Pastor Robert Jeffress is a known supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump and he was chosen to speak at a ceremony celebrating the opening of the United States' Jerusalem embassy in Israel. The move of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem fulfilled one of Trump's promises but has been very controversial, sparking riots that resulted in the deaths of many people ahead of the ceremony. Republican Senate candidate Mitt Romney spoke out against Trump's choice for the opening prayer by calling Jeffress a "religious bigot" on Twitter.
"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," Romney tweeted.
The Christian pastor has not been known to pull any punches in regards to criticizing other religions. According to Haaretz, Jeffress supported Romney for his presidential bid, but he also believes that Mormons are part of a "cult" and claims the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is not a true part of mainline Christianity.
"God sends good people to Hell. Not only do religions like Mormonism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism — not only do they lead people away from God, they lead people to an eternity of separation from God in Hell," Jeffress said back in 2010 during a Politically Incorrect lecture series.
Besides attacking non-Christian religions, the pastor has also been critical of the Catholic Church in the past. In a 2011 sermon, Jeffress called the Catholic Church a "cult-like, pagan religion" that "infected the early Church" and "corrupted" it by showing "the genius of Satan."
"Today the Roman Catholic Church is the result of that corruption," Jeffress said back then. "Much of what you see in the Catholic Church today doesn't come from God's word. It comes from this cultlike pagan religion. You say, 'Well, now, Pastor, how can you say such a thing? That is such an indictment of the Catholic Church.' After all, the Catholic Church talks about God and the Bible and Jesus and the blood of Christ and salvation. Isn't that the genius of Satan?"
Regarding the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, the U.S. State Department released the following statement.
"As the President stated on December 6, 2017, the historic opening of our embassy recognizes the reality that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and the seat of its government. Seventy years ago, the United States, under President Harry S Truman, became the first nation to recognize the State of Israel. Moving our Embassy is not a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace deal; rather it is a necessary condition for it. We are not taking a position on final status issues, including the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, nor on the resolution of contested borders."A video of the dedication of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem was made available on YouTube.