Robert Jeffress, senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, insisted on recent episodes of his “Pathway to Victory” broadcast that “America is a Christian Nation.” Jeffress, who hosted Vice President Mike Pence for a “Celebrate Freedom Sunday” worship service on June 28, is a regular fixture on Fox News, where he relentlessly promotes President Donald Trump and denounces the president’s opponents. Pathway to Victory is aired daily on more than 900 radio stations in the U.S., according to First Baptist.
In the week between Pence’s appearance and the Fourth of July, Jeffress devoted two Pathways to Victory episodes to the theme “America at a Crossroads,” followed by episodes on July 1 and July 2 titled “America is a Christian Nation.” The overlapping content of those programs—which seem to recycle sermons Jeffress has delivered—pushed several themes:
- America was founded as a Christian nation.
- The First Amendment was designed to put all Christian denominations on equal footing, not to make Christianity “subservient” to other religions.
- Secularists and other infidels have perverted the meaning of the Constitution.
- Politics in the U.S. today is a battle between good and evil.
To buttress his case that America has always been a Christian nation, Jeffress took a page from oft-debunked religious-right pseudo-historian David Barton, cherry-picking quotes from the Founding Fathers and early court decisions. Jeffress cited an 1844 case about a wealthy man in Pennsylvania who left money in his will to start a school for orphans with the stipulation that no Christian minister could teach in the school. Some of the man’s heirs sued on various grounds; they argued in part that the prohibition on clergy teaching at the school discriminated against Christianity. The Supreme Court rejected that argument and upheld the will, saying that the prohibition on ministers as teachers did not violate the state constitution, impugn Christianity or prevent lay people from teaching the Bible. Jeffress quoted approvingly from a section of the ruling:
Likewise, the court had something to say about those who would say, ‘Well then, you’ve got to treat all religions the same.’ They said, ‘It is unnecessary for us, however, to consider what the legal effect of such a device in Pennsylvania for the establishment of a school or college for the propagation of Judaism or deism or any other form of infidelity. Such a case is not to be presumed to exist in a Christian country.”
Jeffress also cited a 1799 decision by the Maryland Supreme Court that included the assertion, “By our form of government, the Christian religion is the established religion” of the United States. Jeffress adds:
Now think about it. Seven years after the ratification of the First Amendment, this court says we have an established religion. It is the Christian religion. They understood exactly what the founders had in mind. They understood that yes, this is a Christian nation, but no one denomination is to be elevated [over] another. ‘Cause look at the second phrase. Yes, the Christian religion is the established religion, ‘and all sects and denominations of Christians are placed upon the same equal footing and are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty.’
It seems less likely that Jeffress or his religious-right allies would embrace the rest of the holding in that case, which inserted the court into a dispute over a congregation’s effort to dismiss and replace its minister.
Jeffress did discuss the letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists, in which Jefferson praised the First Amendment for having built “a wall of separation between Church & State.” But, Jeffress claimed, “The context of this was the elevation of one Christian denomination over another Christian denomination. Never in their wildest imaginations did Thomas Jefferson or the Founding Fathers ever believe that that First Amendment would be perverted in such a way as to try to separate our country from its Christian heritage.”
In fact, Jefferson was extremely proud of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom—widely considered a precursor to the First Amendment—and the legislative battle that prevented “Jesus Christ” from being inserted into its preamble, which made clear, in Jefferson’s words, that the law was “meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo and infidel of every denomination.”
In his broadcasts, Jeffress cited a litany of commonly voiced religious-right complaints about Supreme Court rulings, beginning with a series of 20th Century rulings that strengthened church-state separation and put an end to official prayer and devotional Bible readings in public schools. Contrasting them with the language used by 19th Century courts and politicians. Jeffress asked:
And here’s the question: What has changed? What has changed? In these 150 years, has the Constitution changed and nobody told us? Is that what happened? Of course not. What has happened is we have allowed the secularists, the humanists, the atheists, the infidels, to pervert our Constitution into something our Founding Fathers never intended. And it is time for Americans to stand up and say ‘Enough! We’re not going to allow this in our Christian country anymore.’ It is time to put an end to this.
Jeffress used two metaphors for describing the court rulings he claims perverted the Constitution. In one telling, each case was a stone building the wall of separation ever higher. In another, each case was like an explosion set in a building’s foundation to bring it down in an implosion. Roe v. Wade and the marriage equality decision in Obergefell v. Hodges were other “explosions,” he said, claiming that the country is living in that moment between the explosions and the building’s collapse: “No nation that outlaws the mention of God in the public square, that celebrates the murder of its own children, that destroys the most basic unit of society—the family—no nation is going to survive that.”
But Jeffress doesn’t want his audience to despair. “No, this is not depressing as long as you understand our purpose as Christians. If you understand our purpose as Christians, there’s never been a better time to be alive and living in America than right now.” Christians, he said, are meant to push back against evil. And since God designed government to be a “restrainer of evil,” he said, “when we elect government officials, we are determining the moral and spiritual direction of our country.”
Jeffress is not subtle. Citing the candidates’ different positions on abortion, he portrayed the 2016 election between Trump and Hillary Clinton as a battle “between good and evil.” And he said that’s true of politics in the U.S. today. “If you don’t hear another word I say this morning, hear this: what we’re facing in this country is not a battle between Republicans and Democrats. It is a battle between good and evil, between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan,” he said. “That’s exactly what is at stake in this country.”
