I watched Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas interview Sean Hannity onstage at church today, via a webcast from the church. Hannity is formally a Roman Catholic, but he told Jeffress that he is “more of a born-again Christian now,” and complained that the Catholic Church gave him “guilt”.

Hannity said that the Roman Catholic Church “got it wrong” on how the Church was founded.

“They sure did,” said Jeffress, who has said that Catholicism is a version of a “Babylonian mystery cult.” 

The Catholic Church thinks Jesus was founding the church on Peter as pope, says Hannity — which is true, and let me say that the Orthodox Church, my church, disagrees with the Catholic interpretation of Matthew 16:18 too.

Hannity explains what Jesus really meant: that you, Peter, know he is the Messiah because God spoke it directly to your heart. Says Hannity: “That inner revelation — Peter knew who Christ was, because God reveals it to his heart. I know when I’m being a jerk, when I’m angry, when I’m wrong, because God tells me in my heart when I’m wrong.”

So, Hannity is his own pope. If he were a properly formed born-again Evangelical, then he would say that Scripture alone is the ultimate authority to which he bows down. But he didn’t say that. He said that it was his conscience, and that conscience is the arbiter of whether what we do is right or wrong. The implication here is that if he feels guilty about something, it must be a sin. If not, not.

The pastor of one of the biggest Southern Baptist churches in the country did not contradict Hannity. The congregation, which earlier applauded Hannity when he said, “I hate liberals,” gave the Fox News superstar a standing ovation at the end. [UPDATE: A reader says that Hannity actually said, “I don’t like liberals.” It’s a distinction with a small difference in this context, I think, but a meaningful one. I appreciate the correction. — RD]

Moralistic Therapeutic Hannityism, folks. And Robert Jeffress has made his church its temple.

To be fair to Hannity, his stated belief system is the de facto religion of American Christians. Anyway, you can probably find video of the interview later on the First Baptist Dallas website.