David Weigel reports at Slate.com that Dallas Pastor Robert Jeffress has endorsed Rick Perry at the Values Voter Summit. Jeffress reasons that—all things being equal—Christians should favor Christian political candidates over non-Christian ones. For that reason he supports Perry over Romney. The video of the interview is above. Here’s a little piece of it transcribed:
I believe we should always support a Christian over a non-Christian. The value of electing a Christian goes beyond public policies. . . . Christians are uniquely favored by God, [while] Mormons, Hindus and Muslims worship a false god. The eternal consequences outweigh political ones. It is worse to legitimize a faith that would lead people to a separation from God.
For the full context, watch the video above.
UPDATE: Politico.com has a statement from a Perry spokesman distancing himself from these remarks. Here’s the story:
Rick Perry does not believe that Mormonism is a cult, his campaign said Friday.
Perry spokesman Robert Black said in an email that the Texas governor does not share the views of Baptist pastor Robert Jeffress, who introduced Perry at the Values Voter Summit in Washington and described Mormonism in those terms.
“The governor does not believe Mormonism is a cult. He is not in the business of judging people. That’s God’s job,” Black said.
Black said that Perry did not choose Jeffress, a Texas-based megachurch leader, to introduce him.
“The conference picked someone to introduce the governor, not us,” he said.
UPDATE #2: Here’s the video of Dr. Jeffress’ introduction to Perry. Jeffress’ remarks about Mormonism came after the official introduction below.
UPDATE #3: Bill Bennett introduced Mitt Romney a day after Jeffress introduced Perry. Romney used Bennet’s remarks to respond to Jeffress.