Jeffress: I’m not ‘Rick Perry’s Jeremiah Wright’
October 10th, 2011
12:25 PM ET
11 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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Voters bid on the ties off candidates' necks

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

    – cult:

    1. a particular system of religious worship, especially with reference to its rites and ceremonies.
    2. an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, especially as manifested by a body of admirers.
    3. the object of such devotion.
    4. a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.

    One religion calling another religion a cult while claiming their religion is not – irony, meet hypocrisy!

    October 10, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  2. Peter

    Jeremiah Wright? Oh, yes. I remember. That was the radical Baptist minister that was the head of the Trinity Baptist Church. You know, the Baptist church that Obama was a member of for 20 years which enraged the right wingnuts. That was 2008. Of course, in 2011, the right wingnuts now say that Obama is a "closet Muslim". How soon they forget their own outrage!

    October 10, 2011 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  3. The Real Tom Paine

    @ phoenix86: Clarify just how much influence Wright has had on Obama? Please show real evidence, not some worthless link to another Right-Wing blogger with a few selectively culled quotes. Just curious, do you get angry when Pat Robertson uses every disaster, both natural and man-made, to say those things are happening because Gays want equal treatment under the law?

    October 10, 2011 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    @ Julnor:

    You're wrong. The chickens have come home to roost, now deal with it.

    October 10, 2011 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  5. zb

    In America we have a name for bigotry, hate, intolerence, ignorance, and explitation. Its called the "Republican/Tparty".

    October 10, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  6. Mark Hudson

    This is more nonsense and another media diversion.

    October 10, 2011 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain

    Someone's in panic mode ....

    October 10, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  8. krissmith777

    All I can say to you, Reverend, is this: Yes you are.

    You reminded me of Jeremiah Wright when you made your statement, and it reflects badly on your boy Perry even though he is trying to distance himself from it..

    The irony is Perry;s distancing himself could also hurt him since it will turn off some voters who only considered him because he was not a Mormon. That was all Perry had going for him,

    October 10, 2011 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  9. Back Pew

    So finally, the liberal media has gotten to the Jeremiah Wright story. Great timing guys!

    October 10, 2011 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |

    Slickness at it best from this pastor! Just mention Rev. Wright, point the conversation back to that, and play to old memories of a racial divide in order to deflect the negativity away from oneself! Yep, just play the subtle 'race-card' and all will be well in Texas!!

    October 10, 2011 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  11. Jeff Spangler

    Religion is relevant, just as race matters. How voters deal with these very public issues in American democracy provides a useful insight into their core beliefs and process of reasoning. Debate should remain civil but will be sharp.

    October 10, 2011 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  12. woodofpine

    Religious leaders have been talking politics since they learned to talk... It seems the more politically charged a religious leader is, the more he fails at both!!

    October 10, 2011 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  13. Jam.Nat

    It was a non-issue with Obama, it should be a non-issue with Perry and zb your comment is typical libtard.

    October 10, 2011 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  14. rs

    Well, yeah he is. The religious nutjob does not make the candidate- but they may show (yet more) evidence of bad decision making. I wouldn't sleep well thinking this religious creep has any sway over my President.

    October 10, 2011 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  15. bawana

    oh blinding light
    oh light that blinds
    well i can't see
    so look out for me

    October 10, 2011 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  16. texan

    Just what we need----- evangelicals/ preachers campaigning for candidates. Jeffress always saw himself as the leader of a large following/ group-– dare I say "cult" !!!! That`s why he desperately wanted the First Baptist Church of Dallas while he preached in Wichita Falls. Huge "flock".

    October 10, 2011 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  17. Stacey

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


    Yeah, especially since Obama is supposed to be a Muslim! LOL!

    October 10, 2011 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  18. MarineDad05

    I really don't care about all this right now.

    The first test for me is that each of the Republican/Tea Party candidates produce (in long form) their ORIGINAL birth certificate. This has to be done immediately.

    And once these are published, I will promptly ignore it and NOT believe any of it. That is because I have learned the fine art of lunacy from Donald Trump, to each and every nut in the GOP/Tea Party.

    It's basically, show me the proof, and I still won't believe ya.

    If and when they happen to pass the idiot test, we will then argue about their weird religious affiliations.

    October 10, 2011 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  19. Dave

    Actually you are 5 times worse than Reverend Wright. Hands down.

    October 10, 2011 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  20. RobertC

    Look at election returns from Arizona, Utah and Idaho. About 80% of Mormons consistently vote Republican. If Party leadership has any sense of self-preservation at all they will run from this clown and his stupid remarks as quick as they possibly can.

    October 10, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  21. Whatever

    Why is it okay to diss muslims while expounded "Christian" love but heaven forbid if someone speaks ill of another "Christian" religion. He said what many are thinking and to even bring up Rev. Wright is so silly!!! Now if he is telling his congregation how to vote and they listen without questioning... that is a cult... Just saying!!!

    October 10, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
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