“U.S. Decries Assad but Crosses God’s Red Line”

That’s the title of an essay in the Dallas Morning News by Robert Jeffress, the pastor of First Baptist in Dallas. As an aside, this is the same church I mentioned earlier in the year that opened its new and improved 3,000 seat, super-sized church-theater-business at a cost of $130 million. Jeffress, it seems to me, is not the kind and loving Christian he pretends to be but rather a shrewd and glorified god henchman.  I’ll let you read his opinion piece, if you desire, but he has no place, really, bringing his god, his judgment and his views about abortion into this fray with Syria.

I’ve heard Mr. Jeffress say this before: we need to “reclaim God’s absolute and unchanging moral law.” I know….It makes us wonder if he’s even read the Bible. If he had read the OT, he’d know that his God has committed plenty of acts that are now considered immoral to our society.

If he had read the Bible, he’d surely open his state-of-the-art church to the homeless in his city. After all, God’s house, which enjoys benefits from the taxpayers, is not in use at night nor during most days, and there are plenty of folks who need shelter in Dallas.

If he had read the Bible, he’d know that all the times he speaks of knowing God’s will and intentions, of playing god’s mini-me, was a big no-no. He’d know not to judge gays. He’d know not to judge other believers. He’d know not to speak for God like this: “Think about this one time in heaven God was sitting up there with his sketch pad and he said, ‘you know I’m going to design human beings and would it be fun of they started doing this together with one another,’” Jeffress explained. “God dreamed up sex, He thought it up for our enjoyment, He gave us the equipment to enjoy it with.”

Did he now? I thought God added “equipment” right after Adam and Eve showed their naughty side–as punishment–just as the snake lost its legs.  Gee. I guess the Bible is all about interpretation.

If Jeffers had read anything about the history of religion, he’d know that the Catholics and the Mormons and even the Muslims he criticizes are all relatives of his Baptist church, all variants of the same “cult.” (He seems to love that word.) It’s kind of ironic that, in tearing down the separation between church and state as Jeffress desires, he aligns more with the prophet Muhammad and the Islamic faith that he scorns.

Robert Jeffress is the reason why you and I continue to have these dialogues. He’s the reason we want religious leaders to stay in their churches. So every time he gets the urge to shame Americans, every time he wants to fortify his private army at the expense of peace in the populace, every time he sits in his ivory chapel and proclaims judgment on the people below, we don’t have to hear or see him. He has his very own (very extravagant) soapbox with his very own mini-me’s who will nod and clap and cheer. That should be more than enough.

I tried to understand this man, the leader of our nation’s oldest megachurch and the shepherd of 10,000-plus apparently content sheep here in Dallas. Really, I did. I figured if so many people liked him, he must be somewhat likeable.

I’m sure that’s what folks said about Bashar Assad, too.

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39 responses to ““U.S. Decries Assad but Crosses God’s Red Line”

  1. Awesome!

    Love getting your letter every week or so!

  2. Jeffress just knows how to agitate the base to shake the money tree. That’s how he got the mega-church in the first place. It allows his ‘flock’ to feel contemporary and connected to the world in their tsk-tsking as they’re getting sheared.

    Bernie the Attorney would also point out the “associative principle” whereby his congregation is proud of the opulence as it is a reflection of their own worth in the eyes of Gawd.

    “If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we’ve got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don’t want to do it.”

    ― Stephen Colbert

  3. I read Jeffress’ piece on homosexuality. I especially like his voltage analogy:

    He went on to claim that homosexuality is like plugging a TV into a 220-volt power outlet rather than the recommended 120 outlet “because those are antiquated instructions” and “it’s my TV and I can do whatever I want to with it.”

    “Well it is my TV to do what I want to with it but I’m going to blow that TV into smithereens if I put it in a 220 outlet,” Jeffress said.

    I can just imagine some guy’s wedding tackle exploding “Scanners”-style after coming into contact with another guy’s rear end. Thanks for the mental image, Bob.

    As for his mental gymnastics in trying to force some equivalency between Syrian genocide and safe, legal abortion … that’s just what people like him do to get attention. Maybe he was feeling a little irrelevant lately. The point is, I agree with LT: he’s just trying to throw some red meat to those in his flock who are absolutely incapable of understanding the physiological and developmental difference between a fertilized egg or developing embryo versus a born, living, breathing, biologically autonomous person. Puts buns in the seats, I’m sure.

  4. As usual, I agree with you. Guys like this make me sick. They get stinking rich by preaching hate and intolerance to their “flocks” (read: patsies). And it’s all underwritten with our tax money via tax exemptions for “churches.” Nothing very charitable about this church.

