- (Photo: Courtesy of First Baptist Dallas)
Speaking at the third annual "Washington: A Man of Prayer" event Wednesday, Pastor Robert Jeffress said that while members of Congress can debate immigration, healthcare and taxation policies, there are some issues that are beyond debate.
"Issues such as the value of life inside and outside the womb, the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, the right to religious freedom for every human being and the compassionate treatment of the poor. … For the Judge of the universe has already rendered His opinion," Jeffress said in Statuary Hall at the United States Capitol in Washington.
Jeffress, senior pastor of the 11,000-member First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, was joined by Fox News host and former Republican governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) at the event, which was held to commemorate "the events of April 30, 1789, when … President [George] Washington, accompanied by Congress, proceeded to St. Paul's Chapel where, as one of his first official acts, the president offered a prayer of dedication to God on America's behalf," according to the event website.
The first U.S. president "understood that there are eternal rules of order and right that God has established," because he specifically mentioned this in his first inaugural address, Jeffress highlighted.
"Washington also understood and voiced that no nation that disregards the commands of God can expect the blessing of God," he added. "We believe we live in an exceptional country. There is no such thing as American exceptionalism when it comes to the commands of Almighty God."
He continued: "God does not get goose bumps 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. Any nation that reverences God will be blessed by God, and any nation that rejects God and His Word will be rejected by God. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord."
"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,'" Jeffress recalled.
"In the 60 years since Chief Justice Warren spoke those words, great harm has come to the spiritual and moral infrastructure of our country. 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," he asserted.
His prayer, he said, is that Wednesday's prayer service and ceremony honoring the 225th inaugural anniversary of Washington "might be that desperately needed u-turn in our nation's spiritual direction." The Dallas pastor closed with a prayer for President Barack Obama, members of Congress and the Supreme Court and federal government employees.