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Del. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, on Monday called the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor's remarks "downright offensive."
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
E.W. Jackson, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, is refusing calls from Democrats to apologize for repeated comments suggesting that the Democratic Party is the "anti-God party."
In a radio interview with WLEE in Richmond on Thursday, Jackson was asked if he still believes one cannot be a Democrat and believe in God at the same time.
"I believe that the Democratic Party has become the anti-God party, I think it's an anti-life party, I think it's an anti-family party, and these are all things I think that all Christians hold to very dearly," Jackson responded.
Del. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, on Monday called Jackson's remarks "downright offensive."
"To suggest that one party has a monopoly on what is right in the eyes of God is offensive not only to me, but to millions of Virginians," McClellan said.
"The Democratic Party is full of people like myself who are focused more on God's message of love and of doing for those who are less fortunate [and] loving thy neighbor as thyself. His hateful comments go directly against some of the most important teachings of God," McClellan continued.
Jackson's campaign responded by stating that his statements had been taken out of context and misrepresented.
"Moving forward, I hope that we can engage in a more thoughtful debate on putting people back to work in Virginia," Jackson spokeswoman Holly Robichaud said.
After his nomination in May, the Chesapeake lawyer and pastor had come under fire for remarks in a video he posted on the Internet last year. In a "message to black Christians," Jackson urged black Virginians to become Republicans and "not betray God." He accused the Democratic Party of being "anti-God" for their position on abortion and same-sex marriage.
The Rev. Robin Gorsline, president of People of Faith for Equality in Virginia, also weighed in Monday, saying she believes Jackson owes an apology "to those who are not of his particular faith brand that he is casting out."
"Religious leaders know that you can't go around telling people that they are not godly people," Gorsline said. "Everybody is God's child, and Bishop Jackson just isn't getting that."
Gorsline added she was "disturbed" that Jackson's running mates - Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, and Sen. Mark Obenshain, the party's nominee for attorney general, had not "disavowed" Jackson's remarks.
Cuccinelli spokeswoman Anna Nix declined to comment, but referred to a previous statement from Cuccinelli, in which he vowed to not "defend my running mates' statements at every turn."
Obenshain said Monday that he is running his own race and will generally let candidates for other offices "explain or defend their own comments."
"However, there are clearly people of abiding faith in God and good will in both parties, including family members and many friends on both sides of the political aisle," he said.
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