Pastor Robert Jeffress has hit back against HBO host Bill Maher's claims that Christians are not being marginalized in the U.S., by pointing out that Nazi Germany also did not send Jewish people to the crematoriums right away during World War II.
"I want to remind people that the Nazis weren't able to take the Jews to the crematoriums immediately. The German people wouldn't have allowed for it. Instead, the Nazis had to change public opinion. They marginalized the Jewish people, disparaged them, and made them objects of contempt," Jeffress said in an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News Monday night.
Jeffress added that Christians are being targeted in cases where they're losing their businesses because of their belief in traditional marriage, or being punished for publicly expressing their faith — such as the court-martialing of a Marine in May for refusing to remove Bible verses from her desk at work.
"This isn't imaginary, it's real," the senior pastor of First Baptist Church Dallas asserted.
"It doesn't rise to the level of having their head chopped off by ISIS in the Middle East, but it's all the same attitude that allows for those attacks."
When asked by Hannity if Christians are being marginalized the way Jewish people were in Nazi Germany, Jeffress said:
"Absolutely. They are being marginalized right now, treated as objects of contempt by the media. And once that happens, then the taking away of further rights will be very easy."
The persecution of Jewish people in Nazi Germany gave way to the Holocaust, where close to 6 million Jewish people were killed between 1941 and 1945.
Late last week Maher slammed conservative politicians for "whining" about Christianity being under attack in America.
He said that "conservatives who constantly whine that Christianity is under attack from liberals have to explain why there are over 300,000 churches in the U.S., but only 400 Whole Foods."
Maher argued that while Christians "love to feel persecuted," they are "a long way from getting eaten by lions in the Coliseum."
A number of GOP 2016 Presidential hopefuls, such as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, have also warned that Christianity is being marginalized in the U.S.
"There is a liberal fascism that is dedicated to going after believing Christians who follow the biblical teaching on marriage," Cruz said back in April.
Jeffress has previously claimed that society's growing acceptance of homosexuality is paving the path for the Antichrist.
In February, Jeffress said that such acceptance, alongside other signs like the rise of radical Islam and the increase in the persecution of Christians across the world, are like "labor pains" signaling the second coming of Jesus.
"The Bible says that Jesus said that in Matthew 24:36 that no man knows the day or the hour," he said in an interview. "Jesus said that there are certain signs that will precede His coming and those signs will be like labor pains that a woman experiences."