Virginia GOP Lt. Gov. Candidate: You Can’t Be A Christian And A Democrat


E.W. Jackson, the Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor whom I’ve written about in the past, said today that the Democratic Party is “anti-God”:

In a local radio interview this morning, Virginia Republican lieutenant governor nominee E.W. Jackson said the Democratic Party is “anti-God” and that Christians should leave it.

Jackson has said in the past that he thinks believing in God and voting Democratic are fundamentally incompatible, so WLEE host Jack Gravely asked if he still believes it. Gravely explained that he’s a Christian and tends to vote Democratic, just like his parents and family. Jackson didn’t back down.

“You are saying for us, we’re all wrong, leave that party. And all I’m saying to you is, if you said it before, you still have to believe it, why did you say it?” Gravely asked. “Oh, oh, oh I do believe it,” Jackson responded.

He continued: “I said it because I believe that the Democrat Party has become an 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 Christians hold to very dearly.”

Listen to the interview here.

It didn’t take long though, for Virginia Republicans to distance themselves from Jackson’s remarks, or at least the head of the state party has done so:

Pat Mullins, the state’s GOP chairman, said he does not endorse that sentiment. “I do not agree with that statement,” he told Salon in a statement. “My parents were Democrats, and I’ve got a lot of Democratic friends in Christian churches all around Virginia.”

So far, there’s been no comment that I’ve seen from the GOP’s candidate for Governor, Ken Cuccinelli, or from their candidate for Attorney General. If either candidate releases a statement, though, I’ll post it in an update to this post.

As for Jackson himself, as I noted in my post in May, this is a man who has a history of making outrageous and controversial statements, so in some sense it really isn’t a surprise that he’d be standing by them. The question is how much of a problem is going to be for the rest of the Republican ticket during what is expected to be a very closely fought election here in the Old Dominion.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2013, Religion, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. DC Loser says:

    Why is this even controversial? Everyone knows that’s how the GOP views Democrats, especially President Obama.

  2. Ben Wolf says:

    I hate to break this to Mr. Jackson, but Jesus of Nazareth was (in modern terms) a radical socialist. The Gospels are a far better fit for a liberal than for the Christian Right.

  3. PJ says:

    The GOP is reaping what it has sowed.

  4. James Pearce says:

    Just found this memo on the printer:

    To: E.W. Jackson
    From: Jesus

    RE: The “Anti-God” Party

    Just a friendly reminder that I already told you not to bear false witness against your neighbor once.

    Shall I devise some new punishment worse than eternal damnation in order for this to sink in?


  5. JKB says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    Christianity, as a late writer has pointed out in words well chosen,* is the only system of socialism which commends it self as having a rational basis, and its founder the most practical teacher of it that the world has ever seen. ” The aim of all socialism is the securing of equality in the social condition of mankind, and if equality is to be secured at all it will be secured only by changing the hearts of men, and never by setting to work, in the first instance, upon the conditions.” But the present impulse of socialism is not Christian, but rather one willing to put an end to Christianity. And it is a system of machinery, like the kingdom of a tyrant, not of souls, like that of Christ. Now the Christian system did not rest on force at all. It was communistic, but not socialistic, as the word is properly used; for its very essence was the freedom of the individual will.

    * Socialism and Legislation, Westminster Review, January, 1886.

  6. stonetools says:

    Well, I’m sure, that the “independents” will find a way to vote for Cuccinelli (who isn’t that different from Jackson, just less forthright) and Jackson, because ECONOMIC FREEDUMB! and Republicans are better than Democrats!

  7. HarvardLaw92 says:

    And the gang that couldn’t shoot straight sets off on another circular firing squad …

  8. Matt Bernius says:

    Ummm… Ben’s point is that in the vend venn (thanks Rick) diagram between Jesus’ teachings and Socialist thought, you’ll find far more cross over than in the vend venn diagram between Jesus’ teachings and talk radio Conservatism.

    Is modern socialism the same as Christianity? No. But for that matter neither is modern Conservatism. However the latter tends to claim that the Lord agrees with them.

  9. Rick Almeida says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    FYI, it’s a “Venn diagram”.

  10. Ben Wolf says:


    And [John the Baptist] would answer and say to them, “Let the man with two tunics share with him who has none, and let him who has food do likewise.”

    Luke 3:11

  11. Ben Wolf says:

    @Rick Almeida: Looks like a typo, Bernius is well-educated.

  12. James Pearce says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    However the latter tends to claim that the Lord agrees with them.

