Romney calls U.S. pastor at Jerusalem embassy ceremony a 'bigot'

Romney calls U.S. pastor at Jerusalem embassy ceremony a 'bigot'

The Anti-Defamation League issued conflicting statements Monday both praising and denouncing President Donald Trump before the much-touted, historic opening of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.

Southern Baptist preacher Robert Jeffress is notably a keen Trump supporter, and, separately, is known to have called homosexuals "perverts", billed Mormonism "a heresy" from hell, and made derogatory remarks toward Jews.

"You don't have the right to call someone else a bigot for believing the words of Jesus Christ", Jeffress added, as Starnes asserted that Romney has just "smeared" millions of Christians "as religious bigots" with his attack on Jeffress.

Jeffress responded to Romney's criticisms.

Dr. Emir Caner, president of Truett-McConnell University, a private Christian school, weighed in to say if Jeffress is a bigot, then so too is Jesus Christ. "You know, 4,000 years ago God said to Abraham that He would make him the father of a great nation that would be a blessing to all the nations on the earth", Jeffress said. "Not only do religions like Mormonism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism - not only do they lead people away from God, they lead people to an eternity of separation from God in Hell".

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"I think Pastor Jeffress has had a strong relationship with many people in the faith community", deputy press secretary Raj Shah said during Monday's White House briefing.

In a tweet Sunday night, the former MA governor who is now running for a Senate seat from Utah criticized Jeffress for his remarks about Jews, Mormons and Islam.

The pastor has repeatedly defended Trump in the midst of numerous controversies, including allegations that the president had an affair with adult film actress Stormy Daniels. "People may disagree with that view, but it's not a view unique to me", he told NBC.

Appearing on the "Fox and Friends" television program on Monday morning, Jeffress said remarks he has made in the past about Jews and others not going to heaven merely reflect Christian doctrine. Trump in December previous 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. It was the deadliest day there since a devastating 2014 cross-border war and cast a shadow over Israel's festive inauguration of the new U.S. Embassy in contested Jerusalem.

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