Anti-Trump protesters marched on a Southern Baptist megachurch whose pastor was among the president-elect’s most vocal evangelical supporters in a fourth night in the streets Saturday night.
“This church right here is the mother Mecca of the hate that lives inside of Dallas,” protest organizer Dominique Alexander told about 50 protesters gathered on the campus of First Baptist Church in Dallas.
Alexander, an ordained minister at The True Love Missionary Baptist Church in Dallas, who in 2014 formed the Next Generation Action Network, described First Baptist Church, Dallas, Pastor Robert Jeffress as “one of the most hateful pastors I have ever seen in my life.”
Alexander told the Dallas Observer that protesters will be back at First Baptist Monday night and might start picketing the 12,000-member congregation located in the heart of downtown Dallas on Sundays. “We come here today to proclaim First Baptist, Dallas, an official hate church and an official hate organization,” Alexander said.
Jeffress, a Fox News contributor who has led the historic Southern Baptist church as pastor since 2007, didn’t formally endorse Trump for president but appeared at the Republican candidate’s side several times during the campaign and attended Trump’s victory celebration Election Day in New York City.
First Baptist Church carries a disclaimer on its website saying the congregation “does not endorse or oppose any candidate for political office” and that “any information, videos, appearances, posts, etc. related to any political topic are provided for informational purposes only, and represent the personal views or opinions of the individual expressing them, but do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of First Baptist Church of Dallas.”
Jeffress told NPR affiliate WBUR-FM in Boston Nov. 9 he believes the reason evangelicals supported Trump in such strong numbers is because during his final debate with Democrat Hillary Clinton Trump “articulated the strongest pro-life defense of any Republican presidential nominee in history.”
“I think that resonated with a lot of evangelicals,” Jeffress said.
In an hour-long interview that aired Sunday night on the CBS program 60 Minutes, Trump stood by his campaign pledge to appoint a justice to the U.S. Supreme Court who wants to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision establishing a woman’s right to abortion.
“I’m pro-life,” he told interviewer Leslie Stahl. “The judges will be pro-life.”
Asked about another issue important to many conservative evangelicals, Trump deflected a question about whether he supports marriage equality.
“It’s irrelevant, because it was already settled,” he said. “These cases have gone to the Supreme Court. They’ve been settled. And, I’m fine with that.”
Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said that response “should raise the concern of many Christians who supported Donald Trump as candidate precisely because of what they hoped could be achieved by the appointment of conservative justices to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Mohler, who prior to the election said he supported neither major party candidate, said the president-elect’s gay marriage remark raises questions about what the candidate meant on the campaign trail when he said he would appoint “strict constructionist” justices who would uphold the dignity and sanctity of human life.
“By his argument Roe v. Wade, which is now far more than 40 years old, not just one year old, would be even more settled law,” Mohler said in a podcast briefing Nov. 14.