The Pastor Who Preached to Trump Before the Inauguration is a Bigot

Donald Trump heard a sermon prior to taking the oath of office on Friday morning from Robert Jeffress, a senior pastor of First Baptist Church, who's pretty controversial. Why? He's called Mormonism a cult, said gay people live a "filthy" lifestyle, asserted that Islam "promotes pedophilia," and more. Yes, this guy is a bigot.

 

The morning worship service on Inauguration Day tradition began with President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, an occasion when incoming presidents often try to unite the country's diverse religious and social groups.

According to The Washington Post, Jeffress compared Trump to the story of Nehemiah, from the bible. Nehemiah is most famous for—wait for it—building a wall! He rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem after they had been torn down—and Jeffress drew a line from that story to Trump.

“You see, God is not against building walls,” Jeffress said in his sermon at St. John’s Episcopal Church, The Post reports.

Jeffress has been helping Trump campaign for a while, having introduced Trump last January at an Iowa rally. He campaigned especially hard for Trump during the end of the presidential election. According to CNN, Trump has said that he thinks fondly of Jeffress.

But letting Jeffress speak on inauguration day after the many hateful things he's said perhaps wasn't the best choice for a president trying to unify a deeply divided nation.

“Unfortunately, the choice of Rev. Jeffress is symptomatic of the incoming Trump administration's inclusion of notorious Islamophobes in the transition team, in the picks for cabinet nominees and, beginning Friday, in the White House,” said Ibrahim Hooper, the Council on American-Islamic Relations spokesman, according to CNN.

According to CNN, a Trump Inauguration official defended Jeffress. “Pastor Jeffress is a unifying figure representing a diverse spectrum of Americans. Any attempt to vilify this religious leader is deeply disappointing and misplaced.”