First Baptist Dallas leader explains Perry endorsement

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by JONATHAN BETZ / WFAA

WFAA

Posted on October 9, 2011 at 6:51 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 10 at 7:33 AM

DALLAS — Pastor Robert Jeffress continues raising controversy.

The First Baptist Dallas leader again blasted the Mormon church during his Sunday morning sermon while explaining why he's supporting Rick Perry's bid for the GOP presidential nomination.

Republican candidates on Sunday tried to tune out the attacks on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as the influential Dallas pastor keeps delivering them.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is also seeking the GOP nomination, is a Mormon.

Dr. Jeffress again told his congregation he believes Mormonism — along with Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism — are "false religions." It is a position the leader of First Baptist Dallas had held for years.

But on Friday, Rick Perry got caught up in the pastor's words after Jeffress endorsed the governor.

On Sunday, Jeffress explained to his congregation why he decided to break his promise not to endorse a candidate.

"I felt like I ought to use personally whatever influence I might have to try to elect a godly leader and place him in the White House," the pastor said. "I believe that as Christians, individually we have responsibility to stand up and push back against evil."

Gov. Perry initially welcomed the pastor's support, but later tried to distance himself against the Mormon comments.

E-mail jbetz@wfaa.com

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