Donald Trump and Robert Jeffress.YouTube

Donald Trump has embraced the anti-gay, anti-Catholic Texas pastor Robert Jeffress, who recently flew to Iowa to introduce the Republican presidential candidate at a packed rally at Dordt College.

The extremist pastor has claimed that Satan is behind Roman Catholicism, and has said that Mormons, Muslims, Jews, and most Catholics are destined for hell. He has also described gays and lesbians as “perverse” and “abnormal” people who engage in an “unnatural” and “filthy practice.”

It was not the first time Trump has joined up with the pastor.

Robert Wilsonsky of The Dallas Morning News writes: “It’s becoming something of a regular gig: Jeffress, you may recall, also intro’d Trump at his American Airlines Center rally in September. And when he’s not introducing Trump, Jeffress is laying hands on the man.” 

Jeffress has previously claimed that the the gay rights movement "will pave the way for that future world dictator, the Antichrist, to persecute and martyr Christians without any repercussions whatsoever," and has declared that the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks represented God's judgment for legal abortion, reports

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Jeffress has insisted his Trump appearances don’t amount to an official endorsement, which would threaten the church’s status as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

He said: “Although as a pastor I cannot officially endorse a candidate, I want you to know I would not be here this morning if I were not absolutely convinced that Donald Trump would make a great President of the United States. … Most Americans know we are in a mess, and as they look at Donald Trump they believe he is the one leader who can reverse the downward death spiral of this nation we love so dearly.”

He added that evangelicals support Trump because “this nation will not survive another third term of Barack Obama in the form of Hillary Sanders or Bernie Sanders.”

At the Iowa event, Trump told the crowd he first saw Jeffress on TV, where he happened to be talking about Trump.

“He said, ‘He’s going to be the best leader, he’s going to be the best for the economy … he’s going to take care of ISIS and he’s gonna take care of the border and all the things I talk about,” Trump said. “And he said, ‘He may not be as pure as we think, but he’s really good and a great Christian,’ and that’s what I wanted to hear. ”

Trump said: “The pastor is an incredible guy.”

Trump is not the first Republican presidential candidate who has tried to court Jeffress’ support. Rick Perry drew criticism during his 2012 presidential campaign after the pastor criticized Mitt Romney for his Mormon faith when introducing Perry at the Values Voter Summit.