Donald Trump has once again joined up with Texas pastor Robert Jeffress, this time inviting Jeffress to introduce him at an event at a Christian college in Iowa over the weekend.
“It’s becoming something of a regular gig: Jeffress, you may recall, also intro’d Trump at his American Airlines Center rally in September. And when he’s not introducing Trump, Jeffress is laying hands on the man,” Robert Wilsonsky of The Dallas Morning News wrote, noting that Trump has returned the favor by lavishing praise on Jeffress…for boasting about Trump.
Jeffress insists that his appearances don’t amount to an official endorsement, but has said that Trump has the best chance of defeating a Democratic opponent and “could be a very effective president of the United States.”
However, courting Jeffress’ support didn’t end well for the last Republican presidential candidate who tried it: Rick Perry.
Perry, then the governor of Texas, drew flak for embracing Jeffress during his 2012 presidential campaign, particularly after Jeffress criticized Mitt Romney for his Mormon faith when he introduced Perry at the Values Voter Summit. Jeffress also declared that a Mormon president would cause God to judge America and that Mormons, Muslims, Jews and most Catholics are destined for hell.
The megachurch pastor also claimed that Satan is behind Roman Catholicism.
Jeffress has warned that the gay rights movement “will pave the way for that future world dictator, the Antichrist, to persecute and martyr Christians without any repercussions whatsoever,” and similarly declared that the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling signaled the coming of the Last Days. He even claimed that the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks represented God’s judgment for legal abortion, predicting that advances in gay rights would bring about similar forms of divine punishment.
As we previously noted:
He has described gays and lesbians as “perverse,” “miserable” and “abnormal” people who engage in an “unnatural” and “filthy practice” that will lead to the “implosion of our country.” Jeffress argues that the gay community employs Chinese “brainwashing techniques” in order to have homosexuality “crammed down our throats.”
While many Religious Right leaders are flocking to Ted Cruz, it seems that Trump is trying to win over his very own posse of extremist pastors.