After President Donald Trump threatened North Korea with “fire and fury” on Tuesday, many began to worry about the prospect of nuclear war.
Not Texas megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress.
Shortly following the president’s remarks, Jeffress—who is also one of Trump’s “evangelical advisers”—released a statement declaring that “God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong-un,” the leader of North Korea.
Jeffress went on to say he is “heartened to see that our president…will not tolerate any threat against the American people.”
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“When President Trump draws a red line, he will not erase it, move it, or back away from it,” Jeffress concluded. “Thank God for a president who is serious about protecting our country.”
The Washington Post notes that Jeffress became convinced Trump would become president after “sharing Wendy’s cheeseburgers” with him in Iowa. Jeffress has said he believes God chose Trump for the job, and he has repeatedly invoked religious authority to justify Trump’s policies, including the proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Jeffress’s North Korea comments prompted backlash on social media.
Offering a counterpoint to Jeffress’s pro-war religiosity recently was the Washington, D.C. Catholic Worker, which held a vigil in front of the White House on the 72nd anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan.
“Nuclear weapons are immoral, illegal, anti-God, anti-life, anti-creation, and have no right to exist,” said Art Laffin, an activist with the Catholic Worker.
After denouncing spending on nuclear weapons as “direct theft from the poor,” Laffin said: “If the U.S. is to ever truly lead the way to real disarmament, it must first repent for the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Then and only then can the U.S. legitimately ask other nuclear nations to disarm.”