He preached on the Old Testament story of Nehemiah. Very interesting. As you know, Nehemiah built a wall.
Last night Jeffress talked to Bill O’Reilly about the sermon he gave this morning at St. John’s Episcopal Church. Jeffress and O’Reilly call Nehemiah a “regular guy” who God chose to “built a giant wall around Jerusalem to protect the citizens.” But Jeffress took it even further. He tells O’Reilly that in Nehemiah’s day “the country had been in bondage for years in Babylon, the infrastructure was in shambles, and then God said to Nehemiah that the first step to rebuilding the nation is to secure the nation with a border to keep the enemies out.” He also compares Nehemiah’s critics to the mainstream media.
This is the kind of thing that happens when Biblical interpretation is subordinated to politics. There is nothing unusual about what Jeffress has done here. Clergymen have used the Bible since the beginning of the republic to promote politics in this way. In fact, I was lecturing about this the other day in a series I am teaching at my church on religion and the founding.
Of course I also discussed this practice in my Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?: A Historical Introduction.
Here is a link to a CNN piece on Jeffress’s sermon.
ADDENDUM: Sarah Pulliam Bailey has an article on it here.