Baptist Pastor Says Mormonism is a Cult, Perry Campaign Spinning Like a Top


I’ve been hearing ‘spin’ on Rick Perry’s response to Baptist Pastor Robert Jefress’ introduction of him at the Values Voter Summit and his “Mormonism is a cult” comments.

What was initially reported on Friday (Oct 7th) differs from the quote I’ve heard the media air for the last two days:

Perry campaign spokesman, Mark Miner, emailed Perry’s response to FOX News: “The governor doesn’t agree with every single issue with everyone he knows or supports his candidacy. He is running for president to get our economy back on track and create jobs. Those are the real issues that matter to people.”

I appreciated reading Jennifer Rubin’s article yesterday in the Washington Post. She sets the record straight:

Religious bigotry on display

But the big news was not the vote itself [at the Values Voter Summit]. On Friday, the appearance of Pastor Robert Jeffress set of a chain of events that may be remembered long after the vote results are forgotten. Jeffress in his introduction of Perry voiced his previously known anti-Mormon views. Afterward, he doubled down in remarks to reporters. First the speech:

Do we want a candidate who is skilled in rhetoric or one who is skilled in leadership? Do we want a candidate who is a conservative out of convenience or one who is a conservative out of deep conviction? Do we want a candidate who is a good, moral person — or one who is a born-again follower of the lord Jesus Christ?”

Then he told Politico:

Texas evangelical leader Robert Jeffress, the megachurch pastor who introduced Rick Perry at the Values Voter Summit, said . . .he does not believe Mitt Romney is a Christian.

Jeffress described Romney’s Mormon faith as a “cult” and said evangelicals had only one real option in the 2012 primaries.

“That is a mainstream view, that Mormonism is a cult,” Jeffress told reporters here. “Every true, born-again follower of Christ ought to embrace a Christian over a non-Christian.”

Asked by Politico if he believed Romney is a Christian, Jeffress answered: “No.”

The Christian leader warned that in a general-election race between Romney and Obama, he believes many evangelicals will stay home and leave the GOP nominee without their votes.

Remember, Rick Perry did not distance himself from the pastor’s introduction. Instead, he thanked the Baptist Pastor for a “very powerful introduction” and added “he knocked it out of the ballpark.”

Rubin continues…

The initial response by the Perry team was pathetically insufficient. Perry spokesman Mark Miner threw out this bit of moral vacuity: “The governor doesn’t judge what is in the heart and soul of others.” But what about the words? Is he mute on expressions of overt prejudice? Does he reject the comments as bigoted? Miner e-mailed me on Friday afternoon: “As I said, the governor does not believe Mormonism is a cult. [*Said? That isn't what he originally said.] The governor doesn’t get into the business of judging other people’s hearts or souls. He leaves that to God. The governor’s campaign is about uniting Americans of all backgrounds behind a pro-growth, jobs agenda for this country.” In other words, when presented with such overt prejudice (and the potential loss of evangelical support), Perry went mute. While Perry did not select Jeffress to introduce him, he did approve the choice.

Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, on Friday afternoon, tweeted: “A number of my close personal friends are Mormon. I find Pastor Robert Jeffries’s intro of Gov. Perry totally offensive and repugnant.” That was the voice of moral clarity sadly missing from Perry’s response.

(*My emphasis and insert)

An interesting note… Shortly before Perry entered the presidential race, he organized a controversial day of prayer in Texas in which about 20,000 people attended. Guess who helped him? Jefress.

A spokesman for the Perry campaign was quick to point out that conference organizers chose Jefress to introduce Perry at the VVS. As Nate pointed out in his article, Dallas-based Jefress’ reputation was well known. And, as Rubin stated, Perry approved Jeffress’ introduction. Too cozy by half…

Perry laid the religion egg. For appearance sake, looks like he is now sauntering away from it. Behind the scenes, some think he is tending the incubator:

Scott McLean, a political scientist at Quinnipiac University and presidential election analyst, told FoxNews.com that he believes the Perry campaign orchestrated Jeffress’ attack on Romney’s faith “to test the waters.” He said he expects Perry surrogates to launch more under-the-radar attacks on Romney’s faith to make Romney look less attractive.

We’ll hear more about this issue Tuesday night at the presidential debate. Whrrrrrrr…

Have other GOP candidates risen to Governor Romney’s defense?

