Earlier this week, Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, appeared on Lou Dobbs Tonight on the Fox Business Network to discuss Christianity in America.
Dobbs first showed two different statistics from the recent Pew Research poll that showed the number of Americans who identify as Christians had declined sharply, and that the number of American who identify as "religious nones"—atheists, agnostics, and those who have absolutely no religious leanings whatsoever—had nearly doubled during President Barack Obama's eight years in office.
Jeffress said he didn't really lay any blame on Obama for the changes in the numbers, saying instead he believes the "real numbers" haven't changed, only the "reported numbers." In a more secularized society, he added, atheists are more likely to say what they think, not what they think they should say.
"What I want to make clear is that I do blame Barack Obama for the last eight years is his marginalization and vilification of conservative Christians," he said. "To Barack Obama, if you believe in traditional marriage, you're a homophobe. If you believe that men shouldn't go into women's bathrooms and showers, you're a bigot. If you believe the unborn have a right to life, you must hate women.
"The good news is the vilification of conservatives Christians by the president of the United States is coming to an end this Friday with the inauguration of Donald J. Trump."
Dobbs then asked if Jeffress meant the U.S. would see a reversal of the secularism of the past eight years, which the host said appeared to be "sucking the very breath out of religion" in the U.S. The pastor clarified that he meant the biggest change will be that conservative Christians will no longer be "demonized" by the president and the administration.
"I've known Donald Trump for two years. I consider him a friend. I'm not under any illusion that he believes like I do on every issue, but at least he respects the views of conservative Christians and doesn't demonize them. He feels they have an important place in society, and most of all, he believes they have the right to the free exercise of our religious beliefs."
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