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Mormonism-bashing, Perry-boosting pastor: 2012 election not that important

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Jamie Weinstein
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      Jamie Weinstein

      Jamie Weinstein is Senior Editor of The Daily Caller. His work has appeared in The Weekly Standard, the New York Daily News and The Washington Examiner, among many other publications. He also worked as the Collegiate Network Journalism Fellow at Roll Call Newspaper and is the winner of the 2011 "Funniest Celebrity in Washington" contest. A regular on Fox News and other cable news outlets, Weinstein received a master’s degree in the history of international relations from the London School of Economics in 2009 and a bachelor's degree in history and government from Cornell University in 2006. He is the author of the political satire, "The Lizard King: The Shocking Inside Account of Obama's True Intergalactic Ambitions by an Anonymous White House Staffer."

Robert Jeffress, the Mormonism-disparaging, Rick Perry-boosting Texas megachurch pastor, says he doesn’t care much about politics, or even about who will be president in 2013.

“I don’t lose any sleep over this election,” Jeffress told The Daily Caller.

“I mean, I do hope a conservative candidate wins. I would like it to be a committed Christian … But you know what? If Barack Obama wins again, I mean, I don’t believe Barack Obama is the anti-Christ.”

Jeffress created a stir earlier this month when he implicitly attacked Mitt Romney for being a Mormon while introducing Texas Gov. Rick Perry at the Values Voter Summit. The Texas pastor made his attacks on Mormonism more explicit in interviews after the speech, calling the religion “a cult” and not really Christian.

Asked whether he gave any thought to whether his comments would hurt Perry politically, Jeffress said it wasn’t a major consideration for him.

“I don’t think, given the governor’s response to my introduction, he felt like what I said from the platform hurt him,” Jeffress said, distinguishing his implicit attack on Romney and Mormonism during his introduction from the more explicit assault he made in interviews afterward. (RELATED: Perry attempts to re-energize with jobs plan)

“Now, if what I said afterwards hurt Perry or not, I can’t tell you. But, you know, that is not my major consideration. Once I stepped off of that platform I was acting as a pastor, and as a pastor I have a responsibility to tell the truth no matter how politically inconvenient or politically incorrect that truth is.”

Jeffress, who says Perry and he are only “acquaintances” and that he doesn’t “go out shooting Coyotes or anything” with the governor, says he has not been contacted by the Perry campaign since the conference and doesn’t plan to do any more campaigning for him.

“I’ve done what I intended to do,” he explained. “I was asked to introduce him at a convention of conservative Christians. I’ve done that, and that’s all I plan to do, and that’s all I ever planned to do.”

Mormonism, however, isn’t the only religious tradition that Jeffress has verbally accosted. He has previously called Catholicism, for instance, a “counterfeit religion” corrupted at its inception a “Babylonian mystery religion.” Asked whether he thinks 2012 presidential contender Rick Santorum, who is Catholic, is a Christian, Jeffress waltzed with his words.

“I have every reason to believe he is, from what he has said,” Jeffress answered. “I don’t believe people go to heaven or hell in groups. I believe we go one at a time based on what we’ve individually done with Jesus Christ as our Savior.”