Pastor Asks: Are You a Good Person or Are You a Christian?

I know Pastor Robert Jeffress is under fire right now for calling Mormonism a “cult” — as if it’s any less cultish than, say, Catholicism — but Dr. James F. McGrath at Exploring the Matrix points out another fun little comment he made at the recent Values Voter Summit:

[Jeffress] also lauded Perry’s “strong commitment to biblical values.”
“Do we want a candidate who is skilled in rhetoric or one who is skilled in leadership? Do we want a candidate who is a conservative out of convenience or one who is a conservative out of deep conviction?” Jeffress said. “Do we want a candidate who is a good, moral person — or one who is a born-again follower of the lord Jesus Christ?

I had no idea that was a dichotomy, but I appreciate the pastor letting us know it’s one or the other :)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Nude0007

    That’s pretty much the way I see it. If you are blinded by faith, you will make harmful, immoral decisions. This quote needs spreading!

  • Ronlawhouston

    People in Texas have been questioning Perry’s goodness and morality for a long time.  I guess we now have the answer.  Vote Perry – the evil corrupt born again Christian for President.

  • Mark

    Haha, I don’t think that’s what he meant to say, but I’ll take it!

  • http://youratheistmuse.blogspot.com/ Lina Baker

    I think it’s exactly what he meant to say. To be a Christian, one only had to believe that Jesus is both God and the Son of God, that he died for our sins, blah blah blah – I was told this repeatedly in Sunday School and Bible school, and in a few churches (I went to several), I was told exactly what Jeffress said: good, moral people go to hell if they don’t believe in Christ, imperfect people who do bad things but continually ask for God’s forgiveness and who believe in Christ go to Heaven. That repeated mantra was one of many I started to think, “Hey, wait a sec… I don’t think this is for me after all…”

    • Anonymous

      So the choice is clear. We should go with the good, moral person, even if we do accept the whole Jesus-is-the-sole-path-to-salvation thing*. 

      If we go with born-again-but-continually-backsliding, we risk corruption and poor moral decisions that compromise the country, with no real poor outcome for the leader because in the end, he/she gets to hang with Jesus in the afterlife, which I can only assume is a lot more exciting than anything on earth.

      If we go with morally good but hellbound, then we get good moral work here on earth, hopefully improved standing in the world and surely the saved/not saved status of the President doesn’t stop anyone who HAS been born again from getting into heaven. Plus maybe you can get major points with the Lord for a sudden late in life conversion, maybe even post-office.

      In closing, it’s nice to see that Mr. Jeffress agrees you can be good without God. 

      *Suffice it to say, I don’t.

  • poliltimmy

    As an Atheist I do not trust any person, including my own family members, that put their invisible friends above a visible person. Makes no difference to me how they label their delusion.

    • Anonymous

      Any politician who makes a public spectacle out of their faith should be unelectable

  • http://www.laughinginpurgatory.com/ Andrew Hall

    Apparently Jeffress believes God and Rick Perry are above such concepts as good and evil.

  • http://www.laughinginpurgatory.com/ Andrew Hall

    Apparently Jeffress believes God and Rick Perry are above such concepts as good and evil.

  • Dan0

    Why vote for the lesser evil?
    Born again Cthulhu for president!!!
    Yay!!!

  • Dan0

    Why vote for the lesser evil?
    Born again Cthulhu for president!!!
    Yay!!!

  • Rich Wilson

    I posted this in a comment on another thread, but it bears repeating.  From the Values Voters Summit:

    We need  President who flatly, unambiguously rejects the morally and scientifically bankrupt theory of evolution

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WveqvVebt1c

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adam-Patrick/100000027906887 Adam Patrick

    I had someone tell me that a “true” follower of Jesus was always morally correct after posting this quote to facebook.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

      Two words: Jim Jones.

      Two more: David Koresh.

  • Otto

    Hard-core evangelist Christians tend to be essentialists in weird ways. 

    If they’re evangelizing, then any sin you’ve ever committed defines you.  Example:

    “Have you ever told a lie?”

    “Yes.”

    “You’re a LIAR and Jesus died for your sins.”

    But if you’re talking about Christianity, it doesn’t “count” in the same way.  If you tell a lie once, you’re a liar.  But if you believe in Jesus as your personal savior, you’re probably not a Christian.

  • Esquared

    If we follow his reasoning then if Romney is the nominee, Jeffress, by his own logic, will have to vote for Obama, no?


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