Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, has come out in defense of President Donald Trump's executive order that places a temporary halt on refugees from seven different countries entering the United States.
Jeffress and Father Jonathan Morris, a Fox News contributor and Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of New York, agreed on a number of issues in a video segment on "Fox & Friends" posted on Sunday, though the priest suggested Trump can do more to signal he is willing to help suffering people and children.
Morris said that it would be the Christian thing to do "to welcome in those who are fleeing persecution," while agreeing with evangelical preacher the Rev. Franklin Graham, and with Jeffress, that "it's not the responsibility of the country to just let anybody in who wants to come in."
"In fact just the opposite — there is a responsibility to ensure that the levels of immigration are both safe and sustainable," Morris said.
Jeffress added that Trump is "exactly right in giving preference to persecuted minorities," responding to news that Christian refugees will be given preferential treatment over others, and pointed out that "only one half of 1 percent" of Syrian refugees who were granted asylum in the U.S. under former President Barack Obama were Christians.
The megachurch pastor further pointed out that Christians are the world's most heavily persecuted religious group, as Open Doors USA and other watchdog groups have reported, and said that Trump is "exactly on target" in "righting the wrong" of Obama not doing enough to help Christians.
While Morris agreed that Christians are indeed the most persecuted religion in the world, he added that "to go ahead and say that Trump is 100 percent right in this order, I think, is a mistake."
"The mistake, I think, was to make an indefinite ban on Syria for refugees," he said, adding that Trump needs to clarify how long Syrian refugees will be banned, and what is more, the priest urged the U.S. president to make special provision for children.
"Why doesn't Trump create adoption plans for children who are fleeing persecution?" Morris asked, adding that now is a great opportunity to do so.
Jeffress responded by arguing that Trump will indeed reveal that the ban is only temporary, until proper vetting is established, and suggested that extra protections for children could indeed be set up. The First Baptist Dallas pastor warned that America "will never be great again until it is safe again," echoing Trump's sentiments.
Back in September, Jeffress called out Obama on his plans to admit 110,000 refugees to the U.S. in 2017, plans that have since been suspended following Trump's executive order.
"First of all, these refugees, almost exclusively, are Muslims, not Christians or Jews. All of the recent homeland attacks have been committed by Muslims, not by Hindus, Jews or Christians. It may be politically incorrect to say, but it is nevertheless true that a terrorist today is exponentially more likely to be a Muslim than a Christian," Jeffress said at the time.
"Why in the world would we allow undocumented Muslims to come into this country right now?" he asked.
"Obama's policy is not rooted in Christianity, it's rooted in insanity," he added.