TX pastor who thinks Jews will go to hell gives opening prayer at Jerusalem embassy

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TX pastor who thinks Jews will go to hell gives opening prayer at Jerusalem embassy

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It’s not hard to miss the irony.

Robert Jeffress, a controversial pastor from Dallas who once said non-Christians were destined for hell, blessed the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem on Monday.

Best known for heading First Baptist Church in Dallas, Jeffress is often accused of homophobia and religious bigotry, something former presidential candidate Mitt Romney and others criticized ahead of the embassy opening.

"Robert Jeffress says ‘you can’t be saved by being a Jew,’ and ‘Mormonism is a heresy from the pit of hell.’ He’s said the same about Islam. Such a religious bigot should not be giving the prayer that opens the United States Embassy in Jerusalem," tweeted Romney Sunday night.

"These were comments ripped out of context from years ago," Jeffress said defending himself on Fox News Monday. "Historic Christianity, for 2000 years, has taught that salvation is faith in Christ alone, and the fact that I, and millions of evangelical Christians still believe that, is not bigoted and not newsworthy."

Jeffress’ comments, quoted by Romney from a 2011 speech at the conservative Values Voter Summit, are more than just outspoken confidence in the Christian faith.

Video of the Evangelical pastor’s speech shows him arguing the notion that Christianity must be inclusive to as many people as possible and, amid scattered applause, preaching that Islam and Mormonism are heresies from hell.

Other comments that garnered Jeffress headlines include a 2015 speech in which the pastor implied abortion caused the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, and a confusing 2013 comparison of homosexuality and TV outlets: "Well it is my TV to do what I want to with it but I’m going to blow that TV into smithereens if I put it in a 220 outlet."

Jeffress wasn’t the only Texan in Israel. Senator Ted Cruz also attended the event celebrating the opening of the embassy and commemorating the 70th anniversary of the formation of Israel. You can read his comments about the "historic occasion" here.

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