Pastor Robert Jeffress has said that a joke made on the NPR show "Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me!" mocking Jesus Christ was "blasphemous," and if the Muslim prophet Muhammad had been the subject of ridicule, the host would've been fired.
Last week, Peter Sagal, host of NPR's weekend program "Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me!" made a joke about a Christmas ad campaign launched by the Diocese of Brooklyn. The ad that shows a woman taking a selfie with Jesus Christ standing in the background as part of an effort to reach out to millennials during the Christmas season.
"These creative ads are our response to Pope Francis' call for a Church of mercy and hope, 'where everyone is welcomed, loved and forgiven,' " the Most Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn, said in a statement.
During his NPR program, Sagal said:
"You can take a selfie with Jesus. The Catholic Church preaches that Jesus is always with us. In fact, He's right behind you."
The host continued, "So this new app, Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, shows a woman sitting by herself. She's holding out a phone to take a selfie like the kids do, but in the picture you see this woman and a bearded beatific man standing behind her. It's not the same rando creepo who got into the church, it's the son of God."
"This raises all sorts of questions for the woman. For starters, why didn't Jesus just offer to take the picture Himself? His hands were occupied."
On Tuesday night, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly said on his program "The O'Reilly Factor" that when he asked NPR President and CEO Jarl Mohn to define what Sagal meant when he said "Jesus' hands were occupied," Mohn said that Sagal simply meant to be humorous and make his audience laugh, but "regrets that we didn't succeed in this case."
However, in a later interview with O'Reilly, Jeffress, who is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, said he wasn't going to "speculate what was going through [Sagal's] sick mind," but referenced the blatant hypocrisy of secular media.
"What I do want to point out is that this illustrates the hypocrisy, the double standard of the secular media when it comes to Christianity. I can guarantee you one thing - that if this host had been ridiculing Muhammad or Islam, he would've been out overnight. When it comes to Christmas, it's open season," the pastor said.
"I think the content is something that, at the very least, is dirty and possibly could be blasphemous."
Jeffress, who was recently in Washington, D.C. Tuesday to lead the opening prayer for Congress, said he was disturbed to discover how much money NPR takes from taxpayers every year.
"It turns out, we are subsidizing them $40 million a year to support this kind of junk - that is something people ought to get mad as hell about," he exclaimed.
O'Reilly said he hopes the comment about"Jesus' hands being occupied" wasn't meant to be perverted. But if it was, O'Reilly added, Sagal should be fired.
However, Jeffress said that regardless of Sagal's intent, Christians should be offended by the host's flippant mention of Christ's crucifixion.
"If it was talking about having His hands on the cross it's even worse," the pastor asserted. "NPR, at the very least, is ridiculing Christianity."