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

    @ hmmmm?

    Joseph Smith could not have been a 33rd degree mason. The 33rd degree didn't exist until May 15, 1867 - twenty-three years after Smith died. Why not go check your facts.

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

    Jeffress may not be another "Jeremiah Wright" but he is WRONG! He wants to say that their has to be a Christian in the white house and that Mormons are a cult – why are they a cult – because like most reliigions and so callled "I'ma Christian" if you don't believe in what I believe than you are NOT truly a believer of God. God forbid that these people believe in American's right to FREEDOM OF RELIGION – oh hell no – they would just rather use their brand of Christianity to shove down everybody's throat the idea of " I'm RIGHT 6 you are WRONG!" If Mr. Jeffress is a TRUE Christian and if Mr. Jeffress is what God is all about – I want nothing to do with it! There isn't ONE person on Earth who truly knows what is the one true religion.

    October 10, 2011 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  3. Dave

    Sorry Jeffress, too late, you are his Jeremiah Wright. Guess Rick should have muzzled you or you could have done us a favor and muzzled yourself.

    October 10, 2011 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  4. Robert

    I expect to see Fox News crucify Perry about this. Anything less proves even moreso how unfair and imbalanced their news is..

    October 10, 2011 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  5. *


    America deserved 9/11?
    you must be talking about Pat Roberston and Jerry Falwell.

    October 10, 2011 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  6. Geoz

    I'll bet the minister is friends with Bill Ayers.

    October 10, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. Bobby

    I think that it is unfortunate the Govenor Perry has allowed himself to be aligned with the Mormon bashing, Baptist minister, Robert Jeffress. There was certainly adequate time
    (2 weeks) for the Perry campaign to insist that the Family Research Council change the person charged with Govenor Perry's introduction. Robert Jeffress has had a long history of making disparaging remarks about The Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints and It's members. Jeffress's comments should come as no surprise to anyone, including Rick Perry and his campaign staff.

    October 10, 2011 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  8. mb2010a

    Tax all churches just like any other business...
    The reason I left the Lutheran Church years ago was because they became too political...the Baptist Church is even worse.
    Everyone here in Dallas knows about the First Baptist Church downtown and Rev. Jeffress opinions...most Baptist here don't attend "that" church precisely for those same opinions. Back when Reagan was running for president, then head of the church Dr, Criswell proclaimed on the front steps of the main sanctuary that he was voting for Reagan and that everyone else should be also. Jeffress should have kept his opinions to himself...

    October 10, 2011 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  9. Charlie in Maine

    Wright is a loud mouthed idiot, you are a traitor to our nation. Way worse.

    October 10, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  10. Annie, Atlanta

    @PandoraDogg – I don't know if what Jeremiah Wright was spewing was poison. All we got were sound bites, over and over again. And I don't profess to know what walking in a Black man's shoes is like in this country. From what I've seen since the President was sworn in, it certainly could not have been easy.

    Boiled down to basics, I don't care about the religious beliefs of someone running for office. And the fact that these candidates and their supporters make a big deal about it makes me sick. Keep religion out of politics. That's #1. Number 2 is the money involved in politics. We the people can't buy politicians, so why do we allow corporations, Wall Street, and the rich do it?

    October 10, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  11. Tony in Maine

    No – Jeremiah Wright was a man of principle though I don't agree with his. You, Jeffress, are a bigoted hypocrite who would be selling snake oil to the wide-eyed were it not for FDA regulations.

    October 10, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  12. Zil Zerimar

    I would rather elect a person who is true to his relgious belief than someone who in public is praying then lying.

    October 10, 2011 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  13. Stacey

    I can't believe how ready everyone is to call Jeffress Perry's Jeremiah Wright when the left obviously didn't have a very big problem with Jeremiah Wright, or they never would have overlooked the poison he was spewing. There is no comparison between asserting that Mormonism meets the theological definition of a cult according to Jeffress's own ideology and asserting that America deserved 9/11. There is no comparison between being introduced by a man at an event and attending a man's church for years. I don't even like Perry – but this isn't fair, and you all know it.

    I think it's fair game. Did Perry actually expect there would be no blowback after Jeffress' comment? There is a comparison because both Wright and Jeffress are bigots – that's the comparison.

    October 10, 2011 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  14. anthony78

    3 words : Yes he is.

    October 10, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  15. connieb

    Phoenix 86–What a rediculously biased thing to say. How can you possibly know that.

    October 10, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Let's not lose sight of the fact of who made the comparison to Jeremiah Wright. The comparison did not come from the left, liberals, Democrats, or any elected official. The words came out of Pastor Jeffress' mouth, purely of his own volition.

    I think liberals and moderates should stay out of this entire debate, and just watch it unfold. Let's see how efficiently they sweep it under the rug as if it never happened.

    October 10, 2011 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  17. diridi

    you are a crazy idiot...o.k, worst than Jaramiah wright...o.k,

    October 10, 2011 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  18. what's up

    Perry screwed up. He should have let Obama attack Romney's faith, which would have come soon enough.

    October 10, 2011 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  19. Woman In California

    @ Lynda/Minnesota

    I agree with every word you said. Well spoken and FACT.

    October 10, 2011 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  20. what's up

    But America elected Rev. Wright Obama and his church of Hate. So not a problem.

    October 10, 2011 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  21. Rsprings

    Then keep your mouth shut.

    October 10, 2011 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  22. AlaskaPalin

    Are liberals really appealing to peoples emotion rather than their intellect? Isn't this seen as heresy in their ranks? Now the liberals outnumber the religious in america so what this religious leader has to say is insignificant? If the religious ( not cult) stand together behind a candidate that is of their persuasion they'll have a major say in who'll be president. If romney is the choice then romney=obama.

    October 10, 2011 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  23. julnor

    It's hard to equate a Perry supporter commenting on the religion of another candidate with Obama being a member of a church who's leader said GD America. Liberals can try to equate it, but it's not the same.

    October 10, 2011 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    I must question the motives behind Pastor Jeffress comparing himself to Jeremiah Wright. Remember, who drew the first comparison. Pastor Jeffress introduced Jeremiah Wright into the national conversation. And, now the far right wing is about to turn the conversation away from Jeffress and onto Rev. Wright, who I believe is now retired.

    Jeffress' remarks are calculated to distract from himself, and re-open the entire Rev. Wright discourse again.

    October 10, 2011 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  25. Tannim

    Frankly, the real problem with Perry isn't any guilt-by-association relationship to a nutjob pastor. Ditto Obama, for that matter.

    Neither is the real problem with Romney the fact that he's Mormon, or that in 2008 he wimped out over it.

    The real problem is that all of them have just awful policy stances and that alone makes them both unelectable.

    That, and the fact that far too many voters drink the statist D/R Kool-Aid and vote against the best interests of life liberty and property by voting for them.

    October 10, 2011 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
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