Jeffress: I’m not ‘Rick Perry’s Jeremiah Wright’
October 10th, 2011
12:25 PM ET
3 years ago

Jeffress: I’m not ‘Rick Perry’s Jeremiah Wright’

(CNN) – Baptist minister Robert Jeffress drew ire Friday for his comments equating Mormonism to a cult and discouraging Republicans from voting for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at the Values Voter Summit–after he introduced Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

And Monday, he attempted to distance himself from another minister famous for inflammatory remarks that stirred up controversy for an–eventually successful–White House hopeful.

When asked to describe his relationship with Perry, a contender for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, Jeffress responded, "We are just acquaintances."

"You know, there are people who would like to try to make me the Jeremiah Wright of the right, or Rick Perry's Jeremiah Wright," the head of a Dallas megachurch and leader in evangelical circles said during an interview on Fox News.

President Barack Obama publicly distanced himself from Wright, the minister he'd once seen as mentor, on the 2008 campaign trail when racially charged comments made by Wright during sermons drew unwanted attention to the then-senator's presidential campaign.

But Jeffress insisted there is no such relationship between him and Perry whom, he asserted, he only knew from a distance.

"Rick Perry has never listened to a sermon of mine, he's certainly never been a member of my church. We are just acquaintances," Jeffress pointed out, in a not-so-subtle allusion to the relationship between the Obama and Wright, the head of another large church to which the president once belonged.

Perry responded Friday to Jeffress' comment, saying "no" when asked whether he believed Mormonism was a cult. His spokesman, Mark Miner, stated that Jeffress was chosen to introduce Perry by the Family Research Council, and not the campaign. The summit organizers said the campaign was told of his selection to introduce the governor about two weeks prior.

Jeffress made similar remarks back during the 2008 campaign, when Romney made his first run for the presidency.

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Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Rick Perry • Values Voter Summit
soundoff (96 Responses)
  1. lynnburgamy

    A republican will not be back in the white house as long as the evangelical extremists dominate the party. I am a Christian and I believe that a real christian would never judge another on their sincerely held beliefs. Christ certainly didn't. The evangelical wing of the party further exposes their hyprocrisy, ignorance, and bigotry. Romney wasn't given a fair shake around last time because of the Huckabee bigots and looks like it will be the Perry bigots this time around. Shame on all of you. It makes me sad and ashamed for our political party.

    October 10, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  2. David Etenburn

    The big difference between Robert Jeffress and Jeremiah Wright is Jeffress says "God Bless America", while Wright said, "God damn America." The difference between Rick Perry and Barack Obama in their relationship between their alleged pastoral issues is how much these pastors had any influence them. In Obama's case, he went to Wright's Church for how many years? 10? 20?? Opportunities to influence galore there. And how many times Has Perry visited Jeffress' church? NOT ONCE, says Jeffress?? Hmmmm.... Methinx Perry does not have a minister problem.

    Bottom line is this: God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit are in charge. The politicians we elect have no power at all, except for what God has given them. So I will vote my conscience, and respect whoever gets elected; regardless of hypocrisy or ideology.

    October 10, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  3. lue blacke

    I do not understand why romney who has been a presidential candidate several times-do not know that nothing is off the table when it comes to politics. All of a sudden he is talking about "playing nice'. If perry is desperate-than romney is too-even more so-because romney is rich-so he wants the power of the presidency -after trying so many times.

    October 10, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    Oh, I get it: its ok for a conservative minister to attack another sect/ denomination/ religion, not to mention all the times the Relifgious Right has said America has invited the 9/11 attacks for allowing gays to have equal rights, but if another equally crazy minister on the opposite end of the political spectrum says idiotic things in the presence of the current president prior to hsi being in the White House, that's an attack on the nation? Get a grip, people. Religion is politics and bigotry made sacred. Please evolve.

    October 10, 2011 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  5. Karen B.

    My , oh my, how we have lost our way! I thought as an American, we were free to worship or subscribe to any religious doctrine we chose? When does another so called Christian minister get off criticizing anyone because his choice is to subscribe to a different set of religious doctrine??? So very sad that these guys are not really Christians after all when they attack others for a differing belief system.. We expect this in Iran, but not in America.

    October 10, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  6. AN AMERICAN

    I love it. Look at these politicians, pathetic. Running all around to look good, comment right, and still look silly. The Republican party is fallig apart as we read. They are absolutely lost on identifying who they are and what they represent. Every nut case who stepps up is struck down by the same nuts who brought you Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, and Rick Perry. As long as they keep bringing up these opinionated, closed minded, zigzag candidates, there will be no election, just a line of jokes til the President deservingly wins again.

    October 10, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  7. willard

    Robert jefferies are fault word his mouth why cargia are keep riots with christian

    October 10, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  8. Lin

    First off, I don't much like either the Republican or Democratic parties. But for the people who have been posting on this topic for the last few days claiming anti-Mormonism is a GOP prejudice, well, I've lived in the South (mostly Republican) and Seattle (mostly Democrats) and found that the levels of hatred towards and ignorance about Mormons were pretty equal in both parts of the country.

