WATCH: After Daily Beast Op-Ed Attack, Hall of Fame Pitcher Mariano Rivera Defends His Christian Faith and Support for Israel, Says ‘If My Savior Jesus Christ is a Jew, How Am I Going to Turn My Back and Say, ‘I Won’t Support Israel’?’

Legendary Hall of Fame pitcher Mariano Rivera has defended his Christian faith and support for Israel after an op-ed accused him of taking part in a “thinly veiled propaganda on behalf of a far-right government in Israel.”

Appearing on Fox News, Rivera opened up about his Christian faith and expressed solidarity with President Trump on issues such as the state of Israel.

“When it comes to Israel, as a Christian, if my Savior Jesus Christ, he’s a Jew, so how am I going to turn my back and say, ‘Oh, I won’t support Israel,’” Rivera said on “Fox & Friends.”

Host Brian Kilmeade asked, “So your message to that writer is?” Rivera answered, “You have the power to say whatever you want to say, but that won’t change my position, and that won’t change my belief.”

His comments came in response to a question about an op-ed published by The Daily Beast over the weekend that accused the former Yankees player of having “taken part in thinly veiled propaganda on behalf of a far-right government in Israel, and gotten chummy with outright bigots and apocalyptic loons.” Author Robert Silverman specifically cited the athlete’s affiliation with the “openly extremist and Islamophobic Pastor John Hagee” and his multiple trips to Israel.

Silverman also noted that “even though he’s never publicly given his endorsement,” the Hall of Famer’s “actions make it clear his sympathies lie with the Trump administration.”

Rivera explained to the “Fox & Friends” co-hosts that he was friends with Trump before he became president and continues to maintain that friendship.

“He was a friend of mine before he became president,” Rivera said. “So because he’s president I will turn my back on him? No. I respect him. I respect what he does and I believe he’s doing the best for the United States of America.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett