Texas megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress has voiced his support for President Donald Trump's tough foreign policy efforts, stating that an "eye for an eye" is an "effective way to run a country."
The head of First Baptist Church of Dallas and a longtime supporter of President Trump, Jeffress appeared on Lou Dobbs Tonight on the Fox Business Channel last Friday.
Jeffress spoke positively about the Trump administration putting pressure on the Republic of Turkey over imprisoning American Pastor Andrew Brunson.
"[Trump] believes that to attack one American is to attack all Americans," said Jeffress. "It seemed like for decades we walked around as a country with a 'kick me' sign on us, inviting countries to attack us without recrimination. Well, those days are over."
"The president believes in 'an eye for an eye' and 'a tooth for a tooth.' And while that's a lousy way to run your personal relationships, it's a pretty effective way to run a country."
In April, 2016, when running for office, Trump said his favorite Bible verse was "an eye for an eye," an often quoted passage found in Exodus 21:24. Trump seemed unaware, however, of Jesus' words in Matthew 5:38-39, "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also."
Responding to Trump's remark at the time, Dr. Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary, told The Christian Post, "My guess would be it would never be a gamble to overestimate Donald Trump's knowledge of Scripture. My guess is that he either does not know about Jesus' admonition to turn the other cheek, he has forgotten it, or just impulsively quoted the first thing that came to mind, which was the 'eye for and eye' quote. Much of what Trump says seems to be impulsive and spur of the moment sort of stream of consciousness rhetoric."
Host Lou Dobbs also asked Jeffress his opinion on the upcoming Senate hearing on Trump Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, presently scheduled for next month.
Jeffress told Dobbs that he believed that Kavanaugh will be confirmed and "by a wider margin than many people expect."
"I believe that these hearings are going to be a giant reminder to the American people why they don't want the Democrats in charge of anything," continued Jeffress.
"You're going to see the Democrats try to 'Bork' Kavanaugh, make fools of themselves doing so. And I think it's actually going to energize people to turn out for the midterms as well as serve as a giant advertisement for President Trump's 2020 reelection campaign."
Jeffress' usage of the word "Bork" was in reference to former Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork, who during his confirmation was heavily attacked by Democrats as being a rightwing extremist and was eventually rejected by the Senate.
An evangelical pastor who has lived in Turkey for more than 20 years, Brunson was arrested in 2016 under charges of espionage and links to terrorism.
Dobbs' interview of Jeffress comes as the Trump administration has rejected an offer by Turkey to release Pastor Brunson in return for forgiving billions of dollars in U.S. fines on a Turkish bank.
"Turkey has taken advantage of the United States for many years," tweeted Trump last Friday. "They are now holding our wonderful Christian Pastor, who I must now ask to represent our Country as a great patriot hostage. We will pay nothing for the release of an innocent man, but we are cutting back on Turkey!"