Posts Tagged ‘Robert Jeffress’

Controversial Perry backer Jeffress has closer ties to U.S. Senate candidate Leppert

Posted on: October 21st, 2011 by Mary Tuma No Comments

A controversial Texas pastor who recently endorsed Texas Gov. Rick Perry in his run for the presidency, has also championed former Dallas mayor Tom Leppert’s bid for the U.S. Senate.

As the American Independent reported, Robert Jeffress, a senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Dallas, got behind the Perry presidency at the Values Voter Summit last week, for his anti-abortion legislation and “strong commitment to biblical values,” igniting backlash and censure, particularly for his comments characterizing Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith as a “cult.”

Jeffress’ endorsement of Perry put the presidential hopeful in the hot seat, as he faced calls to denounce the pastor’s remarks. Jeffress has a record of condemning Catholicism, asserting that Mormons, Muslims, Jews and gays are destined for hell, and saying gays are promiscuous and manipulative, according to Right Wing Watch. He has also sought to ban books about gay parents and has suggested Islam is an “evil” and “violent” religion that “promotes pedophilia,” according to Media Matters for America.

On the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 late last month, Jeffress took the opportunity to deliver a doomsday sermon http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2011/09/robert_jeffress_of_first_bapti_1.php”>proclaiming that “America’s demise is inevitable” — a fate that he said could at least be slowed by spreading Christianity. Jeffress told TAI he stands by his words, saying, “I believe America’s days are numbered, because the world’s days are numbered.” But, he cautioned, America can delay its inevitable collapse by following Christ’s teachings.

“It could be another hundred years,” he said.

The Perry endorsement prompted the watchdog group Americans United for Church and State to call on the IRS to investigate whether or not Jeffress violated federal tax law with a video endorsement posted on the church Web site.

While Jeffress’ comments riled up more complaints about Perry’s religious ties, little criticism has been sent Leppert’s way, as he vies for the next-biggest prize Texans are chasing in 2012. Leppert’s ties to Jeffress are much closer, and date farther back, than Perry’s.

Months ago, Jeffress threw his support behind Leppert at the aptly named “Pastors for Leppert,”, where he’s quoted as saying:

“I am personally and enthusiastically supporting Tom Leppert for the office of United States Senator from Texas. At this critical juncture in our nation’s history, it is imperative that we have leaders who possess tested leadership skills and an unwavering commitment to Jesus Christ. Tom Leppert has both. As the former CEO of Turner Construction Company, Tom understands the importance of sound fiscal policy. During the past four years as mayor of the city of Dallas, Tom demonstrated his ability to bring together warring factions to accomplish great things for our city. As Tom’s pastor, I know of his deep faith in Jesus Christ. His first act as mayor was to reinstate prayer at our city council meetings.”

“Never has the need been greater for competent and godly leadership in Washington D.C. I encourage you to join me in supporting Tom Leppert for United States Senator from Texas.”

Jeffress is not only backing Leppert’s senate bid, but has, for years, been Leppert’s pastor at First Baptist Dallas. Leppert helped Jeffress preside over a ceremonial demolition of the First Baptist complex, on the way to a $115 million makeover, the Dallas Observer reported.

In light of Jeffress’ anti-gay rhetoric and the church’s anti-gay history, Leppert’s association with the pastor drew criticism from Dallas’ LGBT community in 2009, when he was mayor of the city. The former mayor tasked his openly gay chief of staff with passing along his response to the complaints:

“During my time as Mayor I have made a point of reaching out to and including all communities in our diverse City and I am very proud of my record. Where my family attends church is a personal matter and one that is entered into prayerfully. My tenure as Mayor should be judged by MY actions, the tone that I have set for the City and a sincere concern for those less fortunate. I will always strive to serve with a humble heart.”

Emails show effort by evangelical Perry supporters to promote anti-Mormon rhetoric

Posted on: October 17th, 2011 by Mary Tuma 2 Comments

While Texas Gov. Rick Perry distances himself from controversial remarks made by Dallas pastor and recent Perry endorser Robert Jeffress, calling Mormonism a “cult,” an email exchange obtained by The Daily Beast shows evangelical Perry backers are taking up the anti-Mormon message against Perry’s GOP challenger Mitt Romney.

David Lane, an influential evangelical activist with political and personal ties to Perry, writes in the emails about the importance of “juxtaposing traditional Christianity to the false God of Mormonism,” and calls for a “clarion call to Evangelical pastors and pews” that will be “the key to the primary” for Perry.

In dialogue with Dick Bott, head of a Christian talk radio network, Lane praised the host for conducting a sympathetic and defensive interview with Jeffress on his show. (“What would anyone think if a candidate were a Scientologist?” Bott wrote. “Shouldn’t they want to know what the implications were that may flow therefrom?”)