Former Sen. Rick Santorum, a presidential candidate who performed strongly at the Values Voter summit, said he does not believe Mormonism is a cult, and believes Romney is a Christian.

“I’m not an expert on Mormonism. All I know is that every Mormon I know is a good and decent person, has great moral values and, by and large, with the exception of Harry Reid, by and large, pretty consistent in the values that I share and that things I want to see happen to this country. And that’s what he should be judged on,” Santorum said on “Fox News Sunday,” jabbing at the Senate Democratic leader.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said someone’s specific religion has no place in the conversation.

“I think that none of us should sit in judgment on somebody’s else’s religion and I thought it was very unwise and very inappropriate,” he said, adding that he thinks Mormons are Christians.

Businessman Herman Cain, who appeared with Gingrich on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” was a little more circumspect.

“I believe that they believe they’re Christians,” Cain said of Mormons. He added that the candidates are running to be “theologian-in-chief.”

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., told CNN that the issue is about religious tolerance, not someone’s faith.

“To make this a big issue is ridiculous right now, because every day I’m on the street talking to people. This is not what people are talking about,” she said.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who won the Values Voter straw poll, told Fox News that he disagrees with Jeffress and the comment was “unnecessary.”


► Jayde Wyatt

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13 Responses to Baptist Pastor Says Mormonism is a Cult, Perry Campaign Spinning Like a Top

  1. Renna says:

    The attacks on the Mormon faith and especially that Governor Romney is a Mormon are shameful and more specifically “not Christian” . I am not LDS but I have worked with many on the Romney campaign here in Orlando and can personally testify that they are “Christians” and certainly more “Christian” than many that I know and most assuredly the “christians” elected to public office who have resigned in shame for violating their “christian” values. For that matter, even the exceptionally intelligent and articulate Newt Gingrich has violated his professed “christian” faith. If one of the concerns is about faith affecting decision making, Mitt Romney’s life exemplifies “christianity” more that most politicians I have seen and I would have absolutely no concernabout his ability to make rational and conservative decisions when it comes to the well being of this country and its people.

  2. Tim Shaw Sr. says:

    If any reader has doubts if Mormons are Christian, or not, please go to Mormon.org or lds.org and you can see what we believe. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I can simply testify to the fact that I acknowledge my sins, and I would be lost without a Savior. I have found it nessacary to give my whole broken heart to Jesus for a redemption of my sins. And, through His grace I feel He has forgiven me. I know with my whole heart that he suffered and died for the sins of the world and was resurrected on the third day and now bids all to come to Him. I recognize Him as the source of the deepest joy in my life as I do all I can to live the life he taught us to live in the New Testament. I worship the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. I believe I am a Christian because Christ is the source of my spiritual life and Salvation. My statement of faith is not unique in my church, but is heard amongst Mormons everywhere. I will let you decide if I am a Christian.

  3. Stan says:

    I believe the pastor can say whatever he wants because this is America but he will have to face the consequences of his words with the rest of the nation. “Poisonous words” is exactly what the pastor has brought out and Gov. Perry will resemble that remark by association with him.

  4. Shane Ownbe says:

    ? Democrats are not Americans.
    ! Democrats are not Conservative Americans.

    ? Mormons are not Christians.
    ! Mormons are not Monotheistic Christians.

    ? Tea Party members are not Republicans.
    ! Tea Party members are not All Republican.

  5. Shane Ownbe says:

    Don’t label people with ignorant statement. This is America, not an uneducated 3rd world country that you must think your in with comments like this. Idiots always identify themselves.

  6. Jason says:

    It is amazing to me that so many let various pastors define the definition of Christian even taking their defintions over that of Jesus Himself.

    How about if we examine what Jesus said was the way for ALL people to to identify if a person is Christian: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35)

    The truest mark of a Christian is the love that person demonstrates towards others. God is Love and love comes from Him.

    Using Jesus’ criteria, I believe the Bible teaches that Jesus considers many true followers of Christ (and thus Christians) who may not even claim to be Christian. Thus we read of the passage of those who will someday be saved who were unaware of Christ… ‘when fed we and clothed we thee Lord…?’ (Matt 25:34-40).

    On the flip side, applying Jesus definition of a Christian, many claiming to be “Christian” may not be despite what they profess with their lips. (Matt 7:20-23).

