Robert Jeffress spent Wednesday with Donald Trump, supporting the president during his fundraising visit to the Belo Mansion in downtown Dallas. On Thursday, the First Baptist Dallas pastor and Trump's biggest evangelical supporter had to do something a lot less fun — take to the Fox News airwaves to defend himself from charges that he is anti-Catholic.
Word of Jeffress' potentially anti-Catholic views bubbled to the surface this week when a reporter asked White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders about her boss's continued praise for the Dallas demagogue, given Jeffress' controversial statements about the Catholic church. Sanders said that she wasn't "aware of Robert Jeffress being anti-Catholic" and that she knew that he worked with Texas Catholics on events like the anti-abortion rights demonstration March for Life.
On Fox News, Jeffress repeated Sanders' line, confirming that he works with Catholics against abortion, and said that the characterization of his thoughts about Catholicism was inaccurate.
"What they did was they went back and recycled old quotes from years ago that were either completely manufactured at the time or ripped out of context," Jeffress said.
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The Observer believes that Jeffress deserves a fair hearing about whether he was taken out of context, so we've taken the liberty of transcribing, in their entirety, Jeffress' comments about Catholicism and the Roman Catholic Church from a 2010 segment on his radio show Pathway to Victory.
"This is the Babylonian mystery religion that spread like a cult throughout the entire world. The high priests of that fake religion, that false religion, the high priests of that religion would wear crowns that resemble the heads of fish, that was in order to worship the fish god Dagon, and on those crowns were written the words, ‘Keeper of the Bridge,’ the bridge between Satan and man.
"That phrase, Keeper of the Bridge — the Roman equivalent of it is Pontifex Maximus. It was a title that was first carried by the Caesars and then the emperors and finally by the Bishop of the Rome, Pontifex Maximus, the Keeper of the Bridge.
"You can see where we’re going with this. It is that Babylonian mystery religion that infected the early church. One of the churches it infected was the church of Pergamos, which is one of the recipients of the Book of Revelation. And the early church was corrupted by this Babylonian mystery religion, and today the Roman Catholic Church is the result of that corruption.
"Much of what you see in the Catholic Church today doesn’t come from God’s word; it comes from that cultlike, pagan religion. Now you say, ‘Pastor, how can you say such a thing? That is such an indictment of the Catholic Church. After all, the Catholic Church talks about God and the Bible and Jesus and the blood of Christ and salvation.’
"Isn’t that the genius of Satan? If you want to counterfeit a dollar bill, you don’t do it with purple paper and red ink. You’re not going to fool anybody with that. But if you want to counterfeit money, what you do is make it look closely related to the real thing as possible.
"And that’s what Satan does with counterfeit religion. He uses, he steals, he appropriates all of the symbols of true biblical Christianity, and he changes it just enough in order to cause people to miss eternal life."
Basically, Jeffress believes that Catholicism is a counterfeit of genuine Christianity, descended from a Babylonian fish-worshiping cult. Its resemblance to the real article shows Satan's genius, Jeffress says. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the faith practiced by 70 million Americans.