So when I saw this post about how Pastor Robert Jeffress is supposed to be homophobic, it caught my interest, and I had to investigate. I didn’t know much about Jeffress, and I don’t like to pass on incomplete or misleading information. The article linked to was inconclusive, in my estimation. Yes, I could see he holds a narrow view of marriage—one man, one woman—but that in itself doesn’t make him a bigot. It could just be a difference of opinion. The question is whether he would try to enforce that view on others, particularly those who don’t share his theological perspective. I had to look further.
After searching through more opinion pieces and interviews that didn’t really address the question, I stumbled on the following video which shows part of a longer talk at the “Living on Borrowed Time” conference last November. You don’t need to watch the whole thing, although it does illustrate Jeffress’s position on what is bringing America down (his opinion, not mine). His
tirade on discussion of homosexuality starts at 15:45.
Jeffress lists three Supreme Court decisions that he claims were critical in bringing about the ongoing destruction of America’s moral foundation: Engel vs. Vitale, 1962, which stopped the state from requiring schools to open every school day with a “nondenominational” prayer; Roe vs. Wade, 1973, the famous decision that a woman’s right to privacy forbids the state from outlawing abortion; and Lawrence vs. Garner, 2003, which struck down Texas’s anti-sodomy law.
Of course, Jeffress characterized those decisions somewhat differently. After detailing the destructiveness of censoring student prayer, murdering babies, and (God forbid!) allowing people to have gay sex, he sums it up this way:
No nation that outlaws the acknowledgement of God in the public square, that sanctions the killing of unborn children, and destroys the most basic unit of society, the family, no nation can survive that.
Yes, he really did say that Roe vs. Wade led to the “murder of 50 million children.” He also implied that a deadly school shooting in 1997 would not have occurred had the Ten Commandments still been posted there. We could review his errors in logic regarding these subjects, and there are many, but I think the point regarding sodomy has been established. He’s doesn’t just dislike it, he wants to prohibit it for anyone.
I don’t know what is in his heart. I don’t know whether Jeffress is sincerely homophobic or is just parroting the party line of his brand of conservative Christianity. It’s even possible that he is cynically using that language to increase his following. Regardless, his intent is surely to limit the rights of gay people. He is not merely warning fellow believers of God’s teachings, he is advocating for particular laws and political candidates in order to enforce his own interpretation of morality. The system he is promoting would severely limit the freedom of those who believe differently.