Following the shooting in Alexandria, Virginia, on Wednesday in which Republican members of Congress were targeted, suddenly a conservative religious leader has had a change of heart on how politicians should be treated.
Dallas-based evangelical pastor Robert Jeffress tweeted out a call for people to stop the “demonization of public officials,” after the shooting occurred.
Now is the time to stop demonization of public officials. Now is the time to stop provoking our nation to conflict. https://t.co/cQFtZqYXTP— Dr. Robert Jeffress (@robertjeffress) June 14, 2017
However, this is the same man who once said that former president Barack Obama paved the way for the Antichrist, as HuffPost notes.
Jeffress later expanded on his tweet in a blog post:
“The incident also highlights the fact that the unrelenting demonization of our legitimately elected political leaders could lead to tragedy, and I refer particularly to the mainstream media, our universities, and to Hollywood. Now is the time to tone it all down, embrace real tolerance, report objectively and stop provoking our nation to conflict.”
Where was all this talk of tolerance when Jeffress wrote this incredibly dark passage in his 2014 book titled “Perfect Ending” about Predident Barack Obama’s support of LGBT rights?
“For the first time in history a president of our country has openly proposed altering one of society’s (not to mention God’s) most fundamental laws: that marriage should be between a man and a woman. While I am not suggesting that President Obama is the Antichrist, the fact that he was able to propose such a sweeping change in God’s law and still win reelection by a comfortable margin illustrates how a future world leader will be able to oppose God’s laws without any repercussions.”
Jeffress clarified his past statements to Huffpost, insisting that he never actually called Obama the Antichrist, despite linking the two on more than one occasion.
“I was clear that Obama was not the Antichrist, and that I continue to pray for him,” he reportedly said. “There was no call for violence or a belief that he was an illegitimate candidate. I believe God put him in office.”
He went on to explain that his request to end the demonization of politicians is not to undercut free speech.
“I believe in the First Amendment,” he said. “But we shouldn’t associate it with violence.”
While, in general, Jeffress' statement is one we can agree upon, the hypocrisy the pastor is displaying diminishes the weight his plea for peace and unity carries.