Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said the evangelical pastor who will deliver a blessing at Monday’s US Embassy opening in Jerusalem is a “religious bigot” unfit for such an honor.
“Robert Jeffress says ‘you can’t be saved by being a Jew,’ and ‘Mormonism is a heresy from the pit of hell.’ He’s said the same about Islam,” Romney wrote on Twitter Sunday evening. “Such a religious bigot should not be giving the prayer that opens the United States Embassy in Jerusalem.”
Jeffress, the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas and a member of President Trump’s evangelical advisory board, has also called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints a “cult” and said Islam is “based on a false book” and “if you sincerely follow the tenets of Islam, then you will end up in hell when you die.”
In a 2011 sermon, Jeffress slammed the other religions besides Christianity.
“Not only do religions like Mormonism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism — not only do they lead people away from God, they lead people to an eternity of separation from God in Hell,” he said.
He denied Romney’s claim that he’s a bigot in a Tweet.
“Historic Christianity has taught for 2,000 years that salvation is through faith in Christ alone,” he wrote. “The fact that I, along with tens of millions of evangelical Christians around the world, continue to espouse that belief, is neither bigoted nor newsworthy.”
He also defended his comment about Mormonism, saying the Southern Baptist Convention has designated it a “cult.”
“Mormonism has never been considered a part of historic Christianity. People may disagree with that view, but it’s not a view unique to me,” Jeffress told NBC News.
Trump announced last December he would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocate the US Embassy there from Israel.
His daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, both White House advisers, are heading the delegation for the opening ceremony on Monday.
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