A controversial Republican candidate for lieutenant governor in Virginia is once again being criticized for his past comments on hot-button issues. This time, E.W. Jackson is catching flak for his remarks about chimps and evolution.
The conservative minister made the comments in his 2008 book Ten Commandments to an Extraordinary Life: Making Your Dreams Come True, as first highlighted by BuzzFeed earlier this week:
Scientist have made much of the fact that chimpanzees have been trained to use sign language. They take this as proof that primates are our ancestors because they, like us, have “language capacity.” It is amazing the length to which people will go to prove what is so palpably false.
Jackson goes on to write that the power of speech was "given to mankind by God who created us," saying it's a gift that has been given to no other creature. "Only mankind was made to represent the divinity and genius of God himself," he notes.
Earlier this week, Jackson was criticized after a post for the National Review revealed that his book also suggests yoga could lead to satanic possession.
"When one hears the word meditation, it conjures an image of Maharishi Yoga talking about finding a mantra and striving for nirvana," Jackson wrote in his book. "The purpose of such meditation is to empty oneself. [Satan] is happy to invade the empty vacuum of your soul and possess it. Beware of systems of spirituality which tell you to empty yourself. You will end up filled with something you probably do not want."
But his thoughts on yoga and evolution are merely some of Jackson's more unconventional opinions. In the past, the candidate has compared Planned Parenthood to the Ku Klux Klan, said that President Barack Obama has a "Muslim perspective" on the world and argued that recognition of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community "makes him feel ikky."
So far, the candidate has refused to backtrack on any of his statements.
"I don't have anything to rephrase or to apologize for," Jackson said in May. "I would just say, people should not paint me as one-dimensional. I have a whole lot of concerns."