(CNN) – The Republican nominee for Virginia lieutenant governor smoked marijuana in his past but doesn't believe that yoga leads to Satanism.
Those were a few of the revelations that emerged at a press conference E.W. Jackson held Wednesday in Manassas, according to the Richmond Times Dispatch.
An African-American pastor and attorney from Chesapeake, Jackson was nominated to run for the number two spot at the commonwealth's GOP convention in May. After he was selected, Democrats began bringing Jackson's past statements into the limelight, seeking to discredit the conservative ticket, which includes gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli, the attorney general, at the top.
The National Journal published excerpts of a book Jackson wrote, including a passage where he 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."
Wednesday, he said firmly: ""I do not believe that yoga leads to Satanism."
"One of my ministers is a yoga instructor," he continued, according to the Times Dispatch. "What I said was that Christian meditation does not involve emptying oneself but filling oneself ... with the spirit of God. That is classic biblical Christianity."
The newspaper also reported that Jackson admitted to using marijuana when he was younger as well as other "controlled substances."
In the past, Jackson has also referred to gays and lesbians as "sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally." He said Wednesday his religious beliefs have been twisted and distorted and I'm not going to spend the campaign talking about these issues."