The Rev. Robert Jeffress, leader of a Southern Baptist church near Dallas and a spiritual adviser to President Donald Trump, delivered the invocation at the ceremony in Jerusalem, attended by an official USA delegation featuring Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner. "The fact is, it has belonged to them for three thousand years".
Not deterred, an unimpressed Jeffress responded to essentially say there's nothing to see here.
Jeffress told Todd Starnes of Fox News on Sunday that he was "stunned" by Romney's remarks.
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Southern Baptist preacher Robert Jeffress is notably a keen Trump supporter, and, separately, is known to have called homosexuals "perverts", billed Mormonism "a heresy" from hell, and made derogatory remarks toward Jews.
The religious leader invited to give the opening prayer at the dedication of the American Embassy in Jerusalem is an evangelical Christian who once said that Judaism, along with Mormonism, Islam and Hinduism, is one of the religions "that lead people to an eternity of separation from God in Hell".
Another onetime Republican presidential aspirant, 2012 nominee Mitt Romney, particularly criticized the choice of Jeffress. "Hell is going to be filled with good religious people who have rejected the truth of Christ". He said that Mormons, Muslims and Hindus "worship a false god", and that Islam is "evil" and "promotes pedophilia". In 2010, he labeled Catholicism a "counterfeit religion" that comes not from Scripture but from a Babylonian mystery religion that entered and corrupted the early church.
Jeffress and a number of major evangelical pastors have hit back against Romney, however, positioning that Jesus Christ being the only way for salvation is a view in line with Christian belief.
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On Monday, the US officially moved its Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The move went against decades of foreign policy by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
"First of all I am going to take some time to thank God for His faithfulness to Israel for 4,000 years".
"And what's remarkable about that is simply this - if indeed Jerusalem has been the capital for three thousand years, it blows apart the myth perpetrated by the left that the Jews stole this land from the Palestinians 70 years ago", he added.
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