From FOX 4 (Dallas)
A Dallas-based LGBT resource center is calling on Dallas leaders to cut ties with a controversial North Texas pastor who compared gay-friendly business advocates to ISIS.
First Baptist Church of Dallas' Senior Pastor Robert Jeffress made the remarks on a radio program last week when he was discussing President Obama’s transgender directive to public schools.
"I've said often the greatest threat to freedom of religion in America is not ISIS, it's the chamber of commerce,” the pastor said on the radio. “I mean, it's the businesses that say to our representatives, 'Oh, don't pass laws like that. Don't pass these religious freedom laws because people will interpret that as anti-gay and we'll lose business.’”
The comment came at the end of a 13-minute interview last Monday. Jeffress told FOX 4 he stands with the comparison to ISIS.
“Well, it gets people's attention to realize that the greatest threat to religious liberty in our country comes internally, not externally,” the senior pastor said. “I believe these businesses are a greater threat to religious liberty in America than ISIS. That's all I said. And people have misinterpreted this as some anti-gay or homophobic content. It's not at all.”
But the comment has brought into question Jeffress' relationship with the city of Dallas and its police chief. Both were represented at a First Baptist Church of Dallas "Back the Blue" announcement in April.
“The church has a history of making inflammatory statements,” said Rafael McDonnell with the resource center. “But when you're an officer, when you are an employee of the city, you have to serve everyone.”
Jeffress has previously criticized Islam, Mormonism and same sex marriage.
McDonnell says the resource center didn't protest the partnership last month but says a line has now been crossed and asks DPD to address what seems to be a friendly association with a controversial pastor.
“It’s not about exclusion, it's about inclusion,” said McDonnell. “And the city needs to live those words and that's why we are asking, specifically, that this partnership be re-examined.”
The resource center published its call for the chief and city to re-assess late Monday afternoon.
Pastor Jeffress says he hopes the chief listens to his comments in totality and said the church is simply offering services that officers can individually choose to participate in.