  5. That he has 10,000 plus followers brings to my mind one of my favorite Mark Twain quotes: “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform.”

    - Notebook, 1904

  6. Why is it that the men of these mega churches whom condemn homosexuality with such vitriol we find out years later are closeted gays? Marc my words it will be no difference with this loser.

  7. People like Jeffress annoy me because they don’t even understand their own theology let alone the history of it. The only happy thought I have about people like this is that mega-churches tend to fail in a spectacular manner. Look at the fiasco of the Crystal Cathedral in Coral Springs, Florida.

    Pride leadeth before the fall.

    • @Derrick Jeffress is educated, so some of the things he says surprises the hell out of me and makes me wonder if, like a politician, he just says what he thinks his followers want to hear. I’ve been surprised he hasn’t fallen yet…

    • Derrick, Crystal Cathedral (Robert Schuller) is in California near Disney Land. Coral Ridge is Kennedy’s church in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. Coral Ridge is an extremely conservative Presbyterian Church and Schuller (“This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!”), former pastor of the Crystal Cathedral was Dutch Reform. I never made it to Kennedy’s Church, but I saw him on TV once in a while growing up, as I did Schuller. I didn’t attend a service, but visited the Crystal Cathedral in 2009, My family and I were living in San Diego at the time and during our last visit to Disney Land right before moving out here in Tennessee we thought it would be worth a tour.

      • @Charity Thank you for the correction. I knew it was in Florida and I was just trying to pull the information off the top of my head.

        Thanks again!

        • Sorry, Derrick, I hope you don’t think I was coming across as bossy. Honestly, I think it’s kind of sad that I would know enough to make the distinction between the two. Either way, both churches have most certainly had their share of controversy, especially Crystal Cathedral. I knew what you were saying.

  8. Ohhh this guy… I don’t think he did any favors for the pro-life movement with this article. I am pro-life, as you know, but he is comparing apples to oranges here because the basis of his argument assumes that everyone thinks an unborn baby is a baby. On that basis this argument will not be relevant to someone who thinks otherwise. I will say, he is of course entitled to his opinion, but it seems like he got more criticism than support in the comments. Maybe you are not as alone as you think in Texas?

  9. Since war is the topic du jour, I thought I’d share this observation from a while back –

    9/11 is the litmus test.

    So many of the things that reverberate to today are based on the unwillingness to demand full, open and transparent investigations of the attack, the crime scene forensics, and the apparent response failures. Anyone not in lockstep with the coming “payback” was a traitor, and anyone questioning the official narrative was a nutter. That the people so readily dismissing the skeptics, did not heed to call themselves to demand what the commission itself determined; that a proper investigation was needed to uncover the truth.

    Remember, the alternate explanation to deride conspiracy, was the supposedly comforting notion that incompetence, an unrelated type of criminality (the destruction of evidence), the desire to cover your butt, and a string of bad luck and/or remarkable coincidence, explained the seeming contradictions and that the right enemy had been targeted anyway, so no time to navel gaze as we needed to get our bloodbath up and running.

    My recollection is somewhat shorter as to what I saw and what we lost. I live in So Cal and commute to downtown LA, and have for over 20+ years. For *exactly* a day and a half (the same amount of time the air stays smog free after a good rain), the normally selfish and inattentive motorists drove in manner virtually unseen before or since. Over that two day period, they actually showed noticeable consideration and no longer drove oblivious to those around them, not caring
    who they cut off or didn’t let in or honked at for going too slow, or not getting out of the way fast enough…they treated the other drivers as fellow Americans that were also possibly traumatized or numb and that the default position might be that they would appreciate a random act of kindness from a stranger who might just cut another person a break for no other reason than they thought the anonymous person could use one.

    And then, as if it never happened in the first place, it was over. That was how long it took to revert back to type, and embrace dysfunction as normalcy.

    And that’s how we got to where we are today.

    There are some things in life that we can’t turn back the clock on, but tragically that is true even on those things we could turn back the clock on. We’re just not that smart or that caring, and I don’t think it’s overly pessimistic to say that we never will be.

    • LanceT, Your comment brings a mix of emotions. I remember that day, too, and how kind people were for the few days afterwards, and then how mean people became towards those who rejected the idea of attacking a country we had insufficient evidence to attack. There was a sort of mob mentality.

      Do you think that, in countries where the citizens live under constant threat of terrorist attacks or conflict, that people have what we had for those few days?

      I read that on 9/11, virtually no crime occurred. Perhaps it did, but people were too busy or distracted to know or care.

