Meet E.W. Jackson, Republican candidate for Virginia Lt. Governor, who claims that yoga leads to worship of Satan.
No, Star Wars fans – not Yoda, and not even Yogi Bear. That common practice of exercise and meditation known as yoga is what makes the horns pop out your head, Jackson professes.
In his 2008 book “Ten Commandments to an Extraordinary Life,” Jackson wrote “the purpose of such meditation is to empty oneself … (Satan) is happy to invade the empty vacuum of your soul and possess it.”
National Review’s Betsy Woodruff first reported this and other strange quotes from the book on June 5.
I did try to give him benefit of the doubt, thinking maybe he meant to write “satya,” which sort of means “search for truth,” and which is a goal of yoga. Because that practice originates from ancient India, and is used in the meditation practices of Buddhism and Hinduism, this so-called Christian Jackson might have been attacking those faiths instead of the bizarre claim about the exercise regimen.
But a publishing company wouldn’t be likely to overlook such a large typo, though. And lawyer/minister Jackson has quite a long record of similar oddball statements, too, most which attempt to apply religion to political topics. For example:
- In tweets he’s described supporters of the president as the “Unholy Alliance,” and has referred to the opposing party as “Demoncrats”;
- No aid should be provided to victims of disasters, he says, because that constitutes “turning the federal government into a kind of God”; and
- Benefits to disabled persons should cease because “it is the principle of sin, rebellion against God and His truth which has brought about birth defects and other destructive natural occurrences.”
Jackson’s blatantly tried to use religious arguments for his own political gain, too. When seeking nomination in a U.S. Senate race last year (in which he scored less than five percent), he said a vote for him was “a vote for the glory of God.”
He’s apparently tried to use this method for his own financial gain, as well. “You can draw on the anointing which God has placed on my life by sowing into my ministry,” he says in his book, requesting financial donations. “Wherever you are moved to give, do it consistently and generously. This will start a flow of prosperity in your life,” the 2008 publication continues, implying a scheme that promises the more you give to him, the more money God will send your way in return.
Sadly, both of these traits – false use of religion for political gain and also for monetary gain – are common in the U.S. nowadays.
Some religious groups craft faith-inferred claims, such as environmentalism is “deadly to the gospel of Jesus Christ” and “a threat to the Christian faith,” after receiving large funding from corporate interests, including Chevron and ExxonMobil, for example. (See a video clip of "Releasing the Green Dragon" below.
These pseudo-Christian tactics might not appeal to all voters, and not even all who are Republican, but they’ve certainly grabbed the Republican Party itself by the collar. For example, the voters who rejected Jackson in last year’s election didn’t change their mind in 2013. Jackson received the GOP nomination for Lt. Governor at its state party convention in May, not by any election. And he’s been endorsed by Republican Party officials and Tea Party leaders in his state, too.