"Virginia GOP Nominee Says Federal Disaster Relief Is Unconstitutional"
Bishop E.W. Jackson, the Republican nominee to be the next Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, does not believe that victims of the Oklahoma tornado should receive any federal aid to help them rebuild their lives. In video from a previous campaign first posted by Right Wing Watch, Jackson claims that federal relief to disaster victims is unconstitutional:
JACKSON: I don’t think that the federal government has much of a role at all constitutionally, at all [in disaster relief]. Now, you may make an argument that it does. You might argue that it’s a national security issue you might argue that it weakens us in the event of some sort of national military emergency. So you can make an attenuated argument. But I think that as a constitutional matter the federal government doesn’t have a whole lot to do with that. In my view, these are things that are ultimately supposed to be handled by the states. And, so, we’ve got a big Tenth Amendment problem in our country. . . . We’ve turned the federal government into a kind of god.
Disaster relief is not an attempt to steal power from God. To the contrary, it is the just response of a nation sensitive to the lesson of 1 John 3:17, which reads that “if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?”
It is also entirely consistent with the Constitution. The Constitution gives the United States broad authority to “lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.” Ensuring that all Americans can rebuild their lives in the wake of a major national disaster is a classic example of using federal revenues to provide for the general welfare.
While Jackson’s view of the Constitution is wrong, it is not surprising giving the range of unusual views he’s expressed in the past. Jackson believes that Planned Parenthood is “more lethal to black lives than the KKK ever was.” He thinks that the original Constitution’s Three-Fifths Clause, which gave slave states additional representation in the U.S. House by allowing them to count 60 percent of their slave population when congressional seats were apportioned among the states, was “an anti-slavery amendment.” He accused Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) of faking his faith. And he believes that being gay “poisons culture, it destroys families, it destroys societies; it brings the judgment of God unlike very few things that we can think of.”