The U.S. is ceremonially moving its embassy to Jerusalem on Monday. Palestinians are protesting, Israel is celebrating and boosting security along its borders with the Gaza Strip and West Bank, and U.S. Senate candidate and former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is criticizing President Trump's choice to lead the embassy christening's opening prayer.
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.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) May 14, 2018
There are few Mormons in Israel, but about 20 percent of Israeli citizens are Muslim, including 40 percent of Jerusalem's residents, Haaretz notes. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, did say all those things on TV in 2011, and he didn't back down Sunday on Jews and damnation. "Historic Christianity has taught for 2,000 years that salvation is through faith in Christ alone," he tweeted. "The fact that I ... espouse that belief, is neither bigoted nor newsworthy."
On Monday's Fox & Friends, Jeffress brushed off Romney's criticism as based on comments "ripped out of context from years ago," and he glossed over some dark periods in Israeli history, like the nearly 1,900 years between Rome's destruction of Jerusalem and the founding of modern Israel 70 years ago Monday. "I'm going to take some time to thank God for His faithfulness to Israel for 4,000 years," Jeffress said. "God has supernaturally protected Israel from all of her enemies." He said he will also thank God for Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“I’m going to take some time to thank God for His thankfulness to Israel for 4,000 years” - @robertjeffress outlines his prayer for today’s opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem pic.twitter.com/RiND6BNZrj
— Fox & Friends First (@FoxFriendsFirst) May 14, 2018
Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are leading the U.S. delegation. Peter Weber