From the moment he became the Republican nominee for Virginia lieutenant governor, Chesapeake minister E.W. Jackson has had to cope with questions about some of his past controversial remarks on social issues. On Wednesday, he hit upon a new strategy for dealing with them — denial.
In an interview with WUSA 9, Jackson began by saying: “Probably most of what they hear in the mainstream media from my opponent is not true,” and claimed he had been a “unifying figure most of my life.”
Anchor Derek McGinty then asked: “Did you say that gay people live a sick lifestyle, they’re sick people?”
“Never said that,” Jackson responded. “What I’ve said is I think that the movement, the effort to change the culture is an effort to pervert things. But look, here’s the thing. I said that in the context of ministry. And as a minister, I teach what? The Bible. I’m not running to be minister of Virginia or bishop of Virginia.”
But Jackson did say that, as has been widely reported.
In a recorded interview in October 2012 with the group Americans For Truth About Homosexuality, Jackson said of gays and lesbians: “Their minds are perverted, they’re frankly very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally and they see everything through the lens of homosexuality.” (He also said homosexuality “poisons culture, it destroys families, it destroys societies; it brings the judgment of God unlike very few things that we can think of.”)
Later in the interview, McGinty asked: “Let me put this to you Reverend. You said that the U.S. Armed Forces are going to be punished by God because of the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell ...”
Jackson cut him off: “Never said that. That’s absolutely, categorically not true. See that’s what I mean. I’ve never said anything like that because I don’t believe it. And there are other things that have been said that I said and I simply didn’t say them.”
But as the website Right Wing Watch has pointed out, Jackson said in a 2011 speech that “our military is under attack” because of a proposal to allow military chaplains to marry same-sex couples.
“How in the world can we expect our military to be blessed by the hand of Almighty God if we allow our military to become the equivalent of Sodom and Gomorrah?” Jackson asked. “I’ll tell you something, God is not pleased.”
Jackson faces state Sen. Ralph Northam (D-Norfolk) in the contest for lieutenant governor. A Washington Post/Abt-SRBI poll released this week shows Northam leading Jackson by 13 points among likely voters.
Jackson’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on his WUSA 9 interview.