(CNSNews.com) -- Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, a Utah Republican who is now running for a U.S. Senate seat, criticized Pastor Robert Jeffress -- who led a prayer at the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem on Monday -- calling him a "religious bigot" for his remarks against Judaism and Mormonism.
"Robert Jeffress says 'you can't be saved by being a Jew,' and 'Mormonism is a heresy from the pit of Hell,'" said Romney, who is Mormon, in a May 13 tweet.
"He's said the same about Islam," continued Romney. "Such a religious bigot should not be giving the prayer that opens the United States Embassy in Jerusalem."
Robert Jeffress is the pastor of 13,000-member First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, and he is an informal adviser to President Donald Trump. Jeffress is also a best selling author and host of the popular television and radio programs "Pathway to Victory," which are broadcast in the United States and overseas.
In his own tweet on May 13, Pastor Jeffress said, ""Historic Christianity has taught for 2,000 years that salvation is through faith in Christ alone. The fact that I, along with tens of millions of evangelical Christians around the world, continue to espouse that belief, is neither bigoted nor newsworthy."
During a 2010 lecture, Pastor Jeffress criticized Mormonism, Islam, Hinduism and Judaism. He said, "God sends good people to Hell. Not only do religions like Mormonism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism—not only do they lead people away from from God, they lead people to an eternity of separation from God in Hell."
"You know Jesus was very clear," said Jeffress, "Hell is not only going to be populated by murderers, and drug dealers, and child abusers; Hell is going to be filled with good religious people who have rejected the truth of Christ."
Pastor Jeffress has also criticized Catholicism, saying, "Much of what you see in the Catholic Church today doesn't come from God's Word, it comes from that cult-like, pagan religion. Now you say, 'pastor how can you say such a thing?' That is such an indictment of the Catholic Church. After all the Catholic Church talks about God and the Bible and Jesus and the Blood of Christ and Salvation."
"Isn’t that the genius of Satan?" said Jeffress. "If you want to counterfeit a dollar bill, you don’t do it with purple paper and red ink, you’re not going to fool anybody with that. But if you want to counterfeit money, what you do is make it look closely related to the real thing as possible."
"And that’s what Satan does with counterfeit religion," said Jeffress. "He uses, he steals, he appropriates all of the symbols of true biblical Christianity, and he changes it just enough in order to cause people to miss eternal life."
Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, has described Jeffress as an "anti-Catholic bigot."
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Mitt Romney was very critical of fellow Republican Donald Trump. "His domestic policies would lead to recession," Romney said of Trump. "His foreign policies would make America and the world less safe. He has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president. And his personal qualities would mean that America would cease to be a shining city on a hill."