Robert Jeffress, a Texas megachurch pastor and a top evangelical ally to President Trump, responded to Trump’s threat to rain down “fire and fury” on North Korea yesterday by issuing a statement declaring that “God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong Un.”
Jeffress was one of the first conservative evangelical leaders to figure out that they could help dictate Trump’s policy decisions as long as they kept on telling him that he was chosen by God to lead the United States. Trump was thrilled by Jeffress’ early support for his presidential campaign, bringing him along to a number of campaign events and naming him to his evangelical advisory board.
In turn, Jeffress provided Trump with a steady stream of theological justifications for his policies, characterizing his race against Hillary Clinton as “a battle between good and evil” and claiming that the Bible mandates a “strongman” like Trump at the head of government. After Trump won the election, Jeffress declared that God had “intervened” to put him in the White House. Trump invited Jeffress to preach at a service on the morning of his inauguration, where Jeffress found biblical backing for Trump’s call to build a wall on the Mexican border and his war against the “mainstream media.”
Since then, Jeffress has been among the Religious Right leaders who have been invited to the White House multiple times. Last month, he joined fellow evangelical allies of Trump in issuing statements defending Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner against allegations of collusions with Russian government representatives in the election.
Before he became a leading proponent of the Gospel of Donald Trump, Jeffress was known for his fiery rhetoric against Catholics, Mormons, Muslims, LGBT people and legal abortion.
In a 2015 speech to Liberty University, Jeffress offered some other thoughts on national security, saying that God let the 9/11 attacks happen to punish America for legalizing abortion:
Last year, Brian ran through some of Jeffress’ other beliefs:
Jeffress made waves in the last presidential election when, after endorsing Rick Perry, he told Christians that they shouldn’t vote for Mitt Romney because of his Mormon faith, which wasn’t too surprising since he once blasted Mormonism as “a cult” from “the pit of hell.”
Jeffress has similarly stated that Satan created Roman Catholicism, declared that Jews, Mormons, Muslims and gay people are all destined for hell and maintained that President Obama “is paving the way for the future reign of the Antichrist.”
No fan of the gay community, Jeffress believes that gays and lesbians are “perverse” people who are either pedophiles or likely to abuse children in the future; compared homosexuality to bestiality and called it “a miserable lifestyle”; accused gay people of using “brainwashing techniques” to have homosexuality “crammed down our throats”; said that gay people “are engaged in the most detestable, unclean, abominable acts you can imagine”; predicted that the gay rights movement “will pave the way for that future world dictator, the Antichrist”; and labeled homosexuality a “filthy practice” that will lead to the “implosion of our country.”