An American Southern Baptist pastor who sits on President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump announces new social media network called 'TRUTH Social' Virginia State Police investigating death threat against McAuliffe Meadows hires former deputy AG to represent him in Jan. 6 probe: report MORE's evangelical advisory board is criticizing Pope Francis for changing the Catholic Church’s teaching on the death penalty.
Pastor Robert Jeffress in a statement posted on the First Baptist Church of Dallas's website called the pope “dead wrong” about capital punishment.
“When individuals take a human life, the Bible calls it ‘murder,’ ” Jeffress said. “When the government takes the life of a murderer, the Bible calls it ‘justice.’ ”
Jeffress cited Genesis 9:6 — “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man” — to argue that the government has the authority of the death penalty.
“I’m sure Pope Francis is a good man who is sincere in his belief,” Jeffress added. “But the Pope is sincerely wrong on this. Popes, pastors, and churches may change their opinions, but God’s Word never changes."
The Vatican said last week that Francis approved a change in the official Church teaching rendering the death penalty “inadmissible.”
“It is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person,” the new text reads.
The previous policy permitted the death penalty “if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.”
Francis, who has repeatedly embraced progressive causes like immigrant protection and climate change, and criticized some of Trump’s policies, has long spoken out against capital punishment.