The Atlantic

‘One Way We Push Back Against Evil Is Through the Leaders We Elect’

Pastor Robert Jeffress talks about his support for Donald Trump—and why Christians have an obligation to be involved in politics.
Source: Yuri Gripas / Reuters

Last Friday, President Donald Trump tweeted out an endorsement of a “great book” by “a wonderful man”: A Place Called Heaven, a new work on the afterlife by Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist church in Dallas. Jeffress is a member of Trump’s informal council of evangelical advisors and has backed many of the president’s controversial decisions, including war of words with North Korea. “God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong Un,” Jeffress said in August.

Then, last Saturday, Jeffress announced on Twitter that he would host the Fox News anchor Sean Hannity at his church on Sunday. Critics ranging from the political commentator Erick Erickson to Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska replied caustically. According to Erickson, the pastor “seems more committed to Trump’s America than Jesus’s eternity.” In an interview, Jeffress responded critically, wondering if Sasse and others would criticize religious leaders who were involved in the American revolution, the abolition of slavery, and the civil-rights movement.

Jeffress, who sees himself as Trump’s “most vocal and visible evangelical spokesman,” embodies a distinct school of thought about the way Christians should relate to politics. During his sermon the day Hannity came, Jeffress spoke about Supreme Court decisions that he felt

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic4 min read
The Books Briefing: Reassessing the Back-to-School Reading List
Whether you’re a parent or a child, a student or a teacher (and even if you don’t currently identify with any of those categories), the dog days of summer can often bring to mind that back-to-school feeling—including the urgency of trying to cram in
The Atlantic3 min readPolitics
The Amazon Fires Are More Dangerous Than WMDs
One person shouldn’t have the power to set policies that doom the rest of humanity’s shot at mitigating rising temperatures.
The Atlantic3 min readPolitics
The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Tariffraff
China said it plans to slap more retaliatory tariffs on American products, and Trump said the U.S. would slap black. Plus: the American hostages America forgot.