Bachmann, Cain duck question on Romney's faith
October 9th, 2011
10:16 AM ET
3 years ago

Bachmann, Cain duck question on Romney's faith

(CNN) - Neither Herman Cain nor Rep. Michele Bachmann would say Sunday whether they believe Mitt Romney is a Christian, two days after an influential pastor labeled Mormonism a "cult."

"He's a Mormon," Cain said on CNN's "State of the Union." "That much I know. I am not going to do an analysis of Mormonism versus Christianity for the sake of answering that. I'm not getting into that."

Bachmann echoed Cain's remarks, saying she didn't want to get into an issue she considers unimportant to the Republican presidential campaign.

"This is so inconsequential as far as this campaign is concerned," the Minnesota congresswoman said. "We have religious tolerance in this country and we understand that people have different views on their faith and I have a very sincerely held believe on faith and I think we just leave it at that."

When pressed by CNN's Candy Crowley on whether or not Romney is a Christian, neither candidate gave a firm answer - even when it was suggested they were dodging the question.

"If that's what it looks like, that I'm dodging it, it's because it is not going to help us boost this economy," Cain said. "You know that's my number one priority."

"I think what the real focus again is on religious tolerance," Bachmann said. "That's really what this is about. Again to make this a big issue is just ridiculous right now because every day I'm on the street talking to people, and this is not what people are talking about. I was very open about my faith, very clear about my faith. It's very important."

On Friday, the pastor of the highly-influential First Baptist Church of Dallas told CNN that his church had labeled Mormonism a "cult," and that Republicans shouldn't vote for former Massachusetts Gov. Romney because he is a follower of that faith.

"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," Robert Jeffress said outside of the Values Voter Summit in Washington. The First Baptist Church of Dallas has a congregation of about 10,000 and has long been considered a highly influential church in evangelical circles.

Romney's campaign said Friday they would not make any comment on the pastor's remarks.

On the CBS program "Face the Nation," fellow Republican candidate Newt Gingrich made similarly vague remarks about whether he believes Mitt Romney was a Christian.

"I think he's a Mormon and Mormon define themselves as a branch of Christianity," Gingrich said.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

soundoff (292 Responses)
  1. Shannon

    New Age Independent

    Not sure why Liberals think this matters. It's a non-issue.

    -----------------------------

    Last I checked Cain and Bachmann were Republicans. I don't think other people's religion does matter to liberals, unless of course someone is trying to force theirs onto us. It seems to be the bigoted right that has a problem with a religion that they see different from their own. Tolerance for others isn't something the right is known for.

    October 9, 2011 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  2. jnpa

    To RickL: CNN isn't ramming anything down our throats. All I ever hear from the GOP is about Christianity. Leave religion out of it!

    October 9, 2011 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  3. Orchid333

    Come on CNN, this is pretty stupid. I'm really sick of "faith" being a center subject of whether or not a politician is qualified to lead our country. That's like saying someone may not be fit to lead because they're black or yellow or green. I would personally like to see someone who's more on the Atheist side of things just to feel better about having any "faith" based judgement, but I know I'm a select few. Regardless of faith, if the person is a good leader and can make good, unbiased decisions, then religion shouldn't matter.

    October 9, 2011 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  4. srichey

    This is a secular government and a candidates personal faith should be respected as long as it egregiously doesn't affect their decision making while governing a multi-denominational nation.

    October 9, 2011 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  5. KRG

    I love all this bickering between the Republicans. It makes Obama look more and more presidential. He may not be the best but he sure beats the hell out of those 7 or 8 loonies that are trying to win the Republican nod. Regarding Romney, who cares if he is Mormon. Religion is a personal matter and should be kept out of politics all together but since the Republican party seems to have a hard on for religion, let them learn a lesson that America is SICK and TIRED of them trying to regulate morales/values of the people. Let people live the way they want to live.

    October 9, 2011 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  6. CoJo

    since when is Robert Jeffress a better person/human being than anyone else? Again, I'm surprised his followers have not left him. Which implies...... This just shows there really is not religious tolerance in this country. Who needs the holy war between Muslims and Christian, the religions within the US will do well enough.

    October 9, 2011 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    @GI Joe:
    Yes, we did start a revolution to free ourselves from this type of religous persecution. I think that sort of thing is what motivated that courageous group to set sail across an ocean, landing at Plymouth Rock. It was the descendants of those original settlers that conducted the original Boston Tea Party.

    I don't know where the current Republican Party came from. It is riddled with hate, bigotry, greed, and moral hypocrisy. I never cease to be amazed at how a groups of self-described Christians can be so heartless to the weak, the sick and the elderly. They are the evil incarnate, which The Bible they claim to cherish scorns.

    October 9, 2011 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  8. vic , nashville ,tn

    Really this is the topic do we have to debate in presidential election

    I don’t know why every election cycle these type issues raised in republicans side these are nothing do in governing

    Support Obama’s job bill

    October 9, 2011 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  9. Ron Paul

    Cain certainly did answer the question... "Christianity v. Mormonism" ...sounds like he does not think the latter is part of the first. The real question is would he force a member of his administration that is Mormon (if he allowed it) to take a special oath as he has stated he would for a Muslim member?

    October 9, 2011 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  10. phil the love

    Why conceal your hatred for difference babs? .. i.e.; pray away the gay?..tolerance is semantics for 'I will get you one day' for not doing what I say..Bachmann said 'she was on the streets talking to people' ..was she referring to her standing on a corner in a industrial neighborhood flagging down truckers for a 'Tea bag expess'? ..because that is the oldest form of capitolism and she can be the 'jobs' creator she wants everybody to believe in..the koch brothers are her best customers

    October 9, 2011 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  11. TheTraveler

    Same old stupidity. The question of Romney's (or any candidate's for that matter) faith isn't important ... This nation isn't ruled by God, it's ruled by the Golden Calf anyway ... Electing Romney wouldn't change that at all so who cares?