    It’s worse than that. They just do not claim that God agrees with them.

    They claim to be God’s official spokespeople.

  13. michael reynolds says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    Who you gonna believe, some random quote from 1886 or Jesus Christ in his own words?

  14. Matt Bernius says:

    @Rick Almeida:

    FYI, it’s a “Venn diagram”.

    Thank you for that correction.

    @Ben Wolf:

    Looks like a typo, Bernius is well-educated.

    I appreciate the support, and I do consider my self more or less well-educated (thanks my many teachers), and I am definitely typo prone (and irony of ironies, I even initially screwed up that phrase with a typo), but I did believe it was “Vend” not “Venn.” So, in this case, it wasn’t a typo.

    All that said, the point still stands (with the necessary corrections).

  15. Ben Wolf says:

    @michael reynolds: You’re absolutely right, Michael. I should stop reading what a filthy hippie like Jesus said and only read what other people tell me he said. Sorry JKB, I don’t know what I was thinking.

  16. Matt Bernius says:

    @michael reynolds & @Ben Wolf:
    Ok, Gospel Geek-out for a sec… Of the four Canonical Gospels, Mark is believed to be the only one written by someone with direct contact to any of the original disciples. So in theory — across multiple translations — that’s the only one that can be said to be indirectly-directly quoting Christ.

    That said, for those who side with the Council of Nicaea, the rest of the Gospels count as the words of Christ because their writers were directly inspired by the Holy Spirit and therefore able to “channel” (not the word they would necessarily use) Christ for a post-Ascension quoting of him. Since the Holy Spirit and Christ are seen as being a one-in-the-same triumvirate being they can claim to be directly quoting him. But then again all of this is still being filtered across multiple translations. But those translation are influenced by the Spirit, so they can be taken as more or less direct quotes as well…

  17. Ben Wolf says:

    @Matt Bernius: Well, we’re faced with the fact that Jesus of Nazareth did not, to our knowledge, write anything. We’re also faced with the fact our earliest and best texts for the gospels were written some three hundred years after the crucifixion. And then we have to deal with the considerable differences between the four books the Catholic Church decided would be codifies as the gospels,not to memtion the dozens of gospels which were rejected at Nicaea. Luke describes a different Jesus than does Mark, which describes a different Jesus than Matthew, which describes a different Jesus than John.

    I think Bart Ehrman has convincingly made the argument much was changed in the Gospels as they were copied and recopied over a period of two thousand years. That of course is not really relevant to the issue we face here. Either one accepts those texts as the teachings of Jesus or one does not; if the latter then one is not a Christian. There is a tendency among some on the political and social right to insist they accept the Bible as the inerrant word of God, and then to ignore those passages which do not support the preferred economic and political systems. My guess is they aren’t really Christian but feel that social pressures require them to claim a devotion to Christ regardless.

  18. Ben Wolf says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    . . . I did believe it was “Vend” not “Venn.” So, in this case, it wasn’t a typo.

    You sir, have made a fool out of me. See if I defend you again!

  19. Dave C says:

    @Ben Wolf: Hello Ben. The first of the Gospels was actually completed within 70-100 years after Jesus’ crucifixion, and the rest within 100 years after. Also, fragments of docs of Acts and the Epistles have been dated to 60-ish AD. Considering this, from a society and time that also placed value on oral testimony and history, it is very reliable. Much more reliable than a lot of other ancient sources. Now, as for your assertion that many take the phrases they support and ignore the others, I agree totally. I agree with the title of this article, but would agree more if it said,”You cannot be a Democrat or Republican and be a Christian”. What Christian can think a political party, made by man, can fully agree with all God wishes?

  20. Latino_in_Boston says:

    You keep using that word Christian. I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

  21. Dave C says:

    @Ben Wolf: P.S. – As for the differences in The Gospels, I think that lends credence to them. There ARE differences, but the essential facts remain the same. Just as you would expect eyewitness testimony to vary in a court of law, it is reasonable to expect variations in non-essential details. If all the stories were exactly the same, you would suspect corroboration or plagiarism.

  22. Gustopher says:

    I’m pretty sure Jesus said something about the poor needing to pull themselves up by their own boot-straps/sandal-thongs.

  23. James Pearce says:

    @Dave C:

    There ARE differences, but the essential facts remain the same.

    Not sure that holds up. If you’re just talking about the Canonical Gospels, yes, that’s roughly true. But there are literally dozens of other gospels, not included in the canon, which offer much different interpretations and shades of meaning.

