In the Virginia governor's race, the Republican ticket is balanced between the far right and the extreme right.
It had been widely assumed the Virginia GOP couldn’t pick anyone more conservative than Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, an anti-abortion crusader who had proposed intrusive exams for women who want to terminate their pregnancy; wants to reinstate Virginia's unconstitutional anti-sodomy laws and has subpoenaed the research papers of scientists who had the audacity to claim humans are responsible for global warming.
But then along came E.W. Jackson, his running mate.
If you're Jewish and planning on going to heaven some day, forget about it. That's the message from Jackson, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor. You see, Jews and other non-Christians "are engaged in some sort of false religion," he said in a sermon Sunday morning in Northern Virginia.
That's not the only slap at Jews by Republicans in the Virginia campaign. So far.
John Whitbeck, the GOP leader in Northern Virginia's 10th Congressional District, told a joke last week at a Cuccinelli tea party rally about the "head of the Jewish faith" handing a "ceremonial piece of paper" to the pope. "Well, that was a bill for the Last Supper," Whitbeck said.
A Cuccinelli aide told the Washington Post he had no idea who Whitbeck was, but he thought the joke was "wholly inappropriate and not connected to the campaign."
Running mate Jackson spoke Sunday at the Restoration Fellowship Church in Strasburg, where he declared:
“Any time you say, ‘There is no other means of salvation but through Jesus Christ, and if you don’t know him and you don’t follow him and you don’t go through him, you are engaged in some sort of false religion,’ that’s controversial. But it’s the truth,” Jackson said, according to a recording of the sermon by a Democratic tracker. “Jesus said, ‘I am the way the truth and the light. No man comes unto the Father but by me.’”
Jay Ahlemann, the church's pastor, said he shared Jackson's views. "Those of us who are Bible-believing Christians are very proud of what he had to say," Ahlemann said. " Historically, it is a fact that this nation was founded by individuals who were Christians and wanted this to be a Christian nation."
Rabbi Jack Moline of Agudas Achim Congregation in Alexandria, Virginia, said, “For the second time in a week a member of the Cuccinelli team has publicly denigrated Judaism, this time explicitly including others who are 'not like us.' Mr. Cuccinelli distanced himself from the anti-Semitic joke used to entertain a crowd of his supporters. Now it is time for him … to declare clearly whether E.W. Jackson represents the values we could expect from the government he proposes to lead."
Neither candidate is a stranger to controversy. Jackson has said gay people's “minds are perverted. They are frankly very sick people psychologically and mentally and emotionally.”
Jackson, who is African-American, has also said government social programs begun in the 1960s have done more harm to the "black family" than slavery. He has also compared Planned Parenthood to the KKK.
Cuccinelli has said he plans to appeal to the Supreme Court an appeals court decision blocking his effort to reinstate anti-sodomy laws earlier branded unconstitutional. He has said " homosexual acts -- not homosexuality, but homosexual acts -- are wrong. They’re intrinsically wrong" and should be outlawed. That law would apply to both gay and straight persons.
I called the office of Rep. Eric Cantor, the Virginia congressman and House majority leader who is the only Jewish Republican in the 113th Congress, for comment Jackson's speech, and was told all inquiries had to be submitted in writing. If and when I hear back from Cantor's office I will post that.
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