Pastor Robert Jeffress defended his support of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on July 12 by saying that the U.S. needs a "strongman" as president not someone who follows Jesus' teachings in the Sermon on the Mount (video below).
Jeffress, who is head of First Baptist Dallas, said he would "run" from a candidate who followed Jesus' sermon during an interview with radio host Mike Gallagher:
But as far as his worldview, Trump's world view, I was debating an evangelical professor on NPR and this professor said, "Pastor, don’t you want a candidate who embodies the teaching of Jesus and would govern this country according to the principles found in the Sermon on the Mount?"
I said, "Heck no." I would run from that candidate as far as possible because the Sermon on the Mount was not given as a governing principle for this nation. Nowhere is government told to forgive those who wrong it, nowhere is government commanded to turn the other cheek.
Government is to be a strongman to protect its citizens against evildoers. When I’m looking for somebody who’s going to deal with ISIS and exterminate ISIS, I don’t care about that candidate’s tone or vocabulary, I want the meanest, toughest, son of a you-know-what I can find, and I believe that’s Biblical.
In September 2015, Jeffress was supporting then-GOP candidate Ben Carson and told OneNewsNow: "To say that a candidate's faith doesn't make any difference is absolutely ridiculous."
Jeffress also advised Christian voters to use a "religious litmus story" to select their candidate.
"I mean, our faith gives us our worldview," Jeffress added. "It's the essence of who we are."
After endorsing Trump in March, Jeffress told Breitbart News: "Every Christian has the right to his own opinion about a presidential candidate, but no Christian has the right to impose his preference as a litmus test for someone else’s Christianity or spirituality."