Dallas Pastor Robert Jeffress spoke yesterday at the “Washington: A Man of Prayer” convention celebrating the 225th anniversary of President George Washington’s inaugural address.
Jeffress began by citing a passage from George Washington’s first inaugural address: “We ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.”
George Washington understood that “there are ‘eternal rules of order and right’ that God Himself has established.”
“In this Capitol building,” Jeffress continued, “issues such as immigration policy, healthcare reform, taxation policy — all those things can and should be debated vigorously. But there are some issues that are beyond debate, for the judge of the universe has already rendered His opinion.”
Jeffress identified ‘the value of life inside and outside the womb,” “the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman,” and “the right to religious freedom” as three issues on which God has already rendered his verdict.
He then noted that the problem with America today, versus during Washington’s era, was that the nation has disregarded the settled nature of these debate because “we believe we live in an exceptional country.”
However, the pastor said, “there is no such thing as American exceptionalism when it comes to the commands of Almighty God. God does not get goosebumps when he hears ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.’ God does not stand up and salute when the American flag passes by.”
“God is no respecter of people or nations,” he continued. “Any nation that reverences God will be blessed by God, and any nation that rejects God and His Word will be rejected by God.”
“George Washington understood that,” Jeffress said. “One-hundred-and-seventy years after Washington first spoke those words at his first inauguration, the often-described liberal Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Earl Warren, said this in an interview in 1954: ‘I believe no one can read the history of our country without realizing the Good Book and the spirit of the Savior have from the beginning been our guiding geniuses. I like to believe that we are living today in the spirit of the Christian religion. I like also to believe that as long as we do so, no great harm can come to our country.’”
“In the 60 years since Chief Justice Warren spoke those words,” Jeffress continued, “‘great harm’ has come to the spiritual and moral infrastructure of our country. For we have departed from the spirit of the Christian religion. We have turned away from those eternal rules of order and right about which Washington spoke.”
“My prayer is,” Jeffress concluded, “that tonight’s prayer service might be that desperately needed change in the moral direction of our country.”
Watch Pastor Robert Jeffress’s entire speech below.
Scott Eric Kaufman is the proprietor of the AV Club's Internet Film School and, in addition to Raw Story, also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2008.
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