Conservative pastor on Romney: Don't vote for a Mormon
October 7th, 2011
05:05 PM ET
8 years ago

Conservative pastor on Romney: Don't vote for a Mormon

(CNN) – A pastor of a mega church in Dallas said Friday that Republicans shouldn't vote for White House hopeful Mitt Romney because he's a Mormon and described the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a "cult."

"I think Mitt Romney's a good, moral man, but those of us who are born again followers of Christ should prefer a competent Christian," said Robert Jeffress, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, which has a congregation of about 10,000 and has long been considered a highly-influential church in evangelical circles.

Jeffress, who's endorsed Texas Gov. Rick Perry and introduced him at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, told CNN Political Correspondent Jim Acosta that the Southern Baptist Convention "has officially labeled Mormonism as a cult."

In fact, a website maintained by the Southern Baptist Convention lists the Mormon faith under its "New Religions and Cults" section, which also includes Jehovah's Witnesses and the Church of Scientology.

"That's why I'm enthusiastic about Perry," Jeffress said, later adding: "I again believe that as Christian, we have the duty to select Christians as our leaders…Between a Rick Perry and a Mitt Romney, I believe evangelicals need to go with Rick Perry."

Perry distanced himself from the comments Friday night, telling reporters in Iowa he doesn't think the Mormon church is a cult.

This isn't the first time the Dallas pastor has hit Romney over his religion. During the 2008 campaign, he made similar comments.

But if it came down to a contest between Romney and President Barack Obama, Jeffress said he'd still vote for Romney, although holding his nose at the same time.

"I would rather have a non-Christian who at least supports biblical principles than a professing Christian like Barack Obama who embraces unbiblical positions," he said.

When asked for a comment, Perry's team said it was the event organizers–not the campaign–who asked Jeffress to introduce the candidate.

"The governor does not believe Mormonism is a cult," added Mark Miner, Perry's national press secretary.

Michael Purdy, a spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints declined to comment on a statement "made at a political event."

"But those who want to understand the centrality of Christ to our faith can learn more about us and what we believe by going to mormon.org," Purdy said in a statement.

The Romney campaign said it will not have any comment to the remarks made by Jeffress.

Meanwhile, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, which helped organize the event, said on CNN's "John King, USA" that his group gave Perry a heads up approximately two weeks ago that Jeffress would be introducing the governor.

"We sent it to the campaign. They signed off on it," Perkins said. "I don't think there was any other communication beyond that. The campaign did not know what he would say. We did not know what he would say."

Jeffress made his comments about Romney in a conversation with reporters, not in his introductory speech for Perry.

Later on Friday, he stood by his comments, saying it was his job as a pastor to support a candidate of the Christian faith.

"I don't hate Gov. Romney. He's a good, moral person," Jeffress told CNN's Chief National Correspondent John King. "But as a preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I have the responsibility to proclaim what the Bible proclaims."


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (493 Responses)
  1. Cassandra

    God's word is true once again: The one thing that should unite christians makes us argue. Let those who have an ear hear.

    October 8, 2011 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  2. Micah

    Hurry Rick!!!

    Go for the hell marry with the "Mormon card"!!!

    Sad stuff...

    October 8, 2011 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  3. Independent Mind

    All are doomed for eternity unless you completly surrender to the ulmightly Flying Spaghetti Monster! Behold HIM and his omnipotent nuddle appendage! Ye who believe in your false gods will suffer for eons upon eons unless you accept the meatball adorned pasta of all pastas! Pray for your salvation! The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster; Google it!

    October 8, 2011 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  4. Rev Mkell,

    The Christian Taliban speaks! In our great nation the sheep will Listen! Problem is we have lots of sheep!

    October 8, 2011 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  5. NameJag

    This is another example of why I don't go to Church anymore. The most bigoted,self-serving , hippocritical people I know are fundamentalist Christians.

    October 8, 2011 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  6. ChunderHog

    Not sure why evangelical christians get to decide who gets included into the Christian club and who doesn't. As a Mormon, I am uninterested in whether or not they define us as Christians. Since our definition would be whether or not you believe in Jesus Christ as our savior, I think that evangelicals, catholics, and many other denominations would be considered Christians in our estimation. Again, not that it matters. I think it particularly doesn't matter in voting for a president, in that the president needs to be a defender of the freedom of religion but should not have to be from a particular religion.

    October 8, 2011 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  7. Johnjr

    I don't remember any interest in pastors when candidate Obama had his Rev Wright. I wonder what's different about this candidate? Hmmmmmmmmmmm?

