I’ve watched Robert Jeffress fawn over the President since his inauguration sermon—which he references in patently self-congratulatory ways throughout this video—but this speech from last night’s Celebrate Freedom Rally at the Kennedy Center finally reveals what’s been going on all along. Pastor Robert Jeffress of the First Baptist Church of Dallas has a massive crush on President Trump. He comes off like the bully’s sidekick who is just happy he’s not the one being bullied. It’s not a stretch to call it a poorly repressed sexual attraction. Just watch his face when he talks about Trump reversing the nation’s “downward death spiral” (:31), or worse, when he gives the President credit for doing “more to protect religious liberty than any President in U.S. history” (1:17). I should mention that Jeffress gets most of his “history” from David Barton, a non-historian who traffics in nonsense about America’s Christian foundation.
The real Le Fou moment comes at 1:46, when Jeffress remembers praising Trump for entering the Oval Office with more natural gifts and leadership abilities than any previous President. Who knew that Washington, Adams and Jefferson were less gifted than Donald Trump? Only a man deeply in love could manage such nonsense. Has he not heard of Lincoln or FDR either? Does he read history? Understand it? The pastor of a 10,000-member Baptist church wrote an introduction for the President that sounds like the lavish, masturbatory love poetry of a besotted 13-year-old boy. No one doubts the feelings are real; we just want the teenager to have a little more perspective, a little more experience, a little more wisdom.
Most egregiously, Jeffress barely acknowledges the ostensible purpose of last night’s civil religion worship service: the military veterans. He gives Trump credit for “respecting our veterans” at 1:04. I’m forced to wonder how Trump has done that, especially given that he seems hellbent on kicking millions of them off federal medical aid programs. Jeffress does not live in a fact-based world, though. His is faith-based, but not even the good kind of faith. His is a preference for things as he wishes them to be. When at 2:30 he invites listeners to remember a picture of the President with head bowed and eyes closed at the Western Wall—a picture the President tweeted and captioned with “I am asking for God’s wisdom”—nothing can prepare us for the naïveté of Jeffress’s conclusion. “That is one reason I am so enthusiastically supportive of this President!”
Truly, what could be more convincing than a picture of the President pretending to pray in front of the Western Wall? I’m assuming Jeffress has children. I’m also forced to wonder what his response would be were one of his teenage children to say they intended to go on a three-day cruise with a new date and that the date had promised: “He said he has no intentions to try to have sex with me.” Matter settled? The avoidance of credulity applied to the security of our children should at least be equal to that concerned with the credibility and fitness of world leaders. Not in Jeffress’s faith-based read, though. He finishes by heaping messianic expectations upon Trump, asserting that God is giving us one more chance, maybe the last chance, to save our country.
Jeffress’s next book–he’s written a couple dozen–should be How to Give Caesar a Verbal Handjob in Front of an Entire Country and Remain a Christian.