    October 10, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  9. willard

    I am belived that amercian want get out of presdient obama cause he was too many problems with his job for 3 yrs

    October 10, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  10. Mr. Moderate

    'Just acquaintences" ? I distinctly heard him say in the CNN interview that he does not know if Obama is a "Christian" because he does not know him. Perry, on the other hand, is someone he know and has spoken to and has proven his Christian chops to him.

    October 10, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  11. Bret

    Keep throwing this trash but its not going to stick. Evangelicals are not going to vote based on a person's so called christian purity as much as the media and liberals would like that to happen. Mormonism is not something christians even associate with Christianity but we all know Mormons who we hold in high estemm and we not going to be voting on religious affiliation. Politicians are not moral figures so voting as if they are is flawed.

    October 10, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  12. flavoter

    Rev. Wright spoke about the things white America wants to pretend doesn't exist. Things they pretend they don't understand the anger and distrust from various ethinic groups in this country who have been tormented.

    But Jeffress is your typical hypocrit if he thinks Mormons are a cult and if he were a true Christian he should be trying to win them over instead of demonizing Mormons spreading the "GOOD NEWS" is supposed to be his job?? This is all politics, churches playing politics for their own personal financial gain and agenda.

    October 10, 2011 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  13. Jake

    separation of church and state, people, separation of church and state!
    we shouldn't be worried about ANY politician's religious affiliation if they take their oath to office seriously!

    October 10, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  14. Larry L

    It's foolish to blame Rick Perry for the comments of some right-wing, evangelical preacher leading a huge flock of mindless, Bible-thumping, Jesus freaks. Perry provides enough of his own verbal nonsense for people to reject him as a possible candidate for POTUS. However, his appeal to that group is real and his political fortunes depend on their bigotry and willingness to dominate the American government with Christian dogma – like the American Taliban.

    October 10, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  15. Randy, San Francisco

    Ironic that the GOP/Tea Party pushes the strict interpretation of the US Constitution and yet requires a particular religious affiliation on a candidate for president.

    October 10, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  16. carolyn

    Read the Book of Morman, Pearl of Great Price and Doctrines and Covenents all written and or divinely inspired by angels appearing to the Morman founder Joseph Smtih- this is the foundation of Mormonism. I don't care if Romney believes the moon is made of green cheese; but I want to hear what's in the head of person who wants to be Presidnet of the United States of America believes that an Angel named Moroni is the foundation of his beliefs'. I don't know from cults; but I know BS when I hear it.

    October 10, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  17. 1nd3p3nd3nt

    what? You mean people actually remember rev wright and obama? I thought the plan was to collectively ignore the months of controversy surround rev wright to paint obama as muslim?

    October 10, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  18. nobody

    This only demonstrates and reinforces why religion has no place in government or politics. We are not electing a Pope and frankly I don't want a president that looks to the bible before he looks to the constitution to guide his decision making process.

    October 10, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  19. phoenix86

    I'm pretty sure that Perry's minister will have less influence over him than Wright has over Obama.

    October 10, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  20. ST

    If it is allowed people to be dived by race, why not by religion??? We hear percentage of ; blacks, latinos, jewish etc. etc. supported the president. Not only race, also percentage of catholics, evangelical, etc. etc. What is wrong of mentioning Mormons? Is this not a religion???

    October 10, 2011 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  21. G D

    The answer for Perry is simple, yet too complex for him. The right answer is: The U.S. was founded in part on freedom of religion. I'm free to believe, not believe, or otherwise and the Constitution grants those rights. People unwilling to let good neighbors believe as they wish are bigots & sometimes dangerous to those freedoms. Perry is a fool for not taking this moment to make a clear, bold, U.S. statement.

    October 10, 2011 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  22. Stu Steinberg

    People like Pastor Jeffress are much worse than Jeremiah Wright. Mr. Jeffress is part of a movement within the evangelical community, that Mr. Perry is involved with, who believe our democratic republic should be replaced with a Christian theocracy. They claim, falsely, that this was the intent of the founders and those who wrote the Constitution. In addition, they are inherently anti-Semitic since they preach that Jews must be converted to Christianity in order to bring about the return of Jesus. In the 40s and 50s, when Communists preached the overthrown of the government, they were tried and convicted for sedition. Mr. Jeffress and those like him are traitors and should be treated as such. Given the comments by Mr. Jeffress and others, it can only be concluded that they have the same bigoted beliefs about Jews, Catholics and all religions that are not in accord with their fascist beliefs.

    October 10, 2011 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  23. Max S.

    Just goes to show you that bigotry is alive and well in the good old U.S. of A.

    October 10, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  24. Loathstheright

    Well, all religions are cults...people who believe in Gods that don't exist...primative ignorance.

    October 10, 2011 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  25. Lane

    @Carolyn. Interesting comments. I'm sure a non christian would feel the same way about a christian who believes that Moses spoke to a burning bush, parted the red sea, and did miracles of God with a staff...and one man came back from the dead and is the Savior of the world. Are these not miraculous/strange acts soley because they are accepted as truth by many? If you were a non christian and you heard these things, would you call out the same "BS"? What goes on in the candidates minds that accept these truths as well?

    October 10, 2011 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
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