One of President Trump’s evangelical advisers, who preached the morning of his inauguration, has released a statement saying the president has the moral authority to “take out” North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and cited a specific Bible verse which he says has given the government authority to deal with evildoers.
“When it comes to how we should deal with evildoers, the Bible, in the book of Romans, is very clear: God has endowed rulers full power to use whatever means necessary — including war — to stop evil,” said Texas megachurch pastor, Robert Jeffress, one of the country’s most extreme and notorious homophobic preachers who has previously claimed that gay people are likely to sexually abuse children. “In the case of North Korea, God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong Un.”
Jeffress explained in a phone interview that he was compelled to speak out after Trump warned North Korea on Tuesday that continued threats against the United States will be “met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
The preacher said that the biblical passage Romans 13 gives the government authority to deal with evildoers.
“That gives the government … the authority to do whatever, whether it’s assassination, capital punishment or evil punishment to quell the actions of evildoers like Kim Jong Un,” he said.
Jeffress acknowledged that many pacifist Christians will cite Romans 12, which says, “Do not repay evil for evil,” but he says that the President should ignore that passage because it refers to Christians, not to the government.
“A Christian writer asked me, ‘Don’t you want the president to embody the Sermon on the Mount?’ ” he said, referring to Jesus’s sermon. “I said absolutely not.”
The Washington Post adds:
In his sermon on the morning of Trump’s inauguration in January, Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist Dallas, compared Trump to the story of the biblical leader Nehemiah, who helped rebuild the city of Jerusalem.
The first step of rebuilding the nation, Jeffress said, was the building of a wall around Jerusalem to protect its citizens. “You see, God is not against building walls,” Jeffress said in his sermon at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington.
Jeffress is no stranger to controversy. He has said in the past that former president Barack Obama paved the way for the Antichrist and drew wide attention for calling Mormonism a cult during the 2012 Republican primaries. Jeffress knows his comments on North Korea could be considered controversial, even among fellow evangelicals. His megachurch in Dallas is a prominent Southern Baptist church, one where evangelist Billy Graham had membership for many years. In 2016, the church reported an average weekly attendance of about 3,700.
“I think many evangelicals, like most Americans, really don’t pay attention to global affairs,” Jeffress said. “I believe we’re all going to be forced to soon if North Korea isn’t dealt with decisively.”
Speaking on his radio show, Jeffress claimed: “Some gay activists don’t even try to hide the link between homosexuality and pedophilia. There are some who are right now are actively involved in trying to legalize sex between adults and children by lowering the age of consent or removing it altogether.”
“It would be wrong to even suggest that a majority of homosexuals are pedophiles, but the truth nevertheless is there. There are a disproportionate amount of assaults against children by homosexuals than by heterosexuals, you can’t deny that, and the reason is very clear: homosexuality is perverse, it represents a degradation of a person’s mind and if a person will sink that low and there are no restraints from God’s law, then there is no telling to whatever sins he will commit as well.”
In February 2015, he was quoted as saying the gay rights movement “will pave the way for that future world dictator, the Antichrist, to persecute and martyr Christians without any repercussions whatsoever.”
In May 2016, Jeffress celebrated his state’s leaders’ decision to refuse to comply with President Barack Obama’s directive to create more accessibility for transgender students in public schools, saying “it’s time for an all-out rebellion against this absolute tyranny of the Obama administration.”
“It comes down to money, Todd, that’s what it’s about,” he said. “And when states are being faced with the loss of business, they tend to fold real quickly. And I’ve said often that the greatest threat to freedom of religion in America is not ISIS, it’s the Chamber of Commerce. I mean, it’s the businesses that say to our representatives, ‘Oh, don’t pass laws like that, don’t pass these religious freedom laws because people will interpret that as anti-gay and we’ll lose business.’”
Jeffress said he believed “our culture will get increasingly darker,” adding that the decision was “ultimately irrelevant” after the Supreme Court’s landmark same-sex marriage ruling.
“The Judge of all of the universe has already issued His decision: marriage should be reserved for one man and one woman. And there is no appealing that verdict,” he responded.