Hate Watch: Anti-Gay Bigoted Racist Baptist Pastor | Jive in the [415] Blog | Gay LGBT News Political Commentary

October 11, 2011

Hate Watch: Anti-Gay Bigoted Racist Baptist Pastor

Controversial Baptist Pastor Robert Jeffress from Dallas, Texas.
Pastor Robert Jeffress

Mildred and Pierre - values voters from Natchitoches, Louisiana

Mildred and Pierre Laserre made the 1200 mile journey from Natchitoches, Louisiana to Washington in their Ford pickup truck. The 67-year-old couple, married for 49 years, was excited to attend their second summit of rednecks and teabaggers (i.e., values voters).

Pierre Laserre is a member of the Watchmen of Louisiana, and the Natchitoches Parish Republicans and the Baptist couple are members of the First Baptist Church of Natchitoches. Mildred had the book “Hell? Yes! And Other Outrageous Truths You Can Still Believe” by Robert Jeffress tucked under her arm, as she was hoping to have the author autograph her book.

On Friday, October 7th, 2011 the Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas stepped onto the makeshift podium and stage, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. Very few of the assembled audience of rednecks and teabaggers attending the annual political summit had ever heard Robert Jeffress speak live, but they were familiar with him as the Bible teacher on his Christian television show “Pathway to Victory.”

The Senior Pastor issued a press release prior to delivering his speech, where he articulated that he was going to discuss the clear differences between Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Governor Willard Mitt Romney. Jeffress never shied away from making controversial statements.

In his prepared remarks, he said that Rick Perry was a Christian, and a man of faith, who deserved the support of the audience - and that Romney was a member of a cult, and not a Christian. Jeffress made these claims many times before, the only difference on that Friday at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, was that the nation’s political press was watching.

When Jeffress left the podium and stepped into the hallway, reporters surrounded the Pastor, to ask follow-up questions about his speech. Mildred Laserre jumped out of her seat and left the ballroom, book in hand, to find her favorite Dallas pastor. She stood quietly and watched, as the diminutive Senior Pastor was engulfed by a swarm of journalists and TV cameras.

Mildred watched Jeffress handle the media crowded around him with charm and professionalism. She couldn’t hear what he said, but after waiting for what seemed to be an eternity, Jeffress was finally finished with his media obligations and leaving the hall. Mildred leaped from the bench where she was sitting because she was determined to get his autograph.

She gingerly approached the pastor and touched his arm to introduce herself. Pastor Jeffress said he’d be thrilled to sign her book. After he signed the book, he said “now don’t go selling my autograph on eBay.” They chuckled, and Mildred made her way back to the ballroom to look for her husband. She was tired and wanted to get back to the Days Inn to use the powder room and rest. She was so excited that Dr. Jeffress signed her favorite book and knew that Pierre would find a special place near her porcelain figurines, to put it on display when they got back to Natchitoches.

Pastor Robert Jeffress and Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) Embrace
Pastor Robert Jeffress and Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) embrace.

Just who the hell is Dallas Pastor Robert Jeffress anyway?

According to the First Baptist Church of Dallas website:
Dr. Jeffress is the author of 17 books including The Solomon Secrets (a 2002 Medallion Finalist), Hell? Yes!, and When Forgiveness Doesn’t Make Sense.  His newest book, Twilight’s Last Gleaming, will be released January 2012.
In his book “Hell? Yes!: ...and Other Outrageous Truths You Can Still Believe” Jeffress outlines 7 “truths” that he believes is absolute, and supported by scripture.
  1. Every other religion is wrong
  2. God sends good people to Hell
  3. Homosexuality is a perversion
  4. Evolution is a myth
  5. God is ultimately responsible for suffering in the world
  6. Husbands are to lead their families
  7. America is a Christian nation
The publisher describes the book as follows:
In “Hell? Yes!” Dr. Robert Jeffress issues a bold wakeup call to all believers – from college students to grandparents – to stop apologizing for and start proclaiming the tough but essential truths that Christians have historically embraced. And he provides the finest biblical, scientific, and historical evidence needed to defend these core beliefs in a culture turned hostile to God’s truth.
Dr. Jeffress believes the secular spirit of political correctness is holding the church hostage. And the tragic result is that the revolutionary, life-changing, positive message of the Christian faith is being watered down. If you are weary of a Christianity that waffles and wavers about controversial issues – if you are ready to stand up and compassionately yet forcefully and intelligently say, “This is what I believe and here’s why” – then this book is for you!
Pastor Jeffress burst onto the national radar in 1998, while he was the pastor at the Wichita Falls Texas First Baptist Church. On May 24th, 1998, The New York Times wrote about Jeffress and his demand that the local library remove 2 books from their shelves.
Instead of ridding public library shelves of ‘’Heather Has Two Mommies’’ and ‘’Daddy’s Roommate,’’ a Baptist minister’s protest has put more copies in circulation.
The minister, Robert Jeffress, pastor of the 4,400-member First Baptist Church, was surprised when he learned that the Wichita Falls library was lending the books about children with gay parents. When a church member checked out the books and brought them to Mr. Jeffress, he wrote a check for $54 to the library after vowing never to return them.
But so many people wanted to read the books after an article about the situation appeared in The Wichita Falls Times Record News that the library’s administrator, Linda Hughes, is applying library rules intended to limit how long patrons must wait. The policy calls for obtaining more copies when six or more people are waiting for a book. ‘’We have 10 holds on each one of these books,’’ Ms. Hughes said on Thursday. ‘’We are past the point at which we would have to buy more copies.’’
Sympathetic book lovers had donated 15 copies by late this week, Ms. Hughes said. ‘’I’ve been getting them in the mail and through the drop box,’’ she said. ‘’Most of them are brand new.’’

