DHS official for faith, community outreach resigns after past racial comments revealed

Rev. Jamie Johnson

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security's center for outreach to faith and community groups has resigned after it came to light that he had said black people turned cities into "slums" and Islam's only contribution to society was "oil and dead bodies," CBS News has learned. 

Rev. Jamie Johnson was appointed in April by then-DHS Secretary John Kelly to the Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships.

A statement sent to CBS News from DHS confirms Johnson's resignation.

"Acting [DHS] Secretary [Elaine Costanzo] Duke has accepted Rev. Jamie Johnson's resignation as Director of the Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships at DHS," the statement read. "His comments made prior to joining the Department of Homeland Security clearly do not reflect the values of DHS and the administration. The Department thanks him for his recent work assisting disaster victims and the interfaith community."

His resignation comes after a bombshell report by CNN revealed that between 2008 to as recent as 2016, Johnson said numerous disparaging comments targeting the black community and the Islam faith. CNN posted audio clips from Johnson's various shows.

Johnson was discovered to have said publicly on conservative talk radio shows -- even his own weekend show -- that he thought black people turned U.S. cities into "slums because of laziness, drug use and sexual promiscuity" and that Islam's only contribution to society was "oil and dead bodies" and called the religion violent and illegitimate.

In a 2008 radio discussion, Johnson said he believed black people were anti-Semitic out of jealousy of the Jewish people's success.

"I think one of the reasons why is because Jewish people from their coming to America in great waves in the early part of the 1800's immediately rolled up their sleeves and began to work so hard and applied themselves to education and other means of improvement and other means of climbing the, I hate this phrase, but the social ladder if you will," Johnson said. "And they have done exceptionally well for themselves. For only representing about 1.4 percent of America's population, they make up 12 percent of America's millionaires. Why? Because they work."

Johnson continued: "And it's an indictment of America's black community that has turned America's major cities into slums because of laziness, drug use and sexual promiscuity."

In another radio appearance, Johnson slammed Islam by saying Muslim terrorist groups were actually reflective of the true meaning of Islam and added that "Islam is not our friend" and agreed with a conservative political commentator.

"I agree with Dinesh D'Souza ... who says all that Islam has ever given us is oil and dead bodies over the last millennia and a half," Johnson said.

Johnson released a statement to CBS News earlier Thursday in response to the report saying in part that he sees things differently.

"I have and will continue to work with leaders and members of all faiths as we jointly look to strengthen our safety and security as an interfaith community," Johnson said. "Having witnessed leaders from the entire faith spectrum work to empower their communities I now see things much differently. I regret the manner in which those thoughts were expressed in the past, but can say unequivocally that they do not represent my views personally or professionally."

DHS also issued a statement earlier saying that Johnson has apologized and that he's a valued proponent of the interfaith community.

 "The administration does not support these statements made by Rev. Johnson, some of which were said nearly a decade ago, and for which he has apologized," the statement read. "We believe Rev. Johnson has proven himself as a valuable supporter and proponent of the interfaith community's recovery efforts, particularly during Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and most recently bringing counseling and support following the tragic shooting at the church in Sutherland Springs, Texas."

Nonetheless, Johnson resigned Thursday night.

Johnson's bio page online says his professional background spans ministry, broadcasting, teaching, consulting and organizational leadership. He worked for many years in international humanitarian relief, helping charities who helped those in suffering natural disaster, famine and poverty.

The DHS' Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships was created in 2006 by executive order in the immediate aftermath of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, according to its website. The center says it engages "in a broad cross-section of faith and community-based organizations in all stages of the disaster sequence." The DHS Center is one of 13 such centers in the federal government and also interfaces with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.