(JTA) — The Dallas pastor who said all Jews will go to hell was chosen by U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman to deliver a prayer at the Jerusalem embassy dedication, the State Department said.
Robert Jeffress, the pastor of a Southern Baptist megachurch, is a Fox News contributor, an outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump, and host of radio and television shows broadcast throughout the United States. He praised Trump’s “tremendous leadership” during his prayer at the beginning of the dedication ceremony.
Prior to the ceremony, Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney pointed out that Jeffress has spoken out against Judaism, Islam and Mormonism, including “you can’t be saved by being a Jew,” and “Mormonism is a heresy from the pit of hell.”
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert on Tuesday in response to a reporter’s question, said that Friedman brought Jeffress on board for the ceremony.
“We would certainly not agree with the pastor’s remarks, some of his controversial remarks that he has made about various religious groups, but he was chosen by Ambassador Friedman, who was certainly welcome to do so, and made that decision,” Nauert said.
“(E)mbassies certainly have their free will sometimes to make decisions about who they want to bring in as guest lecturers or people to lead a ceremony or some sort of a celebration. To my knowledge, we did not have any role in making that decision,” she also said.
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