Robert Jeffress: 'Namby-Pamby' Christians Should 'Get Off the Fence' and Vote Trump; 'At Least He Likes Us'
Baptist megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress is talking tough to Christians still opposed to Donald Trump as he marches ever closer to the Republican nomination.
To Jeffress, Christians who fail to cast a ballot for Trump are simply "weak," "namby-pamby" and too "proud" because they "can't get over the fact that their candidate didn't win" in the Republican primary.
According to Mark 3:25, "If a house is divided against itself, it cannot stand," and the outspoken Texas pastor is telling Christians to "get off the fence" and "vote their convictions" on Election Day in the fall.
Jeffress conceded that Trump is "not exactly like us," but added, "at least he likes us," referring to evangelical Christians.
Many evangelical leaders, like Southern Baptist Convention ethicist Russell Moore and Eric Teetsel, former faith advisor to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R), stand opposed to Trump, others, like Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr., and Dallas megachurch Pastor Robert Jeffress, are strong supporters of the brash billionaire.
In fact, according to Jeffress, the November election is about much more than Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. In his mind, it's a showdown between good and evil.
"This is not a battle between Republicans and Democrats," Jeffress said last week during a radio interview with host Rick Wiles. "It's a battle between good and evil, righteousness and unrighteousness, light and darkness."
However, many Christians claim they just can't get behind Trump, who has in the past spoken very inappropriately about women and been criticized for his unabashed comments about Mexicans and his proposed ban on Muslim immigration, because of their own moral convictions.
"After being with Mr. Trump over the last year on many occasions, I can tell you, if he becomes president, evangelical Christians will have a true friend in the White House," Jeffress counters.
Jeffress went on to say that, unlike current President Barack Obama, whom he said "hates" conservative Christians, Trump will be an advocate for religious liberty and will "appoint conservative justices to the Supreme Court."
"This isn't about partisan politics," he insisted. "This is about good and evil."
Jeffress, 60, was one of Trump's earliest evangelical backers and has become one of the most prominent Christian supporter of the presumptive GOP nominee's campaign. He pastors the 12,000-member First Baptist Church and has suggested conservative believers who don't vote for Trump are "fools."
Though he insists he has not officially endorsed the New York real estate developer, he did tell the Dallas Observer earlier this year that he wants "the meanest, toughest son of a gun I can find" to serve as president.
Jeffress is a member of Trump's newly formed evangelical advisory board, which boasts 26 members. The board was unveiled following Trump's large June meeting with nearly 1,000 evangelical leaders.
Johnnie Moore, an author and prominent Christian leader, also serves on the advisory board and told Deseret News that he was "really struck" by the "certain humility [Trump] exhibited in his interaction with these leaders."
Also during Jeffress' radio interview with Wiles, who attended the larger gathering, the church leader recounted a moment from the initial meeting Trump held with his advisory board.
"Somebody asked Trump, 'Well, what are you going to do about religious liberty and so forth and so forth?' And Trump was very respectful, but he said, 'You know what, to be blunt, the reason we're in this shape as a nation is because of people like you all around this table,'" Jeffress recounted.
The pastor went on to say Trump told the group that evangelical leaders have allowed the country to "get into the shape that it's in" by not "speaking out" more politically.
New polling last week revealed 51 percent of Republican voters wish they had a different nominee, according to Fox News, but in April, Jeffress predicted a "massive boycott" if the GOP does not nominate Trump.
"I'm going to predict that if the establishment somehow wrestles this nomination away from Trump, even though the rules allow for it," he said, "I think you're going to see a massive boycott."