Robert Jeffress might not be the most prominent members of Donald Trump's ensemble of advisers but that doesn't mean he is short of any controversies.
Trump often uses Jeffress, who is an evangelic pastor, when he wants to appeal to Christian voters. He has been a member of Trump's Evangelical Advisory Board and White House Faith Initiative since June 2016.
Jeffress is also a Fox News contributor and his show Pathway to Victory is also aired on Fox Nation. It should come as no surprise that he has said some pretty unsavoury stuff about the LGBTQ+ community.
In a report by Media Matters into Jeffress homophobia, a passage from his 2004 book Hell? Yeah, he recounts a story of a high school student known only as Susan who had recently come out and had admitted to struggling with suicidal thoughts.
According to Jeffress, Susan had visited his ministry for some guidance. Jeffress started by reportedly asking her how "God feels about your homosexual activity?"
She replied to this question by saying:
I understand now that God created me with these desires, desires that I have had since I was a little girl.
For years I have been miserable trying to deny those feelings and have seriously contemplated suicide. But now that I have accepted who I am, I am happier than I have ever been in my life!
Jeffress stated that her answer wasn't satisfactory and in this passage of the book he cites the discredited Dr Irving Bieber, who claimed that people could change their sexual orientation.
He reportedly "brought up the issue of choice" to Susan before adding that she renounced her sexuality to God but wasn't convinced by what she said:
I wish I could report that after hearing the above information, she renounced her homosexual tendencies, confessed her sin to God, and left my office with a newfound attraction to the opposite sex. She didn’t.
Within the same chapter, he claims that 'the power of Jesus Christ' can prevent people from 'acting on those desires.'
That magnetic pull toward the forbidden, present in all of our hearts, manifests itself in different ways. Some are drawn toward adultery, some toward violence, some toward substance abuse, and some (possibly) toward homosexuality.
Whether those desires are caused by nature (biological factors), by nurture (environmental factors), or by some combination of both is ultimately inconsequential. None of us gets a “pass” from God for rebellious behaviour just because it arises from our innate desires, regardless of the cause of those desires. But here is the good news: Through the power of Jesus Christ, all of us can be freed from acting on those desires.
In more recent news, Jeffress reacted angrily to an anti-Trump advert that was aimed at Evangelical voters. Speaking to OneNewsNow, Jeffress said:
If President Trump is not reelected, there is going to be a backlash against people of faith like we cannot imagine.
Indy100 has contacted Jeffress for comment.