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US Embassy Opens In Jerusalem; Early Voting Begins For Runoff Elections

US Embassy Opens In Jerusalem; Early Voting Begins For Runoff Elections

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said the evangelical pastor who will deliver a blessing at Monday's US Embassy opening in Jerusalem is a "religious bigot" unfit for such an honor.

And Romney is among the most high-profile voices criticizing the decision to allow Jeffress to speak at the embassy event, tweeting that the pastor was a "religious bigot" who should not be given a platform at the ceremony. "We sometimes use the same terminology but it has vastly different meanings and I just really encourage people now that they know Mormonism is a theological cult, to go ahead and do the research on their own", he said at the time.

The relocation of the embassy marks a virtually three decade departure from USA worldwide coverage and has been largely regarded by evangelical Christians as a significant victory for the Trump administration.

Giving the opening prayer in the world's only Jewish nation, in a largely Muslim region, was a Dallas Southern Baptist preacher named Robert Jeffress.

He has also called Mormonism "a cult" that is not a true part of Christianity and said "you can't be saved by being a Jew", Haaretz reported.

Jeffress, one of Trump's strongest evangelical supporters, also said that when evaluating candidates Christians should consider, "Is the candidate a Christian?"

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During that campaign, audio from one of Hagee's sermons in the 1990s was leaked that appeared to suggest that Adolf Hitler had been fulfilling God's will by aiding the desire of Jews to return to Israel in accordance with biblical prophecy.

In the sermon, Hagee quoted from the Book of Jeremiah that "they the hunters should hunt them [the Jews] ... from every mountain and from every hill and from out of the holes of the rocks".

In a statement at the time, McCain said, "Obviously, I find these remarks and others deeply offensive and indefensible, and I repudiate them". "It is not too much to ask the administration, the Israeli government or pro-Israel activists to hold Jeffress as accountable for his prejudice as they do people like Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for their bigotry". The message was clear but Hagee said his position was misrepresented and "the ugliest of lies".

"In that prayer, I'm going to be recounting God's history of faithfulness to his people, the Israelites", he said.

"I'm so glad my friend @robertjeffress is doing a prayer at the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem!" "This is another example of a promise made, promise kept".