  7. Here’s the thing…. The name of our church is “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”. We believe that the most important thing we can do here on the earth is to obey the Commandments of Jesus Christ and follow His example. We know that He suffered for all of the sins and pain of mankind in the Garden of Gethsemane and then gave His life for us on the cross. So YES, we are Christians.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    You may be confused about our other book of scriptures, which is called “The Book of Mormon”. That book is a second record of the teachings of Jesus Christ.

  8. Gary Alan Chidester says:

    There is a simple “Litmus Test” in the Bible: 1 John 4:2… “This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God”

  9. Bill Craig says:

    We need a leader who has the character, experience and leadership abilities to lead this nation. I am a Christian and certainly hope the person elected will be. but that is a decision all of us are obliged to make on our own. If the person most qualified to lead this nation isn’t a member of any faith but is the right person for the job, that’s who gets my vote.

  10. Charlotte Dwyer says:

    I am supporting Mitt Romney to become the President of the United States, and do not make my decision based on the fact that I am a Christian. I am supporting this man based on his knowlege, experience, track record and his willingness to take on this enormous responsibility.
    Where is Jeffress’ Christian obligation to be non-judgemental?
    WHERE IN THIS CAMPAIGN IS THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE?

  11. VegasMike says:

    Jason - You said something in your piece that I found to be very spot on.
    “The truest mark of a Christian is the love that person demonstrates towards others.”
    This really puts it in a nutshell. How many of you out there really believe Pastor Robert Jeffress really showed that love to Mitt Romney. Do Evangelicals really attend classes as youth on why Mormons are evil? I find this amazing and hateful, not displaying love to others.
    Maybe a solution to all this mudslinging from various individuals is to pick out a friend or workmate that is of a different religious afilliation and attend their Sunday Services, maybe some of their other activities. This may calm all that frustration and hatred that seems to be building out there.

  12. @Jayde, I am a proud Roman Catholic and a Papist….and I would like to convey the following regarding this matter.

    Although, we have some deep theological divisions and there are certain issues (Rome temple, JP2 baptism of the dead) which I categorically disagree with, I nevertheless, condemn the vile and despicable rhetoric from Rev. Jeffress.

    Many of the same arguments, as stated above by Mr. Molinari above, were employed against Al Smith and later JFK, amongst others.

    Moreover, I am quite cognizant that at a time when it was not politically expedient, Pres. Brigham Young accepted and protected Roman Catholics in Utah, against local, state and federal considerations….

    Recently, Francis Cardinal George was in Salt Lake and we joined together in common interests, which unite us, more than divide us….and I will never forget the remarks conveyed by present LDS Pres. Monson, after Pres. Hinckley passed, citing Sir Thomas More, one of the great English, Roman Catholic saints of all time.

    Lastly, Gov. Romney, already governed a Catholic/non-Mormon state, albeit a rather liberal one, and there was no issue, so this is a red herring…I prefer Pres. Monson over Jeremiah Wright or any other Liberation Theologist “Christian” any day of the week!

  13. Samantha says:

    [Dear MR12: Found this incredible bit on the net. Most interesting!!]

    LDS a “cult”? What about the “rapture”?

    by Bruce Rockwell

    Mitt Romney, a Mormon, is “not a Christian” and Mormonism is a “cult,” according to Rev. Robert Jeffress, pastor of the Dallas (TX) First Baptist Church.
    His “cult” remark is based on his belief that the Latter Day Saints church (which didn’t exist before 1830) is outside “the mainstream of Christianity.”
    But Jeffress hypocritically promotes the popular evangelical “rapture” (theologically the “any-moment pretribulation rapture”) which is outside mainstream Christianity (Google “Pretrib Rapture Politics”) and which also didn’t exist before 1830 (Google “Pretrib Rapture Diehards” and “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty”)!
    And there are 50 million American rapture cultists (some of whom turn Wikipedia into “Wicked-pedia” by constantly distorting the real facts about the rapture’s bizarre, 181-year-old history) compared with only 14 million LDS members.
    The most accurate documentation on pretrib rapture history that I have found is in a nonfiction book titled “The Rapture Plot” which is carried by leading online bookstores. I know also that the same 300-page work can also be borrowed through inter-library loan at any library.