Pro-LGBT businesses are a greater threat to religious freedom in the US than Islamic State, according to a prominent conservative evangelical minister.
The comments by Pastor Robert Jeffress, of the 12,000-member First Baptist Church in Dallas, came against the background of conservative anger at the federal government's reaction to anti-transgender legislation in US states including North Carolina.
Reported by Right Wing Watch, Jeffress was discusing the Obama administration's controversial directive advising public schools to allow transgender students to use whichever lavatory they felt comfortable with.
In conversation with host Todd Starnes on the Family Research Council's Washington Watch programme, he stressed the conservative view that "gender is something that is assigned by God. And by the way, it's not just a matter of religious belief, it's a matter of science, it's a matter of chromosomes."
Jeffress continued that "at the root of this is society's rebellion against the plan of God, that's what this is all about".
He added, "I think it's time for an all-out rebellion against this absolute tyranny of the Obama administration."
When Starnes said that Mississippi's education department is going to comply with the Obama administration's directive, Jeffress replied: "It comes down to money, Todd, and that's what it's about. And when states are being faced with the loss of business, they tend to fold real quickly. And I've said often that the greatest threat to freedom of religion in America is not ISIS, it's the Chamber of Commerce.
"It's the businesses that say to our representatives, 'Oh, don't pass laws like that, don't pass these religious freedom laws because people will interpret that as anti-gay and we'll lose business.'"
Right Wing Watch notes that Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said on May 13 on Washington Watch, referring to Lot's offer to hand over his daughters to a mob in Sodom: "I think this is a Genesis 19 moment. This is a Lot moment where we're going to decide whether or not we're going to shove our children out the door in the pursuit of some false promise of temporal peace, and we know how that worked out.
"I think this is a time for resistance. I think it's a time for defiance. This is wrong. Parents have a God-given responsibility and obligation to protect their children. It is wrong to surrender our children to a godless system that this president is promoting."