'Inflammatory' pastor to preach to Trump ahead of swearing-in

| Updated: Jan 20, 2017 22:16 IST

New York [USA], Jan. 20 (ANI): A pastor with a long history of inflammatory remarks against religious minorities including Muslims, Mormons, Catholics and even gays is scheduled to preach at a private service for Donald Trump and his family on Friday, shortly before the President-elect takes the oath of office. The pastor, Rev. Robert Jeffress, the First Baptist in Dallas, vigorously campaigned for Trump during the presidential election and is a member of his evangelical advisory board. Friday morning's worship service, scheduled to be held at St. John's Episcopal Church across the street from the White House, will continue a modern Inauguration Day ritual, reports the CNN. The event is separate from both the inauguration itself and an interfaith service to be held Saturday at Washington National Cathedral. Offering Jeffress such a prominent stage is likely to irk religious minorities, particularly Muslims, many of whom were already angered by his stoking of suspicions about Islam during the campaign. Jeffress is known to many for his frequent condemnations of Mormonism as a "cult" during the 2012 presidential campaign. He urged Christians not to vote for Mitt Romney, a Mormon, during the Republican primary. He later supported Romney over President Barack Obama. Jeffress has also called Islam and Mormonism heresies "from the pit of hell," suggested that the Catholic church was led astray by Satan, accused Obama of "paving the way" for the Antichrist and spread false statistics about the prevalence of HIV among gays, who he said live a "miserable" and "filthy" lifestyle. In recent years, Jeffress has frequently denounced Islam, calling it an "evil religion" that "promotes pedophilia". On Fox New on Thursday night, Jeffress said his sermon will center on Nehemiah, a Trump-like figure from the Hebrew Bible, the pastor said, who helped rebuild Jerusalem in the 5th century BC, in part by mounting a defensive wall around the city. (ANI)