On the recent broadcasts, Jeffress talked about his church’s $135 million, six-block campus in downtown Dallas, which he said is debt-free. He repeatedly asked people to contribute money to a $575,000 matching campaign to “replenish the arsenal” and expand his program’s reach before a July 5 deadline. First Baptist received between $2 million and $5 million in federal coronavirus relief funds, according to records released recently by the Trump administration. Jeffress also promoted his most recent book, “Praying for America,” which urges people to vote for “God-honoring candidates.”
The Christian-nation version of the U.S. founding promoted by Jeffress and Barton has been widely challenged by historians, including evangelical Christians like John Fea, author of “Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?”
This article was first published at Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.
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Pat Robertson: God Told Me Trump Wins Re-Election – Sparking the ‘End Times’ So ‘Pray for Him’
Pat Robertson is revealing who he says God told him will win the 2020 presidential election: Donald Trump. Robertson previously has claimed God has told him in advance the winners of other elections, like in 2012 he suggested God told him Mitt Romney would beat President Barack Obama.
“Robertson said that ‘without question, Trump is going to win the election,’ but it will result in widespread civil unrest, during which there will be at least two attempts to assassinate the president,” Right Wing Watch reports.
Robertson went off on a 12-minute walk into what he says is the future. Trump’s re-election will lead to the “End Times,” says the 90-year old televangelist. He rattles off a list of threats to the United States, not mentioning Trump has done nothing to quash them, and indeed has mde things worse.
“First of all I want to say without question, Trump is going to win the election,” Robertson told his viewers Tuesday morning. “And that doesn’t mean you sit home and don’t vote that means you do everything you can work but he’s going to win, that’s that’s a given. And, but after he is sworn in, and his Vice President Mike Pence, then trouble is going to happen.”
“He’s going to be challenged by the Chinese as you couldn’t believe we’ll be faced probably with some kind of a war, the North Koreans are going to have nuclear weapons they gonna threaten us. The Russians do everything they can. The Turks have got their things going. And after Trump is sworn in, we’re going to see civic disobedience in North America that will just be mind boggling The, the country will be torn apart, but talking about Trump derangement syndrome is going to be horrible. Because already without anything happening, we’ve got trouble in the streets, but there will be at least two attempts on the President’s life, and it is going to be very difficult.”
“So I would just urge you if you, you should pray for him. But now, in the process. In the process, that this confusion is happening in America and it looks like our country is being torn apart,” Robertson drones.
Trump Campaign So Desperate for Voters It’s Holding a ‘Pride’ Event in October – That Doesn’t Mention LGBTQ People
The Trump campaign knows it’s in trouble, as Joe Biden is beating the incumbent president by an average of more than ten points in the polls. On Tuesday, the campaign will hold a “pride” event (in the middle of October, despite the president refusing to honor LGBTQ pride month in June.)
But, as veteran journalist and SiriusXM host Michelangelo Signorile points out, the event doesn’t even mention LGBTQ people. It doesn’t say “gay,” it says absolutely nothing to celebrate or even acknowledge the LGBTQ community other than printing the word “pride” in rainbow colors.
He’s calling it a “closeted event.”
Look at this closeted event, in which neither “gay” nor “LGBTQ” is mentioned, Trump himself is not involved, and the whole thing is in code: “Pride” in rainbow letters. pic.twitter.com/AnXXO8M8lh
— Michelangelo Signorile, subscribe to my newsletter (@MSignorile) October 11, 2020
“They’ve not announced this anywhere, lest the religious right find out,” Signorile adds. “Meanwhile, they’re trying to put a woman on the Supreme Court who will destroy marriage equality.”
The Trump campaign even has a “Trump Pride” page, falsely claiming “President Donald J. Trump is the only President to openly support the LGBT community since his first day in office.”
“President Trump stands in solidarity with LGBT citizens by supporting and enacting policies and initiatives that protect the wellbeing and prosperity of all gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Americans.”
“TRUMP PRIDE is a diverse coalition dedicated to re-electing President Trump, the first President to begin his presidency in support of marriage equality. Through his bold plan to end the HIV epidemic to his global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality in the 69 nations where it is illegal, President Trump has proven himself to be a strong advocate for the LGBT community both at home and abroad.”
Trump, when asked about the “global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality” admitted he had never heard of it. “I don’t know which report you’re talking about,” he told reporters when asked.
The Trump campaign is, however, selling Trump LGBTQ -themed t-shirts (photo.)
‘George Washington Would Have Had a Hard Time Beating Me’: Trump Brags His Poll Numbers Are ‘Going Up Like a Rocket’
President Donald Trump, currently losing in the polls to presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden by an average of about 7 points, is claiming his polling numbers are so great he might have beat founding father George Washington.
“We’re doing very well,” Trump told far right radio host Hugh Hewitt Tuesday morning. “I don’t know if you’ve seen, the polls have been going up like a rocket ship.”
“Hey, I was, George Washington would have had a hard time beating me before the plague came in, before the China plague,” Trump continued, uttering his racial slur. “And then, you know, like every other nation, like other countries, when you get hit, it affects you, and we went down a little bit.”
Trump numbers have taken a sharp downward trend over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
“And then we went down a little bit more, and now we’re coming up at a level that we haven’t seen,” Trump said, which is false related to publicly released polling data.
“I just got back from Texas, Ohio and Florida. We’ve got all law enforcement awards, everything. We got the endorsement from all of them. But I just got back, and they’re the largest crowds on the highway I’ve ever seen. I’d love to do the rallies. We can’t because of the COVID. You know, you can’t have people sitting next to each other.”
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