Lane replied, “Thank you for what you are doing and for your leadership. Getting out Dr. Jeffress [sic] message, juxtaposing traditional Christianity to the false god of Mormonism, is very important in the larger scheme of things.” Lane continues, “We owe Dr. Jeffress a big thank you,” and calls the media criticism of the pastor’s remarks a “a stroke of luck.”

Making his opposition to Romney clear, Lane expressed his intentions to work against the GOP candidate while aiding Perry to the nomination through energizing the evangelical pulpit and pews to vote.

Perry has called the attention to Jeffress’ remarks a “sideshow,” and said he did not agree with the statement. His campaign spokesperson Mark Miner responded to The Daily Beast’s emails by saying, “Based on what you’ve provided this appears to be a private conversation that has nothing to do with our campaign.”

The site points out that, according to the campaign’s most recent FEC report, Lane isn’t on Perry’s payroll.

While he may not be generating income from the Perry campaign, Lane’s ties to the Texas governor run deep. He recently served as a key organizer and national finance chairman to Perry’s controversial prayer rally The Response, which proved to be the first step in a conservative Christian mobilization drive. The Response was not the first time Lane publicly backed the potential GOP nominee, either — during Perry’s 2007 reelection effort, Lane headed the Texas Restoration Project, a series of pastor-based meetings that featured no other prospective candidate but Perry.

Lane also was involved with a set of secretive meetings held by right-wing Christian leaders held in Texas over the summer, strategy sessions geared at unseating President Barack Obama in 2012. Perry was declared “anointed to lead,” at those meetings, according to reports later.

Described by the media as anything from a right-wing kingmaker to a “stealth weapon for the religious right,” Lane is most noted for organizing nationwide Pastor Policy Briefings, meetings orchestrated to promote voting among the evangelical base. With the financial backing of the Christian conservative American Family Association — a Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate group — Lane has brought together a cast of rotating evangelical figures, conservative Republican candidates and some 10,000 pastors, at meetings in at least 14 states across the country.

As the Texas Independent reported, Lane extended a speaking invitation to Perry for his upcoming October pastor policy event in Florida.

In a rare interview, the reclusive Lane talked to the Texas Independent about his contempt for secular judges and his fear that America is slipping away from conservative Christian values.

Anita Perry says husband has been ‘brutalized’ for faith

Posted on: October 13th, 2011 by The American Independent 1 Comment

Texas First Lady Anita Perry minced few words while speaking in South Carolina Thursday. Her husband and 2012 GOP hopeful, Rick Perry, she said, has been “brutalized.” (more…)

Texas pastor and Perry endorser Jeffress has violated tax laws, says Americans United

Posted on: October 12th, 2011 by The American Independent No Comments

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State believes a controversial Texas pastor who posted videos of himself endorsing Gov. Rick Perry for president on his church’s website has violated federal tax laws.

(more…)

‘Morning in America’ host to Jeffress: ‘You did Rick Perry no good, sir’

Posted on: October 8th, 2011 by Sofia Resnick No Comments

Bill Bennett, radio host of “Morning in America,” censured Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress during his comments at Saturday’s Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., criticizing the pastor for statements he made against presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s religion.

On Friday, Jeffress told TAI: “When the smoke clears it is going to be a Perry-Romney fight, and those of us in the evangelical community prefer a Christian incompetent leader to a competent non-Christian leader,” implying that because former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is a Mormon, he is not a Christian.

He made similar comments to other members of the press.

Friday night Jeffress went on Focal Point with American Family Institute’s Bryan Fischer and said that, because Romney is a Mormon, he is not “true, born again follower of Christ.” He called Mormonism a cult and said that only Perry would be able to defeat “the most pro-homosexual, most pro-abortion president in history.”

Bennett told today’s audience not to “give voice to bigotry” like Jeffress.

“You stepped on and obscured the words of Perry and Santorum and Cain and Bachmann and everyone else that spoke here,” Bennett said. “You did rick Perry no good sir.”

Watch: Jeffress on Bryan Fischer’s Focal Point:

At Values Voter Summit, controversial Texas pastor endorses Perry

Posted on: October 7th, 2011 by Sofia Resnick 6 Comments

Image by Matt MahurinUPDATED Oct. 8, with reaction from Planned Parenthood

Controversial Texas pastor Robert Jeffress introduced presidential candidate Rick Perry to the stage at this year’s Values Voter Summit, telling a jam-packed ballroom that the Texas governor deserves the presidency because he has a “strong commitment to biblical values.” (more…)