Southern Baptist Pastor Robert Jeffress tried to defend his reputation Monday evening on Fox News, where he is a paid contributor. Jeffress, who astonishingly was chosen to pray at Monday's opening celebration ceremony of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, has a long history of making vile and offensive remarks about other religions, including Judaism, and about LGBTQ people.
Yet on Fox News he tried to claim his remarks were taken out of context.
After Fox News host Shannon Bream confronted Jeffress with an accurate tweet from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Jeffress couldn't even deny that he made ugly remarks about people who observe the Mormon, Catholic, and Islamic religions, or about LGBTQ people.
But Jeffress did insist he has "never said anything derogatory about the Jewish people."
"Shannon, I want to be clear," Jeffress said. "I'm not a bigot. I'm not an extremist. I do without apology embrace the most historic belief of foundational Christianity. And that is, faith alone in Jesus Christ is the exclusive way to heaven."
Asked if he could understand why people are offended by his remarks, Jeffress told a tall tale.
"I think people many times take my statements out of context," Jeffress insisted. And then he chose to attack Mitt Romney for tweeting out accurate characterizations of Jeffress' remarks.
And in fact, Jeffress is not only a bigot, he is lying.
There is no way his remarks about Jews, Muslims, Mormons, and Catholics, not to mention LGBTQ people, can be seen in a positive light.
In a now infamous 2011 interview, Jeffress said, "every other religion in the world is wrong: Islam is wrong, it is a heresy from the pit of Hell; Mormonism is wrong, it is a heresy from the pit of Hell," and, "Judaism, you can’t be saved being a Jew."
He has also said Islam promotes pedophilia, and is "evil," "violent," and a "false" religion.
Jeffress also preaches that "homosexuality is an abomination," "is degrading," "is a degenerative practice," and is "detestable," "unclean," and "a perversion." Same-sex marriages, according to Jeffress, are "counterfeit" and "cheapen the value" of different-sex marriages.
Jeffress has also called Mormonism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam each a "cult." And "Muhammad was nothing but a blood-thirsty warlord."
In short, Jeffress says that if you're not a Christian – and a certain type of Christian – you're going to hell, as Right Wing Watch has documented.
NCRM was the first to report on Jeffress being chosen to pray at Monday's celebration in Jerusalem while linking him to his previous bigoted remarks.
The Dallas megachurch pastor who frequently appears on Fox News and, separately, hosts his own syndicated TV and radio shows that appear in well over 100 countries, serves on President Donald Trump's Evangelical Advisory Board and is a member of Trump's White House Faith Initiative.
The White House claims it has no idea how Jeffress was chosen, and did not condemn his previous remarks.