If black Rev. E.W. Jackson was a liberal and his white opponent Ralph Northam was a conservative, The Washington Post would have to accuse itself of racism. In the Virginia campaign for lieutenant governor, Northam, a white liberal, is the beneficiary of obvious and massive discrimination. He hasn’t drawn a single headline from the Post since he won the primary in June. No one needs to know anything he's said or anything he's done. He's apparently perfect.
But once again on Tuesday, the Post took out a journo-hammer and hit Jackson the black conservative over the head. On the front page of the Metro section, the headline was “E.W. Jackson’s combative style to be put to test.” Post reporter Michael Laris relied on Democratic trackers (and they happily relied on him) to report that Jackson had said something allegedly outrageous from a minister -- that Christianity was true, and other religions were false:
While describing a list of the "controversial" things that he believes, and that he said he must say as a Christian, he proclaimed that non-Christians "are engaged in some sort of false religion."
"Any time you say, 'There is no other means of salvation but through Jesus Christ, and if you don't know him and you don't follow him and you don't go through him, you are engaged in some sort of false religion,' that's controversial. But it's the truth," Jackson said, according to a recording made by a Democratic tracker. "Jesus said, 'I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes unto the Father but by me.' "
The Web site of the Restoration Fellowship Church, where Jackson spoke Sunday, includes a recording of the sermon. But a short section that included the "false religion" comment was missing from the recording.
The church's pastor, Jay Ahlemann, said he agrees with Jackson's interpretation. As for non-Christians, "I would expect they would be offended," Ahlemann acknowledged. "It's not our purpose. And [Jackson] said he did not set out to offend people. It's his purpose to proclaim what the Bible said as a preacher. That was not a political speech. That was a Bible sermon."
The Post put this at the end of the Metro story, but the Christianity-is-true remarks were the entire E.W. Jackson story as summarized in the Post’s free Express tabloid. By the end of the day, D.C. radio station WMAL was running a soundbite of Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell suggesting Rev. Jackson shouldn't run for office with a Christian message like that.
In nearly every Jackson story the Post writes, they recount their list of his outrages, and suggest he has a “divisive mean streak.” If only they would add to every Jackson story that the Post endorsed his white opponent, the discrimination might be even more obvious. When you’re a liberal, it’s not a sign of a “divisive mean streak” that you favor leaving babies to die on a table after birth because the mommy had wanted an abortion. Ralph Northam is the darling of Planned Parenthood, as well as The Washington Post.
At least Laris began the story by recounting how Jackson mocked Obama with humor before pulling out the well-worn "incendiary zinger" list:
E.W. Jackson stood on the slate steps of a 25-acre Loudoun County estate, looked out over a mostly white crowd of Republican donors and slipped into his best mocking Barack Obama voice.
"Every black man in America," Jackson said, mimicking the president's comments after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the killing of Trayvon Martin, "knows what it is to walk down the street and have people clutch their pocketbooks."
Then, Jackson added, with a preacher's easy, well-honed delivery, "I'm thinking to myself, every time you open your mouth, I clutch my pocketbook."
Roars of approval and long, lingering laughter came from the crowd.
The Republican candidate for lieutenant governor knows how to give his supporters the supercharged rhetoric they love. But on Tuesday he faces a tougher test in a debate in Arlington with Democratic candidate Ralph S. Northam, a state senator and child neurologist from Norfolk. It will be the first high-stakes opportunity for Jackson to present himself to a large audience in politically crucial Northern Virginia. And he'll be doing it in front of a mixed crowd, leaving Jackson partisans and Democratic opponents wondering how his brand of politics will play.
Depending on who's listening, Jackson's mastery of the incendiary zinger is a sign of spiritual and ideological purity or of a divisive mean streak. He's said that gay people's "minds are perverted. They are frankly very sick people psychologically"; cited the "genocide" of tens of millions of aborted black babies to argue that "Planned Parenthood has been far more lethal to black lives than the KKK ever was"; and in a sermon Sunday said non-Christians are following "some sort of false religion."
Earlier: WashPost Whacks 'Fiery' Black GOP Candidate On Page One With Yoga-and-Satan Smear (Northam shared the Post story with supporters on Facebook.)