      Wouldn’t it be great, to honor those that died, if we could have continued in our pleasant bubble?

      • @Deb –

        Do you think that, in countries where the citizens live under constant threat of terrorist attacks or conflict, that people have what we had for those few days?

        Good question. I’m not sure. I think our response might be a bit of a first world problem. When things are unraveling so completely as in your example, while there are certainly acts of kindness and solidarity, the purpose is to put the population under such stress that most of the cohesiveness falls by the wayside.

        It seems similar to me how war historian Gwynne Dyer wrote about the purpose of combat. It is to traumatize the opposing forces so thoroughly, that their training and rigid discipline breaks down and the forces basically panic.

        While Americans operated for a short while in a “United We Stand” mode because of the perception that the attack was against us all, in a true all-out assault, we would probably respond much more like the populace in the Los Angeles evacuation scenes in the original “War of the Worlds” (which ironically in fear and ignorance attacked the very efforts to counter the threat).

        As an aside, I think one of the greatest examples of people carrying on through adversity, was the TV show “Combat!” with Vic Morrow as Sgt. Saunders. No matter what obstacles he faced, he found a way to continue the mission. I remember when watching it realizing the theater of war was so vast, that in every scenario, practically every choice possible was made by someone somewhere…good, bad or indifferent. About the only time God or prayer would come in to play was if the local clerics gave them a blessing.

  10. Debbie, I understand why you’re upset. If I hear another mother around me complain about “evil”, “sin” or “the world” I think I’ll puke. Even before my deconversion I wasn’t impressed with Christianese and I didn’t give a flying fart if someone told me what church they belonged to or how long they’ve been “saved”. According to them, all the nonsense in this world is everyone’s fault, but their own. So much for getting the log out of your own eye first.

    I’m glad I”m out of it. I’m glad that I’m finally free from scripture, dogma and religious ritualism. I’m so glad that I no longer have to convince myself that God used a faith healer to make me well, nor do I have to choose between tithes and offerings or doing something special for my husband and children. Where the spirit of the Lord is, is bondage.

    I have reality and I like it. I think it’s fabulous. In spite of bills, errands, sicknesses and misbehavior, I love living in the real world because I have people who I can communicate with and love on. I’ve been recovering from mourning over my forty years lost. I’m seeing the joy that it wasn’t eighty years instead and I like that.

    • Very nice, Charity. I’m truly happy for you that you are enjoying the time you have now–and that sense of newfound freedom.

    • Yay for Charity!

      • It’s been a rough ride, but I’m getting better at navigating my way through it.

        Thanks Debbie and Derrick for your support and great comments, even when I don’t reply I’m still reading them throughout this blog.

    • “Freud said he didn’t know what women wanted. I know what women want: a whole lot of people to talk to. What do they want to talk about? They want to talk about everything.

      What do men want? They want a lot of pals, and they wish people wouldn’t get so mad at them.

      Why are so many people getting divorced today? It’s because most of us don’t have extended families anymore. It used to be that when a man and a woman got married, the bride got a lot more people to talk to about everything. The groom got a lot more pals to tell dumb jokes to.

      Most of us, if we get married nowadays, are just one more person for the other person. The groom gets one more pal, but it’s a woman. The woman gets one more person to talk to about everything, but it’s a man.

      When a couple has an argument nowadays, they may think it’s about money or power or sex or how to raise the kids or whatever. What they’re really saying to each other, though without realizing it, is this: “You are not enough people!”

      A husband, a wife and some kids is not a family. It’s a terribly vulnerable survival unit.

      I met a man in Nigeria one time, an Ibo who had six hundred relatives he knew quite well. His wife had just had a baby, and they were taking it to meet all its relatives. Everybody was going to hold it, cuddle it, say how pretty or how handsome it was. Wouldn’t you have loved to be that baby?

      I sure wish I could wave a wand, and give every one of you an extended family.”

      Kurt Vonnegut ~ “A Man Without a Country”.

      • @LT Great comment! So, if we realized that the world were just our extended family, we’d all be happy.

        So, husband and wives just get tired of each other…so should we encourage an unlimited number of spouses per family? Men and women are too territorial for that. Perhaps there should not be fences, walls or marriage contracts?

  11. That guy makes me sick. I can see his chruch from my office and I find it disgusting that they spent so much money building that monstrosity. Everytime there is something contriversial going on with gay people or abortions, he is always on the news spouting his hate. A few months ago with that abortion law was being passed by Rick Perry, Jefress was on the news villifying the protesters. I would love to ask him how many unwanted children he has adopted and how many pregnant women with nowhere to go he has taken into his home. I’m sure the big fat answer is zero.

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