Cult of Personality, or: Good Lord, Robert Jeffress Has Had a Very Busy Last Three Days
First Baptist Dallas's Robert Jeffress first appeared on Unfair Park back in October 2008 -- the first time, or close to, he referred to Mitt Romney, a Mormon, as a member of a "cult." Friday's remarks following his endorsement of Rick Perry at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., may have been brand-new to some (this morning Washington Post contributor David French makes "The evangelical case for Mitt Romney --and against Robert Jeffress"), but they were the same-ol'-same-ol' to others who've been within earshot of Tom Leppert's pastor for the last long while.
As expected -- hence, the media members scattered amongst the congregation -- Jeffress took to his downtown Dallas pulpit yesterday to try to explain his remarks and whether it was kosher for him to endorse a candidate "officially." Because, a few weeks ago, he said he wouldn't. Not now, not ever. "I believe this pulpit is too sacred to publicly endorse a candidate," he reiterated yesterday. "That's not what the pulpit of First Baptist Dallas is about."
Except ... it is, apparently. Especially, he said, after he started delivering those apocalyptic sermons a few weeks ago. Besides, he insisted, it's in his job description: The whole hubbub has "given me an opportunity to point out false religions," he told his congregants. "Part of a pastor's job is to warn his people and others about false religions. Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Mormonism are all false religions, and I stand by this statement." The congregation applauded Jeffress's greatest hits. Then Jeffress went on to discuss his chat with Anderson Cooper Friday night -- seen above, and, again, it's hardly "breaking news" -- and the phone call he says he received afterward. At which point the pastor referred to his candidate of choice as "Ron Perry." Let's review the tape: