The GOP debate over Mormonism breaks into open

The Republican debate over Mormonism officially broke into the open this afternoon. From the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON — The pastor who introduced Texas Gov. Rick Perry at a conservative gathering Friday said rival presidential candidate Mitt Romney is not a Christian and is in a cult because he is a Mormon.

Robert Jeffress, senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Dallas, endorsed Perry at the Values Voters Summit, introducing him as “a proven leader, a true conservative, and a committed follower of Christ.”

After his remarks, Jeffress told reporters that Perry’s religion is different from Romney’s.

“Rick Perry’s a Christian. He’s an evangelical Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ,” Jeffress said. “Mitt Romney’s a good moral person, but he’s not a Christian. Mormonism is not Christianity. It has always been considered a cult by the mainstream of Christianity.”

Romney is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members are commonly called Mormons.

Perry disavowed Jeffress’ statements. But they could hardly have been a surprise — Jeffress had said much the same thing four years ago. After the 2008 presidential election, in which Romney lost the Republican nomination to John McCain, the Religion Newswriters Association hosted a debate on this very topic.

The two participants were Jay Sekulow, a well-known metro Atlanta lawyer and Christian fundamentalist — and Jeffress.

The sponsor of the event was the DeMoss Group of Buckhead. Mark DeMoss served as Romney’s liaison to evangelicals in ’08, and is part of the current Romney campaign. Jeffress had the first word in the discussion:

Said Jeffress:

“I believe, first of all, that Christians ought to prefer Christians over non-Christians as their leaders.…A Christian politician who says his faith has no influence on his public policy is either a dishonest politician or a superficial Christian….

“The value of electing a Christian goes beyond the public policies that he or she may enact. We believe that a genuine Christian has a relationship with God, is indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God, is led by the spirit of God, and is uniquely favored by God. Even if that genuine believer does not embrace every position we hold important, we still believe that we make a grave mistake in underestimating the value of having a Christian in office….”

Then came Sekulow:

Said Sekulow:

”If Mitt Romney was running against Jimmy Carter, would you support Jimmy Carter because he’s a born-again Christian? I find that premise to be troubling.”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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191 comments Add your comment

WAW

October 7th, 2011
6:30 pm

Jim, everybody must be eating supper or gone to the high school football game. It was just a matter of time, now the truth comes out why Republicans will not nominate Mitt Romney nor will they nominate Herman Cain. Looks like Perry’s in the driver’s seat.

DJ Sniper

October 7th, 2011
6:33 pm

This is why America is still backwards as hell in some regards. On a personal note, religion is not even on my list when I’m looking for reasons to vote for a particular candidate. Even though I’m not a huge Romney fan, the fact that he’s a Mormon doesn’t bother me at all.

Cutty

October 7th, 2011
6:44 pm

Is this Perry’s ‘Jeremiah Wright moment’? I doubt it. Wonder why?

DJ Sniper

October 7th, 2011
6:52 pm

Cutty, I agree with you 100%. This pastor’s remarks won’t be scrutinized nearly as much as Rev. Wright’s.

cartoon

October 7th, 2011
6:55 pm

We need a Hari Krishna as our GOP candidate, not a supid mormon or a confounded Jehovah’s Witness, dammit.

morons.

Oliver

October 7th, 2011
7:02 pm

Jesus was/is a righteous dude. It’s a shame his message has been hijacked by hateful cons.

Aurelius

October 7th, 2011
7:11 pm

Dear Reverend Jeffress,

I will go out on a limb and predict that if the names on the presidential ballot in 2012 are Obama(D)(I) and Romney(R) you will vote for Romney(R).

So please forgive us for thinking of you as a, what’s the word?, oh yeah!, Hip-o-crit.

Am I wrong?

Sincerely,
Aurelius

arnold

October 7th, 2011
7:30 pm

Bring Perry on. Too bad Palin won’t be on the ticket with him.

Smandit2

October 7th, 2011
7:43 pm

Jeffress needs to get his facts together.

I am a Mormon and am definitely a Christian. The name of our church is the church of JESUS CHRIST of latter day saints. I believe that Christ died for my sins and only through trusting in His grace and following His teachings can I be saved.

If anyone needs a clear understanding of what Mormonism is and that we are, indeed, Christians, I would invite you to check out Mormon.org

PanamaJay

October 7th, 2011
7:47 pm

I’m a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (or LDS Church, or Mormons which is really a nickname) and I’m not a huge fan of Mitt Romney and no, I won’t vote for him just because he’s Mormon (and supposedly non-Christian). My vote will go to whoever I think will do the better job defending and protected the Constitution, which is the oath the POTUS takes and currently, that person would be Ron Paul.

I should add, however, that I find the argument that my church is not a Christian church extremely…odd and misleading. Do people, including Mr. Jeffress, get to make up their own definition of the word “Christian”? I just looked it up and I can tell you the Church fits the bill based on my experience. Where does he get his authority to say I’m not a “Christian”? Everything about the church is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ and His Atonement. It’s interesting that the word “cult” is used as well…look up this word too and really any religion or church would be considered a cult, including Mr. Jeffress’ church.

My guess is that these word games or accusations against the church are done so members of his congregation and other like-minded “Christians” become closed-minded to the idea of learning for themselves the doctrines of the LDS church (from the church itself: http://www.lds.org). Heaven forbid they learn that Jesus Christ has restored his original “Christian” teachings and priesthood through prophets and apostles in these “last days”…

MomPossible

October 7th, 2011
8:34 pm

So its gonna be the Mormon vs the Muslim?

td

October 7th, 2011
8:35 pm

I will not support Romney in the primary not because he is a Mormon but because I feel their are more candidates more conservative . If Romney gets to nomination and is running against Obama, then I will support him both financially and with my time and effort to get the communist out of office.

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

October 7th, 2011
8:40 pm

Sectarian factionalism is treason, even when the butt of it is a pansy, draft-dodger like Romney.

One must wonder if Robert Jeffress’ “Christian” discernment had dialed in close enough to Rome’s false god to care that homosexual draft-dodger, 9/11-committing George W. Bush (who now owns the companies who control 11% of U.S. oil and gas distribution complements of the Rockfellers and the Queen of England) had his homosexual lover to his White House residence 202 times in a two year period, many for overnights.

Maybe the false minister was spending too much time addressing his comb-over’s vanity rather than praying to the King of America, the Creator, G-d of the universe, by Whom Our Founders received this Promised Land in covenant…as Deists. John Jay was a punk and Our Prophet, his cousin Mr. Jefferson knew it. Bet G-d told him direct.

lem

October 7th, 2011
9:06 pm

Republicans are religious bigots.

Jiggle the Handle

October 7th, 2011
9:13 pm

PanamaJay—– IMHO, one’s faith, beliefs, and values should provide a foundation for how you live your life and should support and inform your relationships. I think, for the most part, they should be personal and private, and aren’t anyone else’s business, but I don’t begrudge those who feel the need to “testify” and make public affirmations of their faith.

I try to see the good in everyone first, but just because someone is vocal and public about their religious faith, it does not follow that they are righteous and moral. Words are easy, so I prefer to judge their actions and deeds.

I loathe those individuals such Jeffress who have determined, (and don’t ask me how), that God speaks directly through them and that their viewpoints and beliefs are sacrosanct and carry the authority of God. How dare they.

Look at the members of Westwood Baptist Church who plan to protest at Steve Jobs’ funeral because in their view he “encouraged sin.” What a bunch of haters. How that congregation can consider themselves followers of Jesus Christ defies all rational explanation.

-Jiggle

“a faint blue light in a sea of red”

candi

October 7th, 2011
9:27 pm

The GOP is full of haters. They hate Muslims, gays, immigrants, Mormons, liberals, etc., etc. etc. And they call themselves Christians.

M

October 7th, 2011
9:30 pm

My cult of silly superstitious beliefs is better than your cult of silly superstitious beliefs.

LRAdams

October 7th, 2011
9:33 pm

What is it with these politicians always getting hung up on Race and Religion*. These things have nothing to do with politics. They should be campaigning about what they are going to do about resolving some of the problems we have as a nation. Race and Religion are personal problems.

Shareef

October 7th, 2011
9:39 pm

This sounds familiar. When John F. Kennedy ran for President in 1960 the holy rollers made a huge issue of the fact that he was Catholic. The world would end and we’d all face eternal damnation if he was elected.

Pastor Jeffress and his ilk are the reason people are abandoning Christianity in droves.

Ayn Rand Paul McCarthyism

October 7th, 2011
9:45 pm

Religion sucks.

Jenzen

October 7th, 2011
9:54 pm

@Oliver. 18.52;
Please, drop the ghetto references about Jesus Christ. If you don’t believe in Him or have a problem with Christianity, gosomewhere else where you can use some other junkyard phraseology.
As for “cons,” I assume you’re referring to prison inmates.

double

October 7th, 2011
9:55 pm

would Occult fit in here anywhere?

PJ

October 7th, 2011
10:03 pm

PanamaJay
If you are a Christian, you would not be able to stay with the Mormon church because you would feel an inner conviction about performance & works towards salvation. Salvation is a “free” gift so that man cannot boast in himself and reflected in a changed lifestyle. Reporting regularly to a church “overseer” who keeps a “file or record” on your “issues” to resolve with this “file” transfering in every move you would make to another area is a good way to maintain “control” and encourage co-dependency. I have been to a handful of your services and never heard anything read from the Bible…book of mormon, yes. If you read both as many say, God is not revealing Himself to you or you wouldn’t remain where you are.

Regarding our politicians, I do agree that their faith can be reflected in their decisions and that they can also be greatly influenced by those around them. It is very hard for me to seriously consider much of what is said today. It seems like shooting in the dark making the best decision with the information available and lots of prayer.

MrLiberty

October 7th, 2011
10:05 pm

Bush professed to be a Christian then invaded two sovereign nations, dropped hundreds of thousands of tons of bombs on innocent men, women, and children all to benefit the military industrial complex and the profits of folks like Haliburton, authorized torture and murder, lied to the american people repeatedly, oversaw the execution of hundreds of men while governor of Texas (some who have been shown by DNA evidence to have been innocent), and countless other activities that we will likely never know about. Clearly none of these things would have been condoned by Christ.

Labels are just labels. Actions speak far louder than labels. Mitt Romney appears to want to follow very closely in Bush’s footsteps and that is about all I need to know.

Ron Paul 2012.

LizBeth

October 7th, 2011
10:11 pm

I was raised in the Christian tradition and follow the teachings of Jesus but I don’t believe in his deification. According to mainline Protestant and Catholic churches, I can’t be a Christian because Christians must believe in the Resurrection of Christ and all the other mumbo jumbo many Christians believe. Well, I believe Jesus calls us to live in a certain way and that is what I am trying to achieve. I really don’t know why Christians require each other to believe in magic and mysticism instead of focusing on following Jesus. Could I be president? Well, according to the Constitution, I could. Doesn’t matter that I don’t fit the mainline Christian ideal.

BRW

October 7th, 2011
10:13 pm

Mormo-phobia…..you heard it here first…..

Oliver

October 7th, 2011
10:20 pm

jenz,

jesus luvs u, everyone else thinks your a a-hole.

PJ

October 7th, 2011
10:21 pm

MrLibery,

Shameful indeed. I was greatly embarassed by Bush. It seemed like he took advantage of his position for personal ends as you describe, but he was not the only one. Associating him with the affiliation of being Christian does a great disservice to God. There are many though who believe themselves to be Christian because of meeting certain criteria and truly are not. Their actions simply cannot contradict their belief and if there is an error there will be genuine repentence. I try to use this as a measuring tool when I consider a candidate.

Hetch Hetchy

October 7th, 2011
10:22 pm

Read the book, THE MORMON MURDERS by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith.

WilliamLDS

October 7th, 2011
10:24 pm

I am a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of over 35 years, having investigated the church for over three years. I converted from Reverend Jeffress’ denomination. During all this time I have found the church to be exactly what it claims to be, namely the Church of Jesus Christ. Also, during this time I have refrained from publicly criticizing or contending with other faiths. I firmly believe that there are honest and upright people everywhere who follow the righteous teachings of their religion. But, sadly, name calling persists among some who are not LDS, particularly from leaders of other faiths.

rick perry's racist rock

October 7th, 2011
10:27 pm

the rock says, “love the sinner, hate the sin”.

Hetch Hetchy

October 7th, 2011
10:33 pm

Rick Perry isn’t racist, you fool. He’s wants to fund illegals’ college educations. He loves illegal Mexicans, just like Bush.

PJ

October 7th, 2011
10:37 pm

WilliamLDS,

You are right…there are honest & upright people everywhere etc. That does not get you into heaven and that is what you need to be sure of.

However, regarding the political agenda, even though there is a sublte leaning towards electing a conservative candidate…it is not a law. Look at everyday business leaders…the highest executives are the more conservative. There seems to be a “natural trust” associated with conservatism. What is difficult is finding “truth” in what the candidates say.

B. Thenet

October 7th, 2011
10:38 pm

Eat your own GOP, eat your own.

Paul

October 7th, 2011
10:49 pm

Thank you, Jay, for bringing common sense to the discussion. Christians believe that revelation stopped after about the first century. Yet they base their concept of deity on the Nicene creed, which was the final product of two or three centuries of debating what God is like. Think about that for a minute….there was no revelation guiding the early church at that point, and hadn’t been for a long time. But a group of well-intentioned but uninspired men hammered out the church’s definition of what God is like. That creed survived the centuries and is now seen as a litmus test for Christianity by many.

My church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints believes in modern revelation and doesn’t follow that creed. Why would we follow a creed that was put together 300 years after the revelation stopped?

Jesus Christ is my Savior, Redeemer, and King. The only way I can be saved is by means of His atoning sacrifice. I know I’m a Christian, and that’s what matters. I consider pastor Jeffress to be a Christian. It would be nice to have the same courtesy extended to me.

rick perry's racist rock

October 7th, 2011
10:53 pm

I’d take mormon magic underwear over a catholic hairshirt any day of the week and twice on the sabbath.

Centrist

October 7th, 2011
11:02 pm

This non-story is just more Galloway sniping. Cain for a couple of days, Romney for a while, back to Perry.

uga63

October 7th, 2011
11:04 pm

Tom

October 7th, 2011
11:09 pm

2,870 unique supernatural beings that fall under the definition of “deity” since the first writings of the Sumerians over 6,000 years ago.

They all rock.

Drew

October 7th, 2011
11:11 pm

I am actually for Herman Cain, but since Obama got a free pass on Jeremiah Wright with the mainstream media, then the mainstream media including this paper just shows their double standard adn hypocritical ways for not giving Perry a pass on this one.

ralph

October 7th, 2011
11:20 pm

The only cult is the GOP.

seamus

October 7th, 2011
11:29 pm

Sure would be cool if God would drop down from the sky-clouds and straighten out this conundrum. Alas, there is no God. Carry on.

MB

October 7th, 2011
11:56 pm

The Church of Ladder Day Saints (A.K,A. Mormon Church) is a cult and the teachings are contrary to the teachings of the Bible. If you study the teachings of Joseph Smith you will see that the Mormon Church not only teach that both Jesus and Satin were spiritual brothers but that men who are in “right” relations with the church will be elevated to god upon their death and that women will be eternally pregnant to populate the earth.

Those that follow the teachings of the Mormon Church are deceived which is why I can not support Romney for the nomination. If someone can follow the deception that is being taught in the Mormon church then they will be easy deceived by the democrats in Congress.

There is a strong conservative running for the nomination and that is Herman Cain!!!

Occupying Intown

October 8th, 2011
12:14 am

Wonder what the good Rev would think if a Jew were running for President? Regardless of what one thinks of LDS most of the followers I know seem to be good moral people. Jim when are you going to play us some Rev. Wright clips? After all, the Obamas were actual members of his church. Your disdain for the right is pretty blatant… Why you are at it why don’t you give us some intel on Fast & Furious or why Reid is blocking Obama’s jobs bill?

Alabama Communist

October 8th, 2011
12:18 am

More Breaking News On Funny Republican Christians Attacking Romney…….All Hell broke loose when the Romney Spokesman rip off his magic Mormon Pink Underware and stuff it down the throat of the Preacher of Rick Perry at a pack house of Wrestling Fans a the local Texas “Smackdown” event A Spokesperson for “Smackdown” said they were arranging a match between the Republican Jesus and Herman Cain as the Black-White event of the year next week in Coo Coo Grove Georgia at the Local National Guard Armory, Ticket Sales were reported Brisk and the local BBQ eatery said it was pack last night with fans who said they were going to attend the event with their Hoods and Robes to show support for Herman..

Alabama Communist

October 8th, 2011
12:18 am

More Breaking News On Funny Republican Christians Attacking Romney…….All Hell broke loose when the Romney Spokesman rip off his magic Mormon Pink Underware and stuff it down the throat of the Preacher of Rick Perry at a pack house of Wrestling Fans a the local Texas “Smackdown” event A Spokesperson for “Smackdown” said they were arranging a match between the Republican Jesus and Herman Cain as the Black-White event of the year next week in Coo Coo Grove Georgia at the Local National Guard Armory, Ticket Sales were reported Brisk and the local BBQ eatery said it was pack last night with fans who said they were going to attend the event with their Hoods and Robes to show support for Herman..

trz

October 8th, 2011
1:47 am

The religion — or lack thereof — doesn’t concern me. Would like for the candidate I support to be a moral person but their religious and/or spiritual beliefs are their concern — not mine. I wondered when there would be lots of talk about Mormons and Christians. So much for good Christians who are concerned about Mormons!

guffaw

October 8th, 2011
1:49 am

All religions are cults.

It’s just so cute to see people bicker over who has the best fairy tales.

Seymourhiney

October 8th, 2011
2:27 am

Religion is a joke. This is 2011, and the religious nuts are still fighting over who has the biggest o e.

God told me that the next President of the United States, is presently living in the White House.

I raised my children without religion, just good common sense and a tremendous education.

Three children, three medical doctors and 7 grand children, it is a good life. No one in our family has a plastic Jesus on the dashboard of our cars. We believe in science and education, not some mythical religious crap.

America is a dysfunctional nation primarily because of the religious nonsense.

The Republican Party is the poorest excuse for a governing party , no jobs, just force narrow minded religious crap on everyone. Jesus was probably gay, and a great con man, Mohammad was a warrior, and convicted forger Joesph Smith was shot to death in a St Joe, MO jail cell, along with his brother.

No wonder the religious nuts worship bibles, gubs and Palin.

Thomas

October 8th, 2011
4:22 am

Wow. So much anger, hatred, venom and intolerance from the “enlightened”, “rational” athiests.