A prominent evangelical pastor sent by President Trump last year to the open the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem claimed that Christian followers of Trump have “deeper convictions” than other devotees.
Robert Jeffress, the anti-gay pastor of First Baptist Dallas Church, appeared on Fox & Friends to discuss a new poll which found a decrease in the number of people who call themselves Evangelicals.
Jeffress argued that the 1.4 percent drop in the number of Evangelicals from 2016 means that those respondents are more devoted than ever because they are choosing to check the box.
“50 years ago people felt compelled to check the Baptist, or Catholic, or Protestant box even though they didn’t embrace those beliefs personally, just to be thought of as a good person,” he said. “As our culture is becoming increasingly secular, I think people feel more honest to say what they really believe or don’t believe.”
Jeffress then claimed that churches are still growing rapidly despite what the polling found.
“Churches like mine that are teaching the bible, we’re growing furiously,” the pastor explained. “We cover six blocks of downtown Dallas, we’ve had two building programs in six years, it’s not because people are attracted to me, but in an ever-changing world people are craving the never-changing truth of God’s word.”
When asked whether Trump should be concerned about the dropping evangelical rates considering the group was a key part in getting him elected in 2016, Jeffress responded pointed to the “good news” Pew Research poll which found that “70 percent of evangelicals continue to support President Trump.”
“Even though the evangelical number has dropped as a whole, the number of evangelicals turning out at the ballot box is greater than other groups, and it’s because evangelicals have deeper convictions,” Jeffress said. “They believe in absolute moral and spiritual truth, and they tend to vote those convictions at the ballot box.”
Last year, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith highlighted the past controversial claims made Jeffress, noting that he has said “all Jews are going to hell,” and “Islam is a false religion.”
“One of the men who gave a prayer before the ceremony in Jerusalem today says he believes all Jews are going to hell,” Smith told his viewers.
“Robert Jeffress is the pastor at the first Baptist church in Dallas. His views on other religious groups, and Judaism, as well as the LGBT community, are well-documented,” he continued.
“Among those railing against the decision to include him is Gov. Mitt Romney,” said Smith, who then highlighted the former Massachusetts governor and Utah Senate candidate’s tweet about Jeffress.
In that tweet, Romney wrote: “Robert Jeffress says ‘you can’t be saved by being a Jew,’ and ‘Mormonism is a heresy from the pit of hell.’ He’s said the same about Islam. Such a religious bigot should not be giving the prayer that opens the United States Embassy in Jerusalem.
Robert Jeffress says “you can’t be saved by being a Jew,“ and “Mormonism is a heresy from the pit of hell.” He’s said the same about Islam. Such a religious bigot should not be giving the prayer that opens the United States Embassy in Jerusalem.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) May 14, 2018
“Jeffress said Mormonism has never been part of Christianity. Islam is a false religion and if you follow the tenants of it, you will end up in hell when you die,” he said. “He’s accused gays of being engaged in the most unclean acts you can imagine and said the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality is the greatest, most historic landmark blunder ever in the court’s history,”
“Reporters at the White House briefing today asked why he was chosen to bless this event,” he added. “The spokesman [Raj Shah] said the pastor has a longstanding relationship with people on both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill and his remarks are one with which the president does not disagree.”
“Full disclosure, [Robert] Jeffress is a Fox News contributor,” Smith concluded.