First Baptist’s Jeffress Addresses Remarks

As Peter mentioned in Leading Off, First Baptist Church of Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress introduced Gov. Rick Perry (and caused quite a stir) at this weekend’s “Values Voter Summit.” But then he went on Sunday, on his own pulpit at his church, to discuss it further.

And this is where I have a question. There are numerous reports of churches in the past risking their tax exempt statuses because their pastors endorsed candidates from the pulpit. Here, for instance. Or here. Or here. And there are decent rundowns of the current federal law (which actually doesn’t single churches out – just about any nonprofit with tax-exempt status has to follow the same rules) here and here.

So I guess my question is this: On Sunday, did Jeffress jeopardize his church’s tax status by continuing to talk about his endorsement of Perry? Is it noteworthy that, in Jeffress’ tweet linked above, that he refers to the Perry endorsement as a personal one? Does that matter once he talks about it on the pulpit?

And I guess that’s more than one question. But what say you?


  • Peterk

    no one ever bothered to worry about black churches using the pulpit to endorse Democrats

  • Borborygmus

    Not supposed to – but do. Better question, has any “mainstream” (and I include Latter Day Saints) religions ever lost their tax exempt status for doing so? No, not many, which makes it one of those laws that will rarely be prosecuted. If so, you can bet it would end up in the Supreme Court.

  • Daniel

    It’s illegal in the same sense as smoking pot at a Black Sabbath concert.

  • Other Bill

    The national media hates Christianity. They are choosing to pick a fight with the wrong church. I could not think of another congregation with more upstanding, powerful pillars of the community. Ones that could crush media like a grape if they felt like it.

  • cbs

    what am I missing? He said the Christian church needs to support Christian political candidates. How is that shocking or even newsworthy?

    Jeffress said his personal opinion is that Perry satisfies his criteria and not at all surprisingly the non-Christian, Mormon candidate does not.

    As best I can tell, Jeffress is not a tax exempt entity. Now, if First Baptist were to endorse a candidate, I can see how that would be an issue.

    This country is great because everyone has a voice, not just those you agree with.

  • James

    I actually attend Fellowship Church and Pastor Ed Young a number of years ago called mormons misguided. So this rhetoric isn’t anything new about mormons.

  • yes

    Yes, he jeopardized his tax-free status. Non-profit organizations do not allow anyone on payroll to make a public endorsement.

  • Judas Priest

    “I could not think of another congregation with more upstanding, powerful pillars of the community. Ones that could crush media like a grape if they felt like it.”

    Yes, because thinly-veiled threats and power-mongering are *so* representative of how Christ viewed the church’s role in society.

  • I support Jeffress in his support of Perry. I would love to see Rick Perry as the choice for Republicans.

  • Rev. Wright
  • JB

    There are no term limits on being a Texas Governor, right? So either he wins the presidency and leaves us or he loses and remains here as governor. It seems to me that being a Democrat or Republican doesn’t really matter in these parts so much as whether your concern is more for national politics or local. I would think allot of local Dems and/or libs would be supporting a Perry presidency just to get him out of Texas.

  • DGirl

    I don’t much care for Southern Baptists, or really anyone who hides behind a conservative religion to judge and hate. And that means you, Robert Jeffress.

  • cbs

    @yes- while it may be an organizational choice (even a wise one) not to “let” anyone make a public endorsement, that little first amendment says they have a right to do so.

  • Brandon

    Can someone please tell me what the definition of a cult is? It is usually used as a derogatory term, but I cannot find any definition with any general guidelines or parameters for the moniker. As far as I can tell, it basically means “a religion that is not mine”.

  • Jackson

    Robert Jeffress seems a poor example of what it means to be a good Christian. In saying Friday that he’d support Romney over Obama, the pastor added this: “I’m going to instruct, I’m going to advise people that it is much better to vote for a non-Christian who embraces biblical values than to vote for a ‘professing’ Christian like Barack Obama who embraces un-biblical values.”

    Jeffress is saying, incredibly, that Obama is flat-out lying about being a Christian. He has no basis for making such a statement, and certainly no basis for saying the president “embraces un-biblical values,” whatever that means.

    The DMN reported that 2,000 parishioners stood and wildly applauded this man Sunday morning in the First Baptist sanctuary. Good God, why?

  • cbs


    n. 2. A system of religious belief and worship.
    That which was the religion of Moses is the ceremonial or cult of the religion of Christ.
    – Coleridge.
    3. A system of intense religious veneration of a particular person, idea, or object, especially one considered spurious or irrational by traditional religious bodies; as, the Moonie cult.

    @Jackson- without knowing the context of his statement, I would agree the Jeffress choice of a professed Christian over a “cult” follower seems inconsistent at best.

  • Sport

    All religions are cults. I hope Ricky Bobby is the candidate too! Keep screwing up Perry.

  • Brandon

    My question is, what is the definition of a cult when used in a derogatory context? By the posted definition every religion is a cult, which is obviously not the intended definition of someone using the term in a derogatory context.

  • Mike

    Would you stop covering things that Jeffress does? It only makes him worse.

  • Sport

    KEEP covering the things Jeffress says and does. The national news needs to expose his type, and let their agenda with the GOP be known.

  • Julie

    Every religion IS a cult. Christianity being the very worst one

  • Why?

    This clown can decide who will be saved too? Are catholics christian too? Ignorant bastard thinks he is god or something…what a joke, and what disgrace to freedom of religion.

  • Rondaf

    Why is this church still enjoying tax exempt status? The pastor has clearly violated the restrictions placed on churches not to endorse or campaign for a political candidate.