Here's what happened:
About a week ago, Jeffress held an "Ask the Pastor" event at his church, First Baptist Dallas, and gave a detailed explanation about the dangers of Islam in response to a question about Christian atrocities and Islamic violence, during which he stated the following:
"And here is the deep, dark, dirty secret of Islam: It is a religion that promotes pedophilia – sex with children. This so-called prophet Muhammad raped a 9-year-old girl – had sex with her," he said.
"Around the world today, you have Muslim men having sex with 4-year-old girls, taking them as their brides, because they believe the prophet Muhammad did."
Jeffress also spoke of the "35 sword verses" in the Koran that call for killing infidels, calling it an "oppressive religion", and pulled no punches in his descriptions of how terrible the "violent religion" is, and how the mosque at ground zero is a terrible idea because Islam is a religion that incites violence around the world.
Well, no surprise, a columnist at the Dallas Morning News didn't like Jeffress' remarks, calling him "uninformed", and "un-Christian". You can read the columnist's article here. His name is Steve Blow, pictured at left. No, I'm not kidding, that is his name.
Well, Jeffress decided to provide a response to Blow from the pulpit this morning before the First Baptist Dallas service started. He provided a solid defense for his statements. And he didn't read a prepared statement, he spoke from the heart, with conviction, and provided a reference for his statement about Islam and children brides.
However, his original statement said that "all over the world", Islamic men are "having sex with 4-year girls." He made that claim in his Q&A, and it is not accurate. In his response to Blow, he said that he didn't mean to imply that this was happening in the United States, but in other countries like Yemen and he cited a CBS News report about the atrocity of children brides in Yemen.
So I think Jeffress defended himself well. He overstated himself in the Q&A by implying that most Muslim men everywhere are having sex with 4-years olds and I think he should have stated so. But he clarified his remarks and gave a citation of a credible source to make his point. And I commend Jeffress for handling this controversy in the press head-on, in a direct, factual way. You can disagree with him, but he stood in his pulpit and explained himself and addressed Steve Blow's column - he didn't beat around the bush, or make himself to be a victim of the press. Some preachers think they're above directly addressing a controversy in the press, that they are above the fray. Not Jeffress, he dove right in and defended his views in front of his congregation.
Now, if we could just find someone in the Southern Baptist Convention who would be as passionate as Jeffress is on the issue of children brides in Yemen, who would get serious and passionate about tracking and informing Southern Baptists about pedophile preachers and ministers and lay people IN OUR OWN RELIGION, we would be making some progress, don't you think?
Here are the two videos of Jeffress - the first one is the Q&A statements about Islam, the 2nd is his response to Blow's column.