For a man who is not a homophobe, Donald Trump sure does surround himself with a lot of homophobes.
The incoming Republican President, whose inauguration takes place today, attended a private prayer service this morning at St. John’s Episcopal Church across the street from the White House. The sermon was led by Pastor Robert Jeffress, of Dallas’ First Baptist Church.
Jeffress, an ultra-conservative preacher, is a contentious choice for the service, given his extreme views about gay people.
Speaking on the radio previously, the pastor claimed: “Why is there such a high incidence of disease among homosexuals? They are engaged in the most detestable, unclean, abominable acts you can imagine.
“Because what they are doing is unnatural, it goes against nature, because of that filthy practice; there is a natural result to it. There is natural, physical consequences to homosexual behavior. That’s why God says don’t engage in it, you are going to harm your bodies in doing so.”
The preacher has also cited the 2003 Supreme Court ruling that struck down sodomy laws banning gay sex as one of three laws that have destroyed America.
He fumed: “The third explosion that has weakened the social and spiritual infrastructure of our nation, making our collapse I believe inevitable, is the Supreme Court decision Lawrence v. Texas in 2003.
“Sometimes God destroys a society immediately. But other times, as in our case, there is a series of seemingly unrelated explosive choices, followed by a delay, and then followed by the sudden and dramatic collapse, just as in an implosion.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I am convinced that we are living in that in between time right now. We are living in that in between time between these explosive, wrong choices our country has made and the inevitable implosion of our country.”
He said: “You know, in the instruction manual, it said, now plug this into a 120 [volt] outlet. Suppose I said, ‘Oh, I’m not going to follow those instructions, those are antiquated instructions. I’m going to plug it into a 220 [volt] outlet. It’s my TV and I can do whatever I want to with it.”
Jeffress added: “Well, it is my TV to do what I want to with it, but I’m going to blow that TV to smithereens if I put it in a 220 outlet.”
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A string of other anti-LGBT pastors will be involved in the inauguration ceremony itself.
Rev. Franklin Graham, who is set to speak at the inauguration, recently claimed there had been a “moral 9/11” in America due to “gays and lesbians” on school boards.
He claimed: “The country is imploding. We are seeing a moral implosion. Just like we saw the World Trade Center on 9/11 when the planes hit the tower, they imploded, they fell from within, and this is what’s happening to our country, we’re falling within.
“So many school districts now are controlled by wicked, evil people, and the gays and lesbians… I keep bringing their name up, but they are at the forefront of this attack against Christianity in America.”
Last year Graham declared gay people are ‘the enemy’, attacking churches that have become LGBT-inclusive.
In a 2015 interview with a Russian newspaper, Graham praised Vladimir Putin’s support for anti-gay laws – and claimed that homosexuals “take people’s children”.
Parroting disturbing rhetoric often used by anti-LGBT vigilantes in Russia, he said: “Homosexuals cannot have children, they can take other people’s children.”
He added: “I very much appreciate that President Putin is protecting Russian young people against homosexual propaganda. If only to give them the opportunity to grow up and make a decision for themselves.”
He was selected this week for Trump’s inauguration despite his slew of extremist comments. The Christmas Shoebox Appeal run by Graham’s charity continues to enjoy mainstream support in schools.