    Some of these have been collected in Apochrypha, while other –such as the Q document– have been lost entirely. Indeed, many scholars think parts of Matthew and Luke were based on Q, which is some of that corroboration/plagiarism you were talking about.

    Also take into account that the Gospels were written in Greek for a Hellenized audience, and they were writing about a Jew who spoke Aramaic. Reliable?

    Not so sure.

  24. Ben Wolf says:

    @Dave C: I’m saying the oldest complete texts we have date from the 4th Century CE, namely the Greek Septuagint. There are older fragments dating to the 2nd Century and from the testimony of the works it is likely the Gospels originated within the 1st Century CE, but we have no whole manuscripts from that period. So the Bible we have today is largely based on texts copied and recopied for centuries.

  25. Rafer Janders says:


    Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

  26. Rafer Janders says:


    Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

  27. Rafer Janders says:


    You cannot serve both God and Money. Matthew 6:24.

  28. Rafer Janders says:


    40 The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
    41 Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
    42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,
    43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
    44 They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
    45 He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
    46 Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

    Matthew 40:46.

  29. Rafer Janders says:


    44: And all that believed were together, and had all things in common;
    45: And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.

    Acts 2: 44, 45

  30. Rafer Janders says:


    32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
    33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
    34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
    35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.

    Acts 32-35.

  31. Dave C says:

    @James Pearce: Hello James. Yes, I was speaking about the canonical gospels. The fact that not all are included, again, lends credence to that when the cannon was put together, there was a serious attempt at getting the history right. Think about it this way. I you were going to write a book about the Clinton presidency, would you use every document, article or book? No, you would contrast, compare and evaluate sources and put in what was corroborated by other sources and even your own recollections (assuming you are old enough to remember). So, they compared, contrasted and put in what corroborated each other as well as the oral history and traditions that had been passed down the previous several hundred years. Some of the gospels (gnostic) weren’t even written until right before the cannon started to be fixed. Not all of the epistles could be verified, or were used only in a small area of the Church and didn’t match the others that had been accepted for generations. As for the issue of translation, yes, things can get lost in translations, but these were not unknown languages at the time. Greek was the English (at least) of its day. So, a writer who understood the native language, and wrote to Greek, is not an unreliable source. So, could you trust someone who spoke Swahili and English translating Swahili to. English reliably? If we can’t trust the translation of ancient texts, than much, much more than just the Bible is in doubt. Most of Ancient History is in doubt.

  32. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Virginia GOP Lt. Gov. Candidate: You Can’t Be A Christian And A Democrat

    But it is self-evident that it is extremely easy for some to be a “conservative” and a complete and utter douche.

  33. An Interested Party says:

    So much for someone trying to us Jesus to trash socialism…better luck next time…

  34. An Interested Party says:

    *to use

  35. Ben Wolf says:

    @Rafer Janders: Wait, everyone knows Karl Marx invented socialism in the 19th Century and according to Conservapedia Jesus was a free-market capitalist. Why do you hate God?

  36. James Pearce says:

    @Dave C:

    The fact that not all are included, again, lends credence to that when the cannon was put together, there was a serious attempt at getting the history right.

    Sorry, Dave….I do not mean to detract from your sincerely held beliefs, but assembling the canon was definitely not “a serious attempt at getting the history right.” It was an attempt to quash various heresies and standardize the doctrine, historicity be damned.

  37. al-Ameda says:

    He continued: “I said it because I believe that the Democrat Party has become an 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 Christians hold to very dearly.”

    At first I thought, Stephen Colbert sent this up. Then I reconsidered – this could not be Colbert, it must be Bill Maher.

    Again, you just can not make anything up any more. I feel sorry for anybody who aspires to write fiction, you can’t compete with guys like E.W. Jackson.

  38. michael reynolds says:

    I’m an atheist so I don’t assume Jesus existed, let alone said any of what’s attributed to him. Nevertheless, had he said what’s attributed to him, a lot of it is very advanced for the first century before. . . um, Christ. Some excellent insights.

    But the Bible doesn’t work for me as something I should take literally or even semi-literally. Too many wild shifts with Jehovah just as much a mess in character terms as Zeus or Odin. That’s before you get into the astoundingly tedious parts or the endlessly recycled plots. (Oh, look, the Hebrews are dissing God again, time to bring down the hammer. For the 19th time.) The whole book’s a mess.

