Megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress, who has accused GOP candidate and Mormon Mitt Romney of being a member of a cult, has said he would "hold his nose" and vote for Romney over President Barack Obama if left with such a choice in the 2012 presidential elections.
The pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas has been making the cable news rounds to elaborate on his comments about his belief that Mormonism is a cult. On Friday, Jeffress caught the attention of the media when he said: "In my estimation Mormonism is a cult and it would give credence to a cult to have a Mormon candidate…Every true born-again follower of Christ ought to embrace a Christian over a non-Christian."
"We have a privilege and a duty as Christians to select and prefer Christians as our leaders…Those of us who are evangelical Christians have every right to prefer and select a confident Christian over a confident non-Christian," he said Saturday on CNN.
Jeffress, who has been making the cable news rounds since sparking controversy with his comments, also appeared on Fox News to talk about his opinion on Romney's religion.
"Mormonism was invented 1800 years after Jesus Christ and the founding of Christianity, and it has its own founder, Joseph Smith, its own set of doctrines and its own book, the Book of Mormon," Jeffress said. "And that, by definition, is a theological cult, that's all I'm saying."
Despite his strong opinion of Mormonism being a non-Christian cult and that, as an evangelical, he has a duty to vote for Christians over non-Christians, Jeffress told CNN's Chris Matthews on Monday that he would nonetheless "hold his nose and vote for Romney" if Romney runs against the Obama in 2012.
"The reason I would probably select Mitt Romney over Barack Obama is, I do think being an evangelical, or Christian is important, but it's not the only criteria by which we select a leader. I personally would rather have a non-Christian like Mitt Romney who embraces principles than Barack Obama," he said.
Jeffress, who has been an outspoken supporter of Rick Perry for the GOP nomination, told The Christian Post that he believes the Texas governor will win the Republican primary.
"I believe that eventually it will come down to a choice between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, and I think a confident Christian like Rick Perry has a consistent record of conservative values," he said.