Megachurch Pastor Robert Jeffress has responded to criticism over First Baptist Dallas choir’s performance of the “Make America Great Again” song at the Kennedy Center in Washington last Saturday, telling The Christian Post that singing the song is no less patriotic than singing the national anthem.
“There is no difference in singing ‘Make America Great Again’ than there is in singing any other patriotic song, like the ‘Star Spangled Banner,'” Jeffress, who serves on President Donald Trump’s evangelical advisory board, said during a Wednesday afternoon phone interview with CP. “This song was sung at a patriotic rally at a concert hall on Saturday night, not sung in a church as a worship song on Sunday morning.”
As has been widely reported, the First Baptist Dallas choir and orchestra premiered the song “Make America Great Again” at last Saturday’s “Celebrate Freedom Concert” hosted by Jeffress at the Kennedy Center with special guest President Donald Trump in attendance. The song was written by the church’s former music minister Gary Moore.
Considering the title and lyrics of the song echo Trump’s 2016 election slogan, critics of the president lit up social media to voice their disapproval and did so again when Trump posted a #HappyIndependenceDay tweet Tuesday morning that included a video to the First Baptist Dallas choir’s performance of “Make America Great Again.”
An op-ed published by The Resurgent, a blog run by prominent conservative NeverTrump activist Erick Erickson, accused the song, which has now been licensed through Christian Copyright Licensing International for churches nationwide to use, of “crossing the line into idolatry.”
“The Church has no business putting its faith in and singing songs in honor of worldly leaders,” J. Cal Davenport wrote for The Resurgent.
Patheos blogger Jonathan Aigner, who is a director of Music for a PCUSA congregation, argued that the sentiment behind the song has been “adopted” by a good chunk of the evangelical church and accused evangelicals who’ve supported Trump of making the sentiment “part of their Gospel.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith