarily policy experts, but they used TXCC’s grassroots to further their policy goals. And it worked.
The same philosophy was foundational during the Marriage Amendment Special Election in 2005. Justice at the Gate was recruited to mobilize traditional values voters for the Special Election in November 2005. That year, every one of the 254 counties in Texas had someone delivering voter guides in English and Spanish, and every county but one, Travis County (Austin), passed the Marriage Amendment. Some counties in the Panhandle and East Texas voted 94% in favor of traditional marriage!
In 2002, JatG brought together Hispanic Leaders from across the state for the first time to hear Gov. Rick Perry and learn about how to mobilize their churches around Biblical values. A couple of years later CONFIA, Council on Faith in Action, was birthed through Justice at the Gate and in 2007 it hosted 750 Hispanic pastors and spouses in Austin to begin a movement of Hispanics in Texas. Rev. Mark Gonzales in Dallas was a part of the CONFIA Task Force, and he has since built a formidable grassroots organization in every largely Hispanic state as well as with key leaders of every ethnicity across the nation.
In 2006, Justice at the Gate hosted the VIP African American Pastors and Leaders’ Summit with 300 Black pastors and spouses in attendance at the Austin Hilton. The focus that year was School Choice with leaders like former Education Secretary Rod Paige, Gov. Rick Perry, Apostle Willie Wooten from New Orleans and other notable Black leaders like Rev. Dwight McKissic from Arlington and Rev. Kiev Tatum from Fort Worth.
In 2014, David Barton, founder of WallBuilders recruited the founder of JatG to help organize the National Black Robe Regiment (NBRR) whose Executive Director was Mark Gonzales, founder of Hispanic Action Network. Over 6 million stewardship guides in English, Spanish, Korean, Chinese and Hmong in the 16 battleground states for the 2016 election were delivered by teams of Black, Hispanic, Asian and white individuals in a massive effort to cover all the churches in those states. It’s a testament to the fact that if voters of every ethnicity receive nonpartisan information about candidates’ voting records and public statements, there are still enough voters who believe in Biblical values to turn elections in the US.