    October 8, 2011 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  8. GATOR

    First, it isn't racism! Southern Baptist believe what they believe! If you read the BIBLE there shouldn't be added books (Book of Mormon)! That is the what all other Christian groups have an issue with. They look at John Smith as a false prophet. They are more active than any other group though (sewing seeds, Prop 8)!

    October 8, 2011 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  9. Zippy

    Mormons have more in common with Islam than they do with Christianity.
    Not the "kiII them all" variety of Islam.

    October 8, 2011 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  10. mabear87

    Don't vote for Perry. He is an idiot and the only Texan who epitomizes the Aggie jokes. Not only that, he is unethical and about as Christian as Bernie Madow. The only Republican dumber than Perry is Palin and she could not graduate from our local high school with an average above C.

    October 8, 2011 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  11. goldie

    I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I believe in Jesus Christ. The Church is not a cult, if anybody has questions about my faith, please visit mormon.org. Jesus Christ is the center of our faith and we believe that it is only through his Antonement that all mankind can be saved. I'm not sure how one religion can claim to more christian than another. It seems to me that this Baptist preacher is either speaking out of ignorance or blind hatred. I would recommend taking time to really understand each politician's political agenda before casting a vote, not just blindly voting.

    October 8, 2011 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  12. iham

    They are both Mor(-m)ons
    One is a Moron because he believes in a moronic faith the other a moron due to being dumb as a post.

    October 8, 2011 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  13. moi

    Jefferies is NOT a "devout" Christian by any means! Dig a little deeper into his personal life and finances and you'll see....

    October 8, 2011 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  14. Evolution

    Too bad no one follows what our Founders said....

    "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State." – Thomas Jefferson

    October 8, 2011 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  15. Derek K.

    I as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints am disgusted that a member of another church would say something like this. We talk of Christ, we preach of Christ that our children might know how to gain forgiveness for their sins. If anyone is curious about what WE believe visit a meeting house or go to mormon.org do not believe a member of another church assuming he knows much of anything about our church.

    October 8, 2011 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  16. gwats

    Jesus avoided the politicians of his day, and refused to become politically active, saying 'His kingdom was no part of this World". Really convenient that the pastor of that Dallas Mega Church so easily dismisses the words of the Son of God, especially when HE claims to be a footstep follower. ( hypocrite!) Just another good reason for the separation of Church and State, and the removal of tax-exempt status for any Church that crosses the line.

    October 8, 2011 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  17. Adam Olsen

    Dear Mr. Jeffress, Your labeling of Mormonism as a cult is reprehensible, and yet another shining example of a pot calling the kettle black.

    October 8, 2011 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  18. gwats

    True Christians stay politically neutral, And therefore, should stay out the Presidential selection process.

    October 8, 2011 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  19. james

    for all those who insist that Romney, or any other Mormon for that matter, is a Christian needs to realize that just because the words "Jesus Christ" is in the name of their church does not mean they are Christians. they teach things that are not taught in the bible. the person they describe as Jesus, is not the Jesus the bible describes at all. there is NO, I repeat NO, solid evidence the people described in the book of Mormon ever even existed. the "golden plates" that smith got the book of Mormon from conveniently got whisked away before any other source could validate what they actually said. it's a sham people. the sad thing is, millions have bought into it.

    October 8, 2011 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  20. Sean

    Ron Paul or none at all. It shouldn't even be a question! Let's get it together ladies and gentlemen!

    October 8, 2011 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  21. trevector

    He probably meant to say "moron", not "mormon".

    October 8, 2011 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  22. Patrick in Minnesota

    Personally, I have absolutely no problem with Romney being a Mormon. However, I have a huge problem with him being a Moron.

    October 8, 2011 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  23. Me

    Organized religions are bad. The more organized it is, the worse it is. Looking at a hierarchy chart for the LDS church is like reading Dune. Evangelicals, on the other hand, while not as organized are simply nuts. I'll be sorely disappointed if my choices are limited to a Perry or a Romney to get Ovomit out of office.

    October 8, 2011 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  24. Caden

    "...those of us who are born again followers of Christ should prefer a competent Christian"

    Mormonism is a christian religion.
    Romney is a competent Mormon.
    Therefore, Romney is a competent Christian.

    GG.

    October 8, 2011 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  25. John

    The Conservatives will fall in line just like they did with McCain, They will hum and haw for a while but in the end they will do what they are told by the GOP.....

    October 8, 2011 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20