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. Cyrus

    Who cares if he is a Mormon or a fire-worshipper? Why should his religion, or the faith of Perry, come to play in national elections? I am not going to vote for Mitt or Perry or any of them because I don't agree with their politics or policy. But I sure will defend his right to follow any religion he wishes to. Unfortunately, I doubt that any of these candidates will extend that civility to the non-Christians (well, except for the Jewish voters).

    October 7, 2011 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  2. Dennis

    As I recall, a pastor in Dallas, Texas in 1960 gave a speech and told people not to vote for John F. Kennedy because he was a Catholic. Can we ever be rid of these so called christian bigots in this country? I don't care what religion the candidate is or whether the candidate is an agnostic, atheist. I vote on the basis of character, integrity and the issues.

    October 7, 2011 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  3. MaryM

    What a hateful POS pastor. Like gandi said, I like your Christ, I do not like your christians, they are so UNLIKE your Christ. Truer words could not be spoken. AGAIN, THIS IS WHY THERE IS NO ROOM IN POLITICS FOR RELIGION.
    ESPECIALLY POS PASTORS LIKE THIS ONE. HE REMINDS ME OF THE WESTBORO CHURCH CULT!!!

    October 7, 2011 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  4. Reason

    Romney should think about switching parties. Democrats do not have an evangelical Christians only requirement.

    October 7, 2011 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  5. Wilson James

    Southern Baptists are a cult. They are a protestant spinoff from the Catholics, right? A cult by any definition. I think this will go to show you that this preacher is a wingnut. Bigoted, ignorant and spiteful. religion has no place in politics and those that push it are the worst of us.

    October 7, 2011 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  6. jrcnnjr

    Romney and Cain, here are some statements that you may be saying in the near future, and possibly an omen for your future with The Republicans (aka RepubliKKKTEAlibanNUTS):

    First, they came for middle class, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't in the middle class.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

    Then they came for Gays, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't Gay. .

    Then they came for Seniors, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Senior.

    Then they came for Women, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Woman.

    Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't Catholic.

    Then they came for Blacks and Lations, and I didn't speak up because I wasn’t Black or Latino. .

    Then they came for Mormons, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t Mormon.

    Then they came for me — and by that time no one was left to speak up.

    The Bigoted Republicans will cherish your support until they accomplish their goal of marginalizing, making you penniless and powerless, and discriminating against anyone who may be different from them. Once they accomplish this goal they will have no more use for YOU . . . .

    October 7, 2011 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  7. Guy McCoy

    This is another example of why I'm proud to be an American Atheist. People like Robert Jeffress, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas wrap themselves in their version of the Teachings of Jesus, only to berate any other religious persuasion that isn't theirs. Gee, is that what Jesus would do? For that matter, take all religion and look back over the course of history on how many wars have been waged in the cause of " you don't believe what I believe, so you must die". We are born and we die. What you do with the years in between those events is better spent helping in this World, and not preaching, My way is the only way.

    October 7, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  8. WutTheFrak

    I Grew up Mormon, & the last thing we need in the White house is a Mormon trying to make us all conform, but
    religion should not enter into the equation when you consider electing the President it should be based on weather you feel that he or she is properly preparedfor the job. As well as willing to work for the people & not the corporations...

    October 7, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  9. 16halo

    Crazy prejudice man.

    October 7, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  10. Jimbo

    Evangelicals are just as bad as mormons, maybe even worse. Although I agree with the pastor, I will not vote for Romney becuase he is Mormon and it is a cult. If Romney would just say, I don't really believe all the nonsense the LDS teaches but I just like the people and their way of life he would be ok in my book. Let's face it, lots of mormon's don't believe that hogwash they just like the fact that they can scare thier kids into not drinking or having s-3-x and they surround themselves with people who believe the same things. Mormons are good people, athletic get good grades ect., that is what attracts people to the church not the stories they tell.

    October 7, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  11. Mike in SA

    What a freakin' idiot.

    October 7, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  12. gkingii

    This pastor has just underlined the reason Christianity is losing many of its followers. Of course being Mormon is Christian. As are Catholics and all the other iterations of belief in Christ. Churches get far too hung up on rules and regulations of their particular kind of church that they forget the real message. Love thy neighbor. Charity is the greatest of the Love, Faith and Charity triumvirate. The day of the week you worship, the name you carry and the things you say matter very little. What you do and how you are deep in your heart count much more.

    October 7, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  13. Anomic Office Drone

    This hate is typical of the KKKhristians that give good Christians who harbor no ill will towards anyone a bad name.

    October 7, 2011 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  14. Mitzie

    Wow...I understand the idea of faith. It's religion that scares me. We apparently cannot judge a man on his actions, we have to judge him based on which religion he belongs. It doesn't seem to matter that it is ultimately the same belief system, it seems to matter which denomination. If it is not the same as mine it must be a "cult". Does anyone really read the Bible anymore or do we simply "judge".

    October 7, 2011 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  15. jo an

    I am soooo happy I am not a BAPTIST, anymore...Not Mormon or 'anything'...that looks and believes like they do...

    October 7, 2011 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  16. teemer

    What does politics has to do with religion? Will the U.S. be run someday by religion like in the Muslim Countries? If you put your in thes so-called evangelicals pastors who claim to be Christians , they do nothing but spreading hate , lies and fear in the communities. And worst, they get super rich in doing so ! What a bunch of hypocrits!

    October 7, 2011 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  17. S.positive

    Ha, Romney and the GOP are done. thank God. Maybe they may start telling the truth. Can't beat this part crisis

    October 7, 2011 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  18. Anomic Office Drone

    Can we recognize now that religion does far more harm than good?

    October 7, 2011 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  19. CoJo

    well that takes out vote for any catholic republican. To think I was raised as a catholic. I'm ashamed of people who try to force their religion on to others. Teach is teach, where on your sleeve is fine, but to force is inexcusable.

    October 7, 2011 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  20. Cory

    Bigotry at its finest. Poor Gov. Perry is seeing his campaign go up in a ball of smoke (Christian revival style of course).

    October 7, 2011 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  21. Jim

    Jeffress comments are like saying, "You should vote for fruit and not for apples."
    Apples are Fruit and Mormons are Christian. I could draw him a Venn diagram if he's unclear on the concept of subsets.

    October 7, 2011 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  22. Doug

    And this is why the GOP will not win the election.

    October 7, 2011 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  23. jrcnnjr

    Romney and Cain, and others voting for Republicans, here are some statements, for example, that you may be saying in the near future, and possibly an omen for your future with The Republicans (aka RepubliKKKTEAlibanNUTS):
    1. First, they came for middle class, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't in the middle class.
    2. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
    3. Then they came for Gays, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't Gay. .
    3. Then they came for Seniors, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Senior.
    4. Then they came for Women, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Woman.
    5. Then they came for Blacks and Lations, and I didn't speak up because I wasn’t Black or Latino. .
    6. Then they came for Mormons, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t Mormon.
    7. Then they came for me — and by that time no one was left to speak up.

    The Bigoted Republicans will cherish your support until they accomplish their goal of marginalizing, making you penniless and powerless, and discriminating against anyone who may be different from them. Once they accomplish this goal they will have no more use for YOU . . . .

    October 7, 2011 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  24. David, CA

    More "christian" love and acceptance. What arrogance and stupidity. Not that Mittens or his cult are any better.

    October 7, 2011 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  25. Weemees

    What a bunch of nuts. really, Just crazy people in the Republican party now.

    October 7, 2011 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
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