    What IS important are how these two answer questions about issues that directly affect Americans, the economy, the wars we're embroiled in, energy independence, etc.

    October 9, 2011 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  12. Joel

    How it is dodging a question when you are being baited? While I may not agree with these two on a lot of things, I commend them both for taking the high road.

    October 9, 2011 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  13. dnick47

    What matters is that for 40 years at least (and maybe more) the Republicans have been touting themselves as "The Party of God) and as conservative born-again Christians. Now this Party will probably choose a canidate who is NOT a Christian. So, Republicans, where do you stand?

    October 9, 2011 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  14. bobcat2u

    That is totally typical of all these teaparty idiots. If the statement by Perrys pastor had been even slightly accepted, Bachman and Cain would have been all over this. After all we can't have any thoughts of our own now can we ?
    Until their base supporters react one way or another, they don't know what they should say. because they can't say anything that goes against what they believe.

    October 9, 2011 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  15. Mike Dallas

    Until Billy Graham gives up his "mountain top retreat" and his private jet to help fund causes for the poor, the baptists should keep their mouth's shut about other religions being a "cult".

    October 9, 2011 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  16. Ron

    Of course they are ducking the question. They want to pander to ALL of the right-wing Mormons and ALL of the right-wing Christians. They play up their own religiosity and then try to deny it's important. Hypocrites. All of them.

    October 9, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  17. Eric

    @JaneEyre

    It is amazing to me how willing people are to tell others what Mormons believe. A statement such as "They believe that Jesus is a created being just as we are. They do not recognize Jesus as the 'anointed Christ'." does not reflect Mormon theology AT ALL. As a Momon I can strongly assert that Mormons believe Christ as the Son of God, the savior of all mankind, the anointed Christ, we believe that he sacrificed himself for the sins of all mankind.

    When any person defines the beliefs of another. . . we should all ask "what is there motivation?" MANY evangelicals pastors will attack Mormons, Catholics, even other evangenlical churches....why is that? What is there motivation?

    October 9, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  18. Anonymous

    What's scary is that fact that we're arguing over the existence of a deity in the first place. If there were an all-knowing, all powerful god, which there isn't, s/he would hardly give a damn about your religious affiliation. This is a dangerous delusion that has destroyed humanity for far too long and it needs to stop. Mitt Romney is the most qualified of any Republican running along with Jon Huntsman. Yeah, they're both Mormon, but how great is Christianity? If i recall, they're pretty scandal plagued. Michele Bachmann just proves herself to be an ignorant, close-minded dolt when she talks. And their stance of climate change is embarrassing and deadly. This party is a disgrace. I'm rightward leaning but I am so disgusted by the GOP I don't think I'll ever vote for them again. And Newt Gingrrich going around saying homosexuality is a "temporary aberration." No, but religious ignorance is.

    October 9, 2011 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  19. Greg Greenman

    Wow, really? It's a non-issue? When Obama was running it was huge. Now all of a sudden we have religious tolerance? When Obama was running people wanted to know whether or not he was a Muslim or a Christian because they just couldn't bear to put a Muslim into office. You people kill me with your hypocrisy.

    October 9, 2011 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  20. RINO Bil

    This whole Mormon vs Christian issue is not relevant. The U.S., despite what Republicans and Tea Partiers would have us believe, is NOT a theocracy. There is separation of Church and State in America. We are looking for someone to lead the country, not be our spiritual leader.

    The other falacy behind this whole fiasco, is that Republicans and Tea Partiers would have us believe that a only evangelical Christians are qualified to be president. Heck they baraely tolerate a Roman Catholic president in the early '60s. Basically what the Republicans and Tea Partiers are telling is that all Atheists, Agnostics, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews etc. are not fit to run the country.

    Who the hell are the Republicans and Tea Partiers to dictate this kind of bigotry?

    October 9, 2011 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  21. txrbt

    That's how they do it – get in the hit and then say it's inconsequential even they know they have inflicted damage. Huckabee pulled the same cr_p four years ago.

    October 9, 2011 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Orchid333 wrote:
    Come on CNN, this is pretty stupid. I'm really sick of "faith" being a center subject of whether or not a politician is qualified to lead our country.
    -------------–
    Good point. Too bad Republicans just simply do not see it as a non-issue in a country of religous freedom. People like Rep. Bachmann declare that the US is a Christian nation. Most of the major players in the founding of this country were drawn to "The Enlightenment", which played a major part in their progressive thinking of their time.

    Most of them also believed in another theory in "The Enlightenment". Most of the major players believed in "Plurality of Worlds." Try typing "The American Philosophical Society" into a search engine sometime.

    October 9, 2011 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  23. JWB

    "If that's what it looks like, that I'm dodging it, it's because it is not going to help us boost this economy," Cain said. "You know that's my number one priority."

    So how did last week's discussion about Perry's hunting camp help boost the economy? As I recall Cain did have an opinion on this question. The reason why he doesn't want to discuss the religion question is because he knows that he can't say out loud what he thinks about this.

    October 9, 2011 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  24. JD in Moraga, CA

    If the "religion question" is some kind of "liberal neurosis," then why is it such a big deal for Republican candidates to speak at "Values Voters" gatherings and other decidedly religious functions? Maybe they should gather for a "prayer breakfast" and talk it over.

    October 9, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  25. Mike In MO

    So, *now* Michelle is all for religious tolerance...? That must mean she is tolerant of Muslims. Does that make her a flip-flopper?

    October 9, 2011 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
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