Is Robert Jeffress a bigot: Should voters be concerned with a candidate’s religious beliefs?
Last night, Chris Matthews spoke with pastor Robert Jeffress, who doesn’t think Mitt Romney’s a Christian. Early on, Jeffress explained how he would vote next year:
JEFFRESS (10/10/11): What I’m saying is that to those of us who are evangelical Christians—and remember, Chris, that is to whom I’m speaking—there are a lot of reasons, I said, to prefer Rick Perry to Mitt Romney. I believe that Mitt Romney is conservative out of convenience, while Rick Perry is one, a conservative out of conviction.In short, Jeffress will vote for Perry over Romney—and he'd vote for Romney over Obama. He said he considers Obama a Christian, but he’d vote for Romney anyhoo.
But to those of us who are evangelicals, when all other things are equal, we prefer competent Christians to competent non-Christians who may be good, moral people like Mitt Romney.
MATTHEWS: But are you concerned at having what you consider a member of a cult in the White House? Would you want a cultist in the White House? I’m serious. It’s your word, not mine.
JEFFRESS: Yes. Oh, I understand. I understand that. And that’s why I’ve been very clear to say that if it comes down to a choice between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, I’ll probably hold my nose in the general election and vote for Mitt Romney because I believe there are other criteria besides the person’s faith.
We thought this was an interesting segment, for several reasons. To watch the full segment, click here.
There are some genuine religious haters out there. Jeffress doesn’t seem like one. He said that, all things being equal, he would prefer a Christian candidate. We’ll guess that, all things being equal, some liberals would prefer a candidate who isn’t a religious believer.
We’re not religious ourselves. Jeffress is religious; beyond that, he’s doctrinal. But Jeffress seemed like an OK person to us. Beyond that, he was massively smarter than Matthews, who fumbled and blustered his way through the segment, as he so typically does.
It really got embarrassing when Matthews quoted the Constitution's “no religious test” clause. Jeffress batted that point away as one might deal with a promising child. Let’s face it—Chris just isn’t real sharp. Later, he brought on fellow Irisher Ed Rollins to discuss how “we” see these matters.
Later that evening, Rachel Maddow referred to Jeffress’ “bigotry,” exhibiting her typical world-class self-assurance. For our money, that remark wasn’t real sharp either. But we would suggest you watch the Hardball segment.
Jeffress is much smarter than Matthews. But in your eyes, is he a bigot? We wouldn’t say that ourselves. For people who want to do politics in this country, we think this segment is very much worth watching. Does our team always get to announce who the “bigots” are?