Pastor Who Said Jews “Can’t Be Saved” to Give Jerusalem Embassy Prayer

Robert Jeffress, the Donald Trump apologist and pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, is in Jerusalem today marking the opening of the new U.S. embassy.

That in itself is controversial since Jeffress has a long history of bigoted comments, and GOP Senate candidate Mitt Romney, of all people, was quick to point that out:

It’s true. Jeffress said those things in 2011, and Romney, a Mormon, pushed back at the time, too.

But get this: With Jeffress being in Jerusalem, the man who preached at his Dallas church this weekend in his place was apparently former Southern Baptist Convention leader Bailey Smith. Historian John Fea notes that Smith is infamous for saying, in 1980, when he ran the SBC, that “God doesn’t hear the prayers of a Jew.”

It’s a comment he repeated in 1987:

The Rev. Bailey Smith’s comments to 2,000 cheering Southern Baptist evangelists last week in St. Louis has renewed a controversy begun in 1980, when Smith stated that “God doesn’t hear the prayers of a Jew.”

The latest comments were reported in Friday editions of the Dallas Times Herald. The newspaper, which obtained a taped transcript of the speech, said the evangelist’s comments were made when the conference was not in session.

“I’m not against the Jewish people,” Smith said June 17 at a Southern Baptist conference. “But unless they repent and get born again, they don’t have a prayer.”

Have fun with that, people of Jerusalem.

Not that anyone in the Trump administration cares. Religious bigotry and exclusivity — non-Christians be damned — are hallmarks for them, even when they undermine the sort of coalitions they’re hoping to build.

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