Amid rapidly escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea, controversial evangelical Pastor Robert Jeffress of the First Baptist Megachurch in Dallas has said that “God has given trump authority to take out Kim Jong-un.”
Evangelicals have been in the spotlight recently after a scathing article was published in a Vatican-vetted journal, La Civilta Cattolica, criticizing American Catholics for forming what is considered by the authors of the essay to be a dangerous allegiance with the conservative Southern Baptist belt.
The authors went on to denigrate the popular idea amongst evangelicals that the United States enjoys a unique and unconditional blessing from the Lord. Perhaps it is this notion that inspired Pastor Jeffress to sanction military action against North Korea on behalf of God.
Robert Jeffress’ relationship with President Trump seeded during the real estate mogul’s 2016 presidential bid and seems to have blossomed ever since. While visiting Jeffress’ Texas-based megachurch in January, Trump received an impassioned endorsement from the First Baptist pastor.
Consequently, Jeffress was able to secure a position within Trump’s inner circle, serving as a religious adviser in the Oval Office. For evangelicals, the pastor’s direct access to the president has been celebrated as a victory for the advancement of conservative Christian values within the government.
Nevertheless, it still came as a shock to those outside the sphere of the evangelical right when Jeffress, on Tuesday, released a statement saying that “in the case of North Korea, God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong Un.”
While speaking during a telephone interview with the Washington Post, Jeffress claimed that he was persuaded to comment after Trump said, controversially, that if Kim Jong-un’s threats to the U.S. don’t cease, North Korea will be “met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
To clarify his assertion, Jeffress cited the Biblical book of Romans, saying, “God has endowed rulers full power to use whatever means necessary — including war — to stop evil.”
More specifically, the evangelical pastor was referring to a passage in Romans 13, in which it is written, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.”
The passage further declares that political officials “are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.”
For Jeffress, within the context of current U.S. and North Korea tensions, Romans 13 “gives the government the authority to do whatever, whether it’s assassination, capital punishment or evil punishment to quell the actions of evildoers like Kim Jong-un.”
As a preemptive rebuttal to what Jeffress refers to as “pacifist Christians” who, he believes, are likely to use the words “do not repay evil for evil” from Romans 12 as a counter to his statements, the pastor claims that the passage refers specifically to Christians, not to the state.
“A Christian writer asked me, ‘Don’t you want the president to embody the Sermon on the Mount?’ I said absolutely not.”
When @POTUS draws a red line, he will not erase, move, or back away from it. Thank God for pres. who is serious ab. protecting our country.— Dr. Robert Jeffress (@robertjeffress) August 8, 2017
Mr. Jeffress has frequently made headlines for expressing tendentious views. During his sermon at the St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington on the morning of Trump’s inauguration, the religious leader compared the then president-elect to Nehemiah who was an instrumental Biblical figure involved in the reconstruction of Jerusalem.
The pastor went on to metaphorically compare the United States to the ancient city, saying that “God is not against building walls.” In fact, for the conservative Christian, constructing walls to protect America is an imperative.
In Jeffress’ view, Trump has been “very measured, very thoughtful in every response.” Unlike former President Barack Obama, who, according to Jeffress, opened the door to the Antichrist and failed to act decisively on matters of national security.
Meanwhile, North Korea’s military has issued a number of statements openly defying President Trump’s threats of “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
On Wednesday, Pyongyang sent a warning to the United States that a preemptive strike “was no longer a monopoly of the U.S.” One of the statements further affirmed that “the tragic end of the American empire will be hastened,” if any attempts to enforce regime change in North Korea were to be carried out.
The Washington Post reported that North Korea had made a giant leap in their development of nuclear missiles after allegedly successfully producing miniaturized nuclear warheads that can be fitted into their current arsenal of inter-continental ballistic missiles.
America’s Defense Intelligence Agency confirmed these allegations in a report that was circulated amongst government officials. Indeed, this would mean that North Korea has attained the status of a legitimate nuclear power.
Given these latest revelations, it’s no wonder that both U.S. citizens and countries worldwide are deeply concerned by the inflammatory rhetoric that is being exchanged between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un.
[Featured Image by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images]