Dr. Robert Jeffress, who issued the controversial statement Friday that Mormonism is not Christianity and that Christians should not vote for Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential elections, told Fox News Monday that some people would like to see him as the "Jeremiah Wright of the right."
"There are people who would like to make me the Jeremiah Wright of the right or Rick Perry's Jeremiah Wright," Jeffress said in an interview with Fox News. "Rick Perry has never listened to a sermon of mine. He has certainly never been a member of my church. We’re just acquaintances."
Jeffress referred to the former pastor of President Barack Obama whose controversial statements, viewed as anti-American, raised many questions about Obama's relationship with Wright.
Jeffress said Friday that Christians should not vote for the former Massachusetts governor who is a Mormon. He denied to Fox that Perry's campaign had put him "up to this," and said it was the Family Research Council, not Perry's aides, that invited him to introduce the Texas governor during the weekend's Values Voter Summit, where he uttered the controversial statement after endorsing Perry as his favorable candidate.
Jeffress is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas. On Friday, he told The Christian Post that evangelical Christianity has, historically, "never embraced Mormonism as a branch of Christianity."
"Mormonism has always been treated as a cult," the Baptist minister said, adding that he considers Romney to be a moral and good person, but that he will vote for Perry as a Republican nominee because Perry is a "true Christian."
"A Christian is somebody who embraces the beliefs of historical Christianity," Jeffress told CP.
While Jeffress said evangelicals should "give preference" to a Christian when voting, he also told Fox that in a choice between Romney and President Obama, he would vote for Romney. "I personally would rather have a non-Christian like Mitt Romney who at least embraces some biblical principles than a professing Chrisitan like Barack Obama who embraces unbiblical principles."
Wright, also known as "the Obama pastor," is the former pastor of Chicago's megachurch, Trinity United Church of Christ. His infamous and allegedly anti-American phrases weaved into his sermons, like "Not God bless America, God damn America," earned him negative press in 2008, as well as Obama negative press, during the presidential campaign.