  39. Dave C says:

    @James Pearce: No need to apologize in a civil debate! “Getting rid of Heresy and standardizing the doctrine”. I absolutely agree that is why the cannon was formalized. For a religion like Christianity, getting the history right is key to that. “What really happened” is critical to Christianity, there is no room for semantics, fable, etc when it comes to the New Testament. Jesus either was The Son Of God, died and risen from the dead, or we are the greates fools, to paraphrase Paul. For you to think that they didn’t care about getting the history right, you would have to think that they really didn’t believe. If they didn’t believe, then yes, they could just pull together whatever they thought they could sell, or keep them in power. But, if they really believed, there was definite motivation for them to get it right.

  40. Dave C says:

    @Ben Wolf: I see what you are saying. That is the case for most of ancient history. Same thing with the early Greek writings. But what they do have does match. In the case of history, you end up having to make a judgement. Do you trust the sources you have, or not?

  41. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: “The whole book’s a mess. ”

    Yes,, but it’s still better than Twilight.

  42. James Pearce says:

    @Dave C:

    For you to think that they didn’t care about getting the history right, you would have to think that they really didn’t believe.

    Actually, Dave, it’s the belief that makes me think historicity took a backseat to doctrinal matters.

    Take the Arian Controversy for instance. That wasn’t about history so much as it was about metaphysics.

  43. anjin-san says:

    @ JKB

    Now the Christian system did not rest on force at all.

    That certainly explains the inquisition. And the crusades.

  44. Kylopod says:

    I don’t think there is any contradiction whatsoever between being a Christian and being a Democrat. I do, however, think there are significant contradictions between being a Christian and naming Atlas Shrugged as your favorite book, as as Ken Cuccinelli has. Curious that this doesn’t seem to bother “Rev” Jackson.

  45. michael reynolds says:


    Well, yeah.

  46. maggie says:

    Such a ridiculous statement, such a ridiculous argument.. Jesus was not a “Christian”, he was a a Jew. And he sure as hell did not want politics to play a part in religion. Christian is a man- made title that has been made a mockery of by the present day extreme far right in USA. Their idea of christianity is a claim to moral superiority to all others and the belief that they get to decide because of their “elite ” status what is/is not acceptable behavior for a Christian..
    If they would read the Bible’s red print, they would see that they are beating a drum that is sooooo opposed to Christ’s teachings that it would be laughable were it not so pervasive and destructive to the whole idea of what the man and the Bible tell them repeatedly. Since they apparently can’t read and understand the words or Christ, Maybe they all need to read the book “The Shack”.

  47. C. Clavin says:

    “…Yes,, but it’s still better than Twilight…”

    Now wait one second there, mister…

  48. C. Clavin says:

    If you spend a lot of time claiming to be hip…then most likely you are not very hip.
    If you spend a lot of time talking about your sex-life…then most likely you haven’t been laid in months.
    Who was the guy that used to comment here and bragged about his business accumen all the time…but didn’t seem to know much about business?
    Republicans spend a lot of time claiming to be Christian…but by any and all measures…are not at all Christian.

  49. Matt Bernius says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I’m an atheist so I don’t assume Jesus existed, let alone said any of what’s attributed to him.

    Most historians are pretty comfortable saying that Jesus — the man — did exist. And there are a few contemporaneous records that back them up. Everything after that… that’s a different issue.

  50. labman57 says:

    Ann Coulter called — she wants her sanctimonious rhetoric back.

    The problem with many Christian conservatives is that they are long on self-righteousness and short on selflessness, long on callousness and short on compassion, long on intimidation and short on tolerance.

    The values and mores of ANY religion have absolutely no place in politics with respect establishing public policy or writing legislation. We need to focus on secular, societal ethical behavior and leave religious morality in the church and within every individual’s home.

    Spirituality comes in many forms. Whether or not an individual regards themselves as a Christian says nothing about the person’s character or value as a human being, nor does it speak to their loyalty and patriotism toward our nation.

    The notion that one group of religions is more righteous or more American than any other ( or that agnostics and atheists are inherently less patriotic than are citizens who believe in some form of God) is contrary to the tenets established by our founding fathers when they endorsed the “separation of church and state” as a fundamental concept in the US Constitution.

  51. JohnMcC says:

    As has been remarked many times on OTB forums, the Republican Party/Conservative Movement has become essentially a cult.

  52. Tillman says:

    @michael reynolds:

    But the Bible doesn’t work for me as something I should take literally or even semi-literally.

    a) It’s not one book, but an anthology; and
    b) “Taking it literally” is a modern invention. Or, rather, taking it literally as the basis for one’s entire faith.