Prominent Pastor Robert Jeffress of the First Baptist Church of Dallas gave a sermon a few weeks ago saying, among other things: “The deep, dark, dirty secret of Islam: It is a religion that promotes pedophilia - sex with children. This so-called prophet Muhammad raped a 9-year-old girl - had sex with her.”
Now Jeffress has doubled down on his claim in a sermon on Sunday, responding to a column by Steve Blow in The Dallas Morning News that condemned the pastor’s remarks. “It is our love for Muslims that demands we speak the truth about Islam,” Jeffress said Sunday.
Here’s what happened:
First Baptist’s Sunday evening service on August 22 featured an “Ask the Pastor” segment, in which Jeffress called Islam “oppressive” and violent.” He also said that “around the world today, you have Muslim men having sex with 4-year-old girls, taking them as their brides, because they believe the prophet Muhammad did it.”
“I believe,” Jeffress added, “as Christians and conservatives, it’s time to take off the gloves and stand up and tell the truth about this evil, evil religion.”
Here’s the full segment:
This past Sunday, Morning News columnist Blow wrote: “It’s hard to know where to start in expressing dismay with the Rev. Robert Jeffress — for being uninformed, un-Christian or un-American.”
Blow also talked to Robert A. Hunt, a professor of theology at Southern Methodist University and an Islam scholar, who said there was no evidence “whatsoever” to support Jeffress claims about widespread pedophilia.
While Muhammad did marry a 9-year-old as one of his wives, Hunt said it is unfair to apply modern Western standards across cultures and centuries.
Islamic tradition holds that the girl was chosen by God. She became an important religious figure in Islam as a trusted source of sayings from Muhammad.
“Uninformed, I am not,” Jeffress said in his sermon on Sunday as a response.
“It does incite violence. It is used to oppress women around the world,” he added, continuing that he “was not talking about this country” when referencing pedophilia. But, Jeffress said, “the worst thing about Islam is that it is a deception that leads people from the true God.”
Jeffress contended that “we do not hate Muslims” and noted: “I have a very good friend here in Dallas who is a Muslim.”
Watch the full sermon:
Jeffress is well known for his controversial remarks, in several instances decrying former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) for being a Mormon:
Mitt Romney is a Mormon, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. Even though he talks about Jesus as his Lord and savior, he is not a Christian. Mormonism is not Christianity. Mormonism is a cult.