A Texas pastor who has repeatedly called Mitt Romney's religion a cult is now endorsing the former Massachusetts governor because President Barack Obama "opposes Biblical principles."
Dallas pastor Dr. Robert Jeffress first said in 2007 that Romney was not qualified to be president because “Mormonism is a cult.”
"Mitt Romney is a Mormon, and don't let anybody tell you otherwise," Jeffress told his congregation. "Even though he talks about Jesus as his Lord and savior, he is not a Christian. Mormonism is not Christianity. Mormonism is a cult."
"It's a little hypocritical for the last eight years to be talking about how important it is for us to elect a Christian president and then turn around and endorse a non-Christian," he added. "Christian conservatives are going to have to decide whether having a Christian president is really important or not."
But in an interview with Fox News on Sunday, the pastor reversed course after Romney became the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
"I haven't changed my tune," Jeffress insisted. "In fact, I never said Christians should not vote for Mitt Romney. When I talked about his theology, I was answering a question about theology. And I still maintain there are vast differences in theology between Mormons and Christians, but we do share many of the same values, like the sanctity of life and religious freedom."
Fox News host Clayton Morris noted that Jeffress was quoted in October as saying, "Evangelical Christians should not vote for Mitt Romney because he’s a Mormon, therefore not a real Christian."
"Critics would argue that President Obama is a real Christian," Morris continued. "By that metric then, why wouldn't you support Barack Obama?"
"Well, again, I never said that quote that you attributed to me," Jeffress argued. "There was a spurious article in one magazine that just completely fabricated that quote. I've never said don't vote for Mitt Romney because he's not a Christian. But in my book that you were so kind to reference, I said, given the choice between a Christian like Barack Obama who embraces non-Biblical principles like abortion and a Mormon like Mitt Romney who embraces Bible principles, there's every reason to support Mitt Romney in this election. I've been consistent in that."
Jeffress added that he expected evangelicals across the nation to put Romney in the White House because Obama "opposes Biblical principles."
"When we have seen what the president has done especially in the last six months in launching this war against religious liberty -- I'm not just talking about the [Health and Human Services contraception coverage mandate], but I'm also talking about last October when he tried to rescind the church exemption in hiring practices -- I think as more evangelicals are aware of what this president is doing, I think they will turn out and vote," he said.
"Not for partisan reasons, but because he opposes Biblical principles."