Dr. Robert Jeffress isn’t backing down from controversial comments he made about Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith saying to the Observer he “told the truth” when he called the Church of Latter Day Saints “a cult.” Dr. Jeffress, senior pastor at the 10,000 member First Baptist Church of Dallas, discussed Mr. Romney’s religion when he introduced Texas Governor Rick Perry at the conservative Values Voter Summit Friday.
“That is a mainstream view, that Mormonism is a cult. … Every true, born again follower of Christ ought to embrace a Christian over a non-Christian,” Dr. Jeffress said.
Dr. Jeffress didn’t back down when he spoke with the Observer this afternoon.
“I was speaking as a pastor after my introduction of Governor Perry, and as a pastor, I told the truth,” he said.
Dr. Jeffress pointed to a survey conducted by the Southern Baptist organization LifeWay Research to prove the point that his views on Mormonism are indeed mainstream.
“By the way, today USA Today cited a poll that three out of four Protestant pastors do not believe Mormons are Christians. I am not in some extreme position here, 75% of Protestant pastors do not believe Mormons are Christians and that’s been a historical fact. It’s nothing new,” Dr. Jeffress said.
Dr. Jeffress’ remarks at the Summit were meant to be his official endorsement of Governor Perry, but some observers speculate the pastor’s characterization of Mormonism might hurt the Governor and give Mr. Romney a boost.
“I have no idea, that wasn’t my motivation in saying what I did,” Dr. Jeffress said.