If you look like him, think like him, and worship him, he loves you

The Dallas Observer has been chronicling Jeffress’ outlandish remarks for years. On November 7th, 2008 they ran the headline “Look, Pastor Robert Jeffress Doesn’t Like Anybody Not Like Him, M’Kay?”
Then again, this is the church fronted by Pastor Robert Jeffress, the author of Hell? Yes! who said Mormon Mitt Romney was a member of a “cult” and who, in September, said that “Christians are uniquely favored by God, [while] Mormons, Hindus and Muslims worship a false god.” And in the 1990s, he said that homosexuality causes “the deaths of tens of thousands every year through AIDS.” He’s super-tolerant.
The Observer has written about Jeffress’ disdain for anything and anyone who is not a Christian, the Pastor’s virulent anti-gay beliefs, and his claim that our country is collapsing due to abortion and gay marriage. They also documented a campaign started by the Pastor in Dallas, called Grinch Alert, to shame any business that doesn’t “show outward signs of supporting Christmas.” People submit the names of businesses that aren’t outwardly supporting Christmas to his website - where they will be “shamed.”

In 2010 Jeffress ignited a controversy when he made remarks about the Islamic faith.
At the weekly “Ask the Pastor” event on August 22, Dr. Robert Jeffress shared his beliefs on Islam. He was asked how he would respond to someone who equates the Muslim Jihad to the Christian crusades.
“It’s an oppressive treater of women,” he said. “It is a religion — and here is the deep, dark, dirty secret of Islam — it is a religion that promotes pedophilia... sex with children.”
The pastor referenced an article he had read. He stated that the article’s author, “a defender of Islam,” mentioned the young age of the Islamic prophet Muhammad’s bride, Aisha.
“It is an evil religion, an oppressive religion, and it is a violent religion that has incited attacks around the world and attacks against our country,” Jeffress said.

Only the Baptist church and his opinions count. He hates other religions.

This “religious” man, with an alleged Doctorate, has proclaimed that Jews, Mormons, Muslims And Gays Are Going To Hell, and that Satan is behind Catholicism, and this man is a regular fixture on Fox Snooze, and heads a Dallas Church with 10,000 members, who ascribe to his dogmatic views.

I asked Mildred and Pierre if they knew about the controversy surrounding Pastor Jeffress, and his extremist views. Mildred said, “they aren’t extremist views, they’re God’s views.” Pierre echoed Mildred and said that Jeffress is “one of God’s messengers.”

From where I sit, we’re getting the message loud and clear. The Dallas Observer wrote that the preacher didn’t like anybody, not like him. The evidence is clear that the bigoted and racist Baptist preacher consigns to hell - whatever and whomever - he dislikes. He gets away with it because he wraps himself in scripture, in order to justify his hateful and heinous remarks.

In the Los Angeles Times, Jonah Goldberg wrote about the brand of religion and politics that Jeffress and Rick Perry embrace.
Jeffress was practicing “dog whistle politics” — a term of recent Australian vintage that has caught on here and in Britain and that simply means trying to send a message to a certain constituency that the dog-whistler hopes won’t be heard by anyone else. In this case Jeffress wanted evangelical Christians to decode his remarks as an attack on Mitt Romney’s Mormonism. And they got it. Alas, so did everyone else.
But apparently Jeffress couldn’t take any chances. So after Perry’s speech, Jeffress blew the dog whistle hard enough to give himself a hernia, telling reporters that Mormonism is a cult and that “every true, born-again follower of Christ ought to embrace a Christian over a non-Christian.”
It’s difficult to parse what’s the most annoying thing about all this. Is it the bigotry, the intellectual incoherence or just the incredible lameness?
It’s all annoying. And we have to acknowledge that anyone buying his books, or attending his church, is supporting bigotry, homophobia, and racism too.

When are we going to collectively say we’ve had enough of this bullshit? We have to keep shining a light on these freaks who want to oppress anyone not cut from the same cloth as themselves, however painful it might be.

We are a nation of immigrants, and a melting pot of religious thought, that celebrates diversity. It’s about time that we start to consign these idiots to the dustbin of history because we’ll never move forward, or be our best, for as long as these ignorant fools and con artists play their silly games.

I’ve had enough. Have you?

The "gay is not o.k." message on the marquee of the First Baptist Church of Dalllas
The marquee of the First Baptist Church of Dallas.

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