Donald Trump is under fire after inviting an extremist pastor who claims gay people are likely to sexually abuse children to help open the new US embassy in Jerusalem.
Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner are in Israel today to open the new US embassy, which is located in Jerusalem.
Pastor Robert Jeffress, an American Southern Baptist pastor from Texas, was invited to preach at the embassy opening – despite his shockingly hardline beliefs.
As Right Wing Watch notes, Jeffress had directly equated gay people to paedophiles in the past.
Speaking on his radio show, he claimed: “Some gay activists don’t even try to hide the link between homosexuality and paedophilia. There are some who are right now are actively involved in trying to legalize sex between adults and children by lowering the age of consent or removing it altogether.
“It would be wrong to even suggest that a majority of homosexuals are pedophiles, but the truth nevertheless is there. There are a disproportionate amount of assaults against children by homosexuals than by heterosexuals, you can’t deny that, and the reason is very clear: homosexuality is perverse, it represents a degradation of a person’s mind and if a person will sink that low and there are no restraints from God’s law, then there is no telling to whatever sins he will commit as well.”
It is far from his only extreme comment, many of which were recorded for his radio show and are a matter of public record.
Disconcertingly given his presence at the event in Israel, Jeffress has also made derogatory comments about Jewish people – which Republican Mitt Romney called out.
Romney said: “Robert Jeffress says ‘you can’t be saved by being a Jew,’ and ‘Mormonism is a heresy from the pit of hell.’
“He’s said the same about Islam. Such a religious bigot should not be giving the prayer that opens the United States Embassy in Jerusalem.”
Jeffress has also compared homosexuals to people who rape animals, claiming: “God’s plan for sexuality is one man with one woman in a lifetime commitment called marriage. Any deviation from that is sin.
“Of course, I’m always, the retort to that is ‘oh! Are you pulling a Rick Santorum and saying that homosexuality is like bestiality, uh, incest, or pedophilia’? And I say ‘Yes.’. It is just as immoral as those practices.”
On another occasion on his radio show, he claimed that homosexuality is “the most detestable” act in the world.
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.”
Speaking on a further occasion the preacher cited the 2003 Supreme Court ruling that struck down sodomy laws banning gay sex as one of three laws that have destroyed America.
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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.”
Despite his extremist beliefs, Jeffress has been repeatedly tied to the Trump administration.
The pastor led prayers at Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, and posed for a picture in the Oval Office with Trump in May 2017.
His extreme beliefs have been challenged on every occasion on which Trump has been linked to Jeffress, however the President has resisted calls to disassociate