If Gov. Rick Perry retains any hope of being president he will denounce the Rev. Robert Jeffress as a bigot in no uncertain words. He should do it before the debate Tuesday night.
It’s not enough that Perry’s spokesman said the governor didn’t share Jeffress’s view that Mormonism is a cult. After the way Jeffress unloaded, both in his introduction of Perry at the Values Voters Summit and afterword in remarks to the press, the public needs to hear from the candidate himself.
Jeffress, senior pastor of the 10,000 member First Baptist Church of Dallas, said publicly and boldly some evangelicals have been saying privately. Polling shows that more than 20 percent of Republicans say they would not vote for a Mormon for president and Jeffress told them they were right: “I think Romney is a good moral person but those of us who are born-again followers of Christ should prefer a competent Christian….Between a Rick Perry and a Mitt Romney I believe evangelicals need to go with Rick Perry.” Later, speaking with reporters after Perry’s address, he was more direct: “Mormonism is not Christianity. It’s not politically correct to say, but Mormonism is a cult.”
Jeffress did allow that Romney was “a fine family person.” But “it is only faith in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone that qualifies you as a Christian.” And presumably as a president as well “Do we want a candidate who is a good moral person, or one who is a born-again follower of the Lord Jesus Christ?" he asked. (Can't you be both?) “In Rick Perry we have a candidate who is a committed follower of Christ.”
Listen to Jeffress’s views on some other religions: “Islam is an oppressive religion. Here is the deep dark secret…it promotes pedophilia, sex with children. For Christians, the worst thing about Islam is that it is a false religion that leads people away from God to spend an eternity in hell. And I believe that as Christians and conservatives it’s time to take off the gloves and to tell people the truth about this evil, evil religion.”
There’s more. “Homosexuality is an abomination to God. ...Islam is wrong, it is a heresy from the pit of hell; Mormonism is wrong, it is a heresy from the pit of hell; Judaism, you can’t be saved being a Jew. You know who said that, by the way. All three of the greatest Jews in the New Testament: Peter, Paul and Jesus. They all said, Judaism won’t do. It’s faith in Jesus Christ.”
This guy is one sermon away from burning the Koran.
It’s not that Perry – who reportedly approved Jeffress as his introducer — was not aware of his views. In August, Perry hosted “The Response,” a huge prayer gathering in which Jeffress was a partner. Another partner was the Rev. C. Peter Wagner of “The New Apostolic Reformation, who told Terry Gross of NPR's Fresh Air this past week that a tsunami struck Japan because the emperor of Japan had sex with the sun goddess, a power of darkness belonging to the Kingdom of Satan. “The Sun Goddess wants natural disasters to come to Japan,” he said. “Sometimes the hand of God, which is more powerful will prevent them and when he decides to prevent them and when he doesn’t is far beyond anything we can predict.”
If people can be judged by whom they associate with, then Perry is in deep trouble. Candidate Barack Obama realized this in 2008 when he denounced the controversial words of his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. It was one of the finest moments of his campaign.
It’s time for Perry to “take off the gloves” and really sock it to Jeffress. You can’t have a president tolerating this kind of hate speech, much less consorting with those who spew it.
Sally Quinn | Oct 10, 2011 3:58 PM