When I learned Virginia lieutenant governor candidate E.W. Jackson had written that yoga could leave you vulnerable to Satan, I was thrilled we finally had a brave leader who would take a stand against hideous yoga fashion and smelly hot studios and Lululemon princesses. But no. In a press conference this week, Jackson capitulated to the four-way-stretch-cloaked hordes, saying, "I do not believe that yoga leads to Satanism."
It was a shocking about-face.
In his 2008 book, Ten Commandements to an Extraordinary Life, Jackson wrote, "When one hears the word meditation, it conjures an image of Maharishi Yoga talking about finding a mantra and striving for nirvana... The purpose of such meditation is to empty oneself. (Satan) is happy to invade the empty vacuum of your soul and possess it."
That sounds like a pretty unequivocal statement of principle.
But Jackson now says his words were misinterpreted. "What I said was that Christian meditation does not involve emptying oneself but filling oneself," Jackson said in an unusual 45-minute press conference on Wednesday, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. He even said one of his ministers is a yoga instructor.
Jackson told reporters he was spilling all to "maybe save you and your colleagues some further research." He is a former preacher who has not held higher office, as his tell-all press conference might suggest. Jackson revealed at the event that when he was younger, he experimented with marijuana and other, unnamed controlled substances. He filed for bankruptcy in 1993 when his gospel radio station in Boston did not pan out. He said he'd faced tax liens for unpaid taxes in the past. He admitted he was asked to leave his first preaching job in 1982. "It was an older congregation and I was a young 27-year-old firebrand. It was not a good mix," Jackson said.
Over the last few weeks, some of Jackson's more unusual comments have surfaced, like that gays are "ikky," that President Obama has a "Muslim perspective," that evolution isn't real because chimpanzees can't talk, and that in vitro fertilization is evil. While many of his past comments are offensive, I am disappointed that Jackson took himself out of the fight against the soft tyranny of purple stretch jersey in order to pander to yoga monsters.
(Photo by Kerala Tourism via Flickr.)