Romney denounces pastor slated to speak at USA embassy in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM ISRAEL- MAY 8 2018 A road sign indicating the direction of the US Embassy in Jerusalem. Sergey Orlov  TASS

Sergey Orlov\TASS via Getty Images

The pastor of First Baptist Dallas has been a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump and said that he had "courage that no other US president has" had to move the embassy from Tel Aviv.

Jeffress will speak before American officials during a ceremony on Monday to officially mark the relocation of the United States embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

In addition to his remarks on Jews, Jeffress has referred to both Mormonism and Islam as "a heresy from the pit of Hell".

Pastor Robert Jeffress, one of President Trump's most devoted supporters and defenders, said during a Dove TV interview on Thursday that he is going to be delivering the opening prayer on Monday at the opening of the new USA embassy in Israel in Jerusalem.

Jeffress endorsed Romney, who is Mormon, for president back in 2012, despite derogatory comments the pastor made at the time about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

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In comments to NBC News, Jeffress denied he was a "bigot", but doubled down on his belief that Mormonism is "wrong" and that the the Southern Baptist Convention had designated it a "cult". "The truth that I, together with tens of hundreds of thousands of evangelical Christians all over the world, proceed to espouse that perception, is neither bigoted nor newsworthy". He told Fox & Friends that he intends to pray for three things. Then, he said he will thank God "for the strong leadership of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu" because he "is determined to protect his people".

He told host Todd Starnes: "In that prayer, I'm going to be recounting God's history of faithfulness to His people, the Israelites".

Big-name pastors also came to Jeffress' defense, including Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in California.

The relocation of the embassy marks a almost three decade departure from USA foreign policy and has been largely regarded by evangelical Christians as a major victory for the Trump administration. Trump in December past year recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and announced an embassy move from Tel Aviv, prompting protests in the occupied Palestinian territories and several Muslim-majority countries.

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