E.W. Jackson, the right-wing minister who ran unsuccessfully for Virginia lieutenant governor in 2013, has added to his litany of homophobic and transphobic comments by calling Caitlyn Jenner “insane” and denouncing President Obama for lauding Jenner’s courage.
Jackson’s latest remarks came Tuesday, in the National Emergency Coalition conference call his organization, Stand, hosts weekly. To the coalition, the progress toward LGBT equality is apparently an emergency, a raging fire to be put out.
This week’s call, which featured another antigay minister, Rick Scarborough, focused primarily on their opposition to marriage equality, but Jackson used Jenner to illustrate his belief that President Obama is “absolutely leading us in a way that is antithetical to our commitment to Jesus Christ.”
He objected to the fact that when Jenner came out as transgender, the president tweeted, “It takes courage to share your story.”
“So you’re congratulating him for his insanity?” Jackson said (even though Jenner has now requested to be referred to with female pronouns). “Because that’s what that is. That is insane. … That’s mental illness, that’s all that is, and this idea of commending people for their courage, I mean, give me a break.”
This puts Jackson at odds with even some of his fellow Republicans, including two presidential hopefuls who are not usually LGBT-friendly — Sen. Lindsey Graham, who said he welcomes Jenner, herself a Republican, to the party, and former Sen. Rick Santorum, who said he’d gladly accept Jenner’s endorsement and vote. (Santorum was on a previous conference call with Jackson, taking a more typical position by promising to resist a pro-marriage equality ruling by the Supreme Court.)
During his campaign in Virginia, Jackson’s history of antigay comments often made news; video and audio surfaced of him saying the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” turned the U.S. military into “the equivalent of Sodom and Gomorrah” and that gay people were “sick” and “perverted.” He at times denied making the comments, even though they had been recorded, or said they were taken out of context.
Jackson was also one of the “experts” featured today on Fox News discussing the mass shooting at a largely African-American church in Charleston, S.C.; he claimed the attack was probably not racially motivated (the suspect is white) but instead an indicator of “a rising hostility against Christians across this country.” He urged “pastors and men in these churches” to arm themselves and be “prepared to defend the church when women and children are attacked.”
Listen to Jackson’s rant on Jenner below, courtesy of Right Wing Watch.