Pastor Robert Jeffress, one of Donald Trump‘s evangelical advisers, said on Fox News this morning that the NFL players who took a knee yesterday were making Jesus angry.
Jesus, Jeffress said, wanted people to respect the government. Apparently that means shutting the hell up as the government disrespects you. And saying nothing when the president calls you a “son of a bitch.”
Before he got into all that, though, Jeffress made the case for why players should be grateful that things aren’t even worse.
… there is a better way to protest social injustice without disrespecting our country, or disrespecting our country’s leaders… These players ought to be thanking God that they live in a country where they’re not only free to earn millions of dollars every year, but they’re also free from the worry of being shot in the head for taking a knee like they would be if they were in North Korea…
Way to set the bar as low as possible… I guess our country handling protests better than North Korea is something to be proud of. And here, I was thinking that was at least a default option.
Jeffress went on to say the Christian players ought to remember the words of Jesus.
Many of these players claim to be strong Christians, and I believe they are, and I think they ought to remember what Jesus said. Jesus said, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesars and unto God the things that are God’s.” Jesus said we have a responsibility toward our government. We owe our government just not [sic] our taxes, but our respect and our prayers — and I think that needs to be kept in mind in all of this discussion.
Jesus helped the poor. Jesus spoke out against the rich and powerful. Jesus didn’t say, “Give the government whatever it wants as it walks all over you.” And it’s ironic for a Christian leader to talk about paying taxes while simultaneously fighting for the repeal of the Johnson Amendment, which would then allow churches to withhold taxes despite playing politics.
The NFL players respect the government by fighting for it to get better. Jeffress is the one who doesn’t seem to understand the First Amendment.
But this is a guy who thinks a Christian baker having to make a cake for gay people is the epitome of persecution. He doesn’t know what that word means. No wonder Trump relies on him for advice. He can count on Jeffress to parrot his own views right back to him instead of telling him a truth he might not like.
For a guy who doesn’t like these anti-government protests, he sure was silent when President Obama was in office.
I wonder why.