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Conservative pastor and anti-LGBTQ Republican politician E.W. Jackson has said that Drag Queen Story Hour events are “disgusting” and “the equivalent of pedophilia.”
Jackson, who has twice failed to win a U.S. Senate seat in Virginia, made the comments during his daily Facebook stream, Right Wing Watch reports.
Drag Queen Story Hours are events typically held at libraries or bookstores where drag performers read books to children, as part of efforts to celebrate reading and create culturally inclusive family programming. Despite the nature of the events, they have frequently drawn the ire of conservatives.
Jackson, who has previously described gay people as “very sick” and “perverted,” branded the reading events “child abuse.”
During his stream, which Jackson advertises as “dedicated to reading and discussing the Bible,” he argued that parents are forcing children to embrace “a whole lot of sexual garbage” by allowing drag queens to read children’s books to them.
“This is child abuse to take these children to be entertained by these perverse individuals whose lives are a moral sewer,” Jackson said. “You want to live that way, it’s a free country, live that way. If adults want to be a part of such gross, disgusting entertainment, you have a right to do that. But child abuse is what I would call taking children to see one of these freaks go through a whole lot of sexual garbage trying to instill this mess in the minds of toddlers and kindergartners.”
Jackson then switched to a common theme among anti-LGBTQ Christians, claiming he loves drag queens “with the love of Christ.”
“Look, I love that drag queen,” Jackson said. “That person needs God, that person needs to be saved, that person needs to be delivered. God wants that person to be a normal human being. A drag queen is not a normal human being.”
He added: “The stupid parents who take their children into this mess need to be dope slapped. They need to have their children taken away from them.”
Jackson then claimed that when he was a lawyer he would watch social workers and child advocates claim that forcing children to attend church was child abuse.
“Do you think toddlers and kindergartners are [asking] to go to Drag Queen Story Hour?” he argued. “Taking your children to church is not abuse. It’s what God commands us to do. But taking your children to Drag Queen Story Hour is abuse of a magnitude that is hard to overstate. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the equivalent of pedophilia, and it should be treated the same way.”
Right-wing pastor E.W. Jackson declares that Drag Queen Story Hour is "the equivalent of pedophilia" and says parents who take their child to such an event "need to have their children taken away from them." https://t.co/LT8LP6Xr6c pic.twitter.com/HwVYDz5MFQ
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) December 18, 2020
Jackson made headlines last month after claiming that the Bible was his “vaccine” against COVID-19 — only to subsequently contract the virus.
He has a long history of opposing LGBTQ equality and making anti-LGBTQ statements. In February this year, Jackson used an anti-gay term to refer to former President Barack Obama, calling him “effete” and “light in the loafers” — a derogatory term for gay men.
He also claimed that LGBTQ people hate Donald Trump because he’s “just too much of a man for them.”
“I’m convinced that a lot of this criticism of the president also has to do with his masculinity,” Jackson said. “[Trump is] a man, and you know the left doesn’t like manhood.”
Last year, Jackson opposed an openly gay judge nominated to a federal appeals court by Trump, saying that gay people couldn’t be judges because they can’t be “fair or objective.”
Speaking on his radio show, Jackson said that a “normal man” would be “disgusted by the idea of two men kissing each other on the mouth,” adding, “Yeah, they want a homocracy, in which they get to dictate to everybody what you can and cannot say.”
In 2017, while campaigning for the U.S. Senate, Jackson claimed to “regret” using anti-gay rhetoric, after facing criticism over his past rhetoric.
“I regret using any words that hurt people or that make people think I hate them, or that make people think I look down on them,” he said.
Jackson had previously linked homosexuality to pedophilia and called gays and lesbians “perverted,” “degenerate” and “very sick” people.
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