If Donald Trump is a friend to “the gays,” he has a downright clueless way of showing it.
The Republican presidential candidate, who has been making the case these days that he’s better for LGBT people than Hillary Clinton, retweeted a thumbs-up photo of him Friday with his good pal, antigay pastor Robert Jeffress. The pastor said he was “honored to pray for my friend” at a Dallas rally together. In the past, he's also said 70 percent of gays have AIDS, that there's a direct link between homosexuality and pedophilia, and a lot more.
Not even the NFL’s Tim Tebow would be in the same room as Jeffress. Back in 2013, Tebow reneged on a speaking engagement at First Baptist Church in Dallas after outrage spread that a New York Jet would have anything to do with this man. The church is well known in the city and worldwide, after all, for its extremely, extremely homophobic pastor.
When Tebow had planned to speak there, The Advocate ran this following accounting of some of the absolute worst moments from Jeffress’s repertoire. It bears repeating now:
- In 1998, Jeffress checked out all the books from a Wichita Falls library that were inclusive of gay parents and promised never to return them. His protest led to many more copies of Heather Has Two Mommies and Daddy's Roommate being donated to the library, and a waiting list formed just to check them out.
- Jeffress gave a two-part sermon in July 2007 called "Homosexuality Is a Perversion." In it, he complained that "homosexuality is being crammed down our throats" by activists who are using "brainwashing techniques." To help his congregation stay vigilant, he listed the supposed techniques in their Sunday program. Listen to an excerpt below.
- Jeffress got a lot of attention in 2008 for a “Why Gay Is Not OK” sermon during which he called homosexuality "a twisting of God's plan" and said there is no such thing as Christian LGBT people, who he said are "worshipping a God of their own imagination." (To be fair, Jeffress is also known as the pastor who said Mitt Romney is "not a Christian" because "Mormonism is a cult.")
- In August 2011, Jeffress gave a sermon titled "What to Say to Those Who Are Gay" and in it he misrepresented a Dutch study and told his followers that "the idea of long-term homosexual relationships is a myth." Listen to an excerpt below.
- Jeffress introduced presidential candidate Rick Perry during the Values Voter Summit in October 2011 and during an interview said gays should be kept out of the military because "70 percent of the gay population" has AIDS, adding "it's a fact that it's a gay disease." Watch the interview with ThinkProgress below.
- Jeffress took to his Sunday pulpit to urge congregants in July 2012 to buy some Chick-fil-A. But "this is not about bashing homosexuals," he claimed, according to the Dallas Voice.
- Also in July 2012, Jeffress compared being gay to bestiality while a guest on The Janet Mefferd Show. "The retort to that is 'Oh! Are you pulling a Rick Santorum and saying that homosexuality is like bestiality, uh, incest, or pedophilia'? And I say yes," he told the radio host, according to audio from RightWingWatch. "It is just as immoral as those practices. But then I’m quick to add, it’s also just as immoral as adultery, premarital sex, or unbiblical divorce. Any deviation from God’s plan is sin." He said gays lead a "miserable lifestyle" and are depressed because activists tell them they are born that way instead of offering his "message of hope" that gay people can be straight.
- Then again that month, Jeffress's radio ministry replayed a sermon in which he claimed there is a link between being gay and pedophilia. "Amazingly, some gay activists don’t even try to hide the link between homosexuality and pedophilia," he said in the sermon, according to audio from RightWingWatch. "There are some who are right now are actively involved in trying to legalize sex between adults and children by lowering the age of consent or removing it altogether."
- In December 2012, Jeffress warned his congregants that if the United States doesn't stop same-sex marriage and "turn away and say no to what God has called an abomination," the country is doomed. "I think we ought to have a strong military, but there is absolutely no amount of armaments we could require to protect ourselves against the judgment of almighty God," he said according to audio from RightWingWatch.
Here's Donald Trump smiling, though, with Robert Jeffress by his side:
— Dr. Robert Jeffress (@robertjeffress) June 17, 2016