Huntsman: Pastor is a 'moron'
October 10th, 2011
05:43 PM ET
3 years ago

Huntsman: Pastor is a 'moron'

(CNN) – GOP presidential hopeful and Mormon Jon Huntsman had some choice words on Monday for the Dallas pastor who's repeatedly described Mormonism as a "cult" and a "false religion" this weekend.

"The fact that, you know, some moron can stand up and make a comment like that, you know, first of all, it's outrageous," Huntsman said on "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer." "Second of all, the fact that we are spending so much time discussing it makes it even worse."

Robert Jeffress, senior pastor at First Baptist Dallas, ignited a debate this weekend over the relationship between faith and politics when he argued that Christians should vote for other Christians.

In his remarks, Jeffress discouraged Republicans from voting for Romney, a Mormon, because of his "non-Christian" beliefs.

On Monday, Huntsman, former Utah governor and U.S. Ambassador to China, called on fellow Republican candidate Rick Perry, to cut off ties with Jeffress. The Baptist minister has been a vocal supporter of the Texas governor, in part, because of his Christian faith.

"Make an immediate and decisive break, period," Huntsman said, referring to Perry. "This kind of talk, I think, has no home in American politics these days. You know, anyone who has associated with someone willing to make those comments ought to stand up and distance themselves in very bold language and that hasn't been done. And Rick ought to stand up and do that."

While Perry has largely avoided questions on the subject, he told reporters in Iowa on Friday that he doesn't think Mormonism is a cult.

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Filed under: 2012 • Faith • Jon Huntsman • Mitt Romney • Rick Perry • TV-The Situation Room
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Jilli

    Well done Mr. Huntsman, well done.

    All religions are cults, there's nothing special about evangelicalism, it's also a cult.

    October 11, 2011 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  2. Yan Alexander

    As a democrat i'd be willing to vote for huntsman if he were running as an independent!!

    October 11, 2011 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  3. Arthur

    For Rick Perry not to denounce this Evangelical extremist, is akin to the Muslim Clerics failing to stand up and denounce violent acts against the West.

    October 11, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  4. SCAtheist

    Huntsman makes sense until he admits he's a follower of Joseph Smith the con man.

    October 11, 2011 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  5. ColJim1956

    It is odd Huntsman got into this fight, other than the fact that he is a Mormom. He probably could have just ignored it. But here is the problem with the current band of very conservative GOP candidates: they want it both ways as it concerns religion in general and Christianity specifically. They want to identify with conservative evangelical Christianity, yet they become upset when someone who probably has studied theology more than they have makes a judgment based on his theological interpretations. In fact, most Christian seminaries have contended for 150 years that Mormonism is not orthodox Christianity.

    The problem as I see it is that one particular wing of conservative Christianity has identified itself as Republican for a few decades now. So now it is to the point that the terms are synonymous. And apparently everyone in the alliance is somehow expected to toe the party line. The only problem is that there are plenty of professing Christians who are either Democrats or Independents (and some of these people are evangelicals). These people have been ignored or dismissed by the Republican-Evangelical cohort.

    What I wish Jon Huntsman had said was "Hey, this pastor can say whatever he wants, I am not running for deacon of his church, I am running for President."

    October 11, 2011 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  6. Sally

    ChumBucket – freedom of speach allows for anyone to voice any opinion without reprisal from the govn't. It also means that if someone makes a dumb comment, everyone else also has the freedom to say what a dumb comment it is without reprisal from the gov't. And the difference is that Obama doesn't try to bring religion into gov't. Politicians can be any religion they choose, but they can't allow influance from their church or bring religion into their decision making.

    October 11, 2011 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  7. ColJim1956

    Well, it is odd Huntsman got into this fight, other than the fact that he is a Mormom. He probably could have just ignored it. But here is the problem with the current band of very conservative GOP candidates: they want it both ways as it concerns religion in general and Christianity specifically. They want to identify with conservative evangelical Christianity, yet they become upset when someone who probably has studied theology more than they have makes a judgment based on his theological interpretations. In fact, most Christian seminaries have contended for 150 years that Mormonism is not orthodox Christianity.

    The problem as I see it is that one particular wing of conservative Christianity has identified itself as Republican for a few decades now. So now it is to the point that the terms are synonymous. And apparently everyone in the alliance is somehow expected to toe the party line. The only problem is that there are plenty of professing Christians who are either Democrats or Independents (and some of these people are evangelicals). These people have been ignored or dismissed by the Republican-Evangelical cohort.

    What I wish Jon Huntsman had said was "Hey, this pastor can say whatever he wants, I am not running for deacon of his church, I am running for President."

    October 11, 2011 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  8. jj

    ALL religions are cults. It's just something the bigger ones like to call the smaller ones, to make themselves feel special.

    October 11, 2011 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  9. Jason, Chicago IL

    @Chumbucket

    No one has taken away his free speech. He's not being thrown in jail or fined, he's just being vilified. Just as he has a right to free speech, every one else has the same right. They've chosen to speak out and call him a moron.

    October 11, 2011 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  10. Atul Chaudhary

    Religion is a man-made thing. From a Christian point of view, I can say this that Jesus Christ never started Christianity. All he wanted people to be the followers of his teachings. Yes, when people saw his disciples behaving and walking the same way like Christ did in works & deeds, they called them Christians meaning 'Christ like'. I would love someone come up to me and say that he would like to walk in life like me because he can Jesus in me. I wish, today's so called Christians can grasp this message and change their ways. Our world would be a heaven on earth.

    October 11, 2011 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  11. muggsy3

    de ja vu all over again. Remember 1959? remember the screamers ranting the POPE and the Vatican would be ruling the USA if JFK was elected? did that happen? NO! I doubt the Pope, any Bishops or Pastors DARED to tell JFK policy to make.
    Same here! the f0lks brnging in religion as weapon against any candidate are truly desparate to find SOMETHINGto throw against an otherwise reasonble an viable candidate. such dirty tactic!

    October 11, 2011 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  12. blaggjesus

    Lets not forget the big thing here. both of these guys are christian-ish. yet neither support the meek they believe will inherit the earth.

    October 11, 2011 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  13. Independent Voters

    I wondering if Biden call the pastor a moron what would the media say about Biden

    October 11, 2011 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  14. John

    Christains – or anyone for that matter – should vote for someone who will be a good leader, not for someone that happens to appear in the Christian Yellow Pages (yes, it exists). Need a Christian auto mechanic?

    That being said, while none of us would prefer to be referred to with "cult" status (with respect to religion) it is worth noting that there are significant differences between Mormonism's view of Jesus Christ, and that of main line Christianity, significant enough for it to be over the line in terms of acceptable belief differences for many in the Christian faith.

    October 11, 2011 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  15. Bill Titwhisker

    This guy is a class act. To bad he has no shot at the nomination.

    October 11, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  16. Ryan

    Taken from evilbible.com's Top Ten List:
    "You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours."
    All religions are cults. To deny this is to deny rational thought.

    October 11, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  17. SCAtheist

    I think that's about right ColJim1956. It's a mistake to pander to fundies. He'll get their base all fired up too.

    October 11, 2011 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  18. roadrnr

    The pastor is a moron. I want to hear why the First Baptists are not a cult.

    October 11, 2011 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  19. Rick W

    Huntsman missed his opening. When Wolf lied, "I'd like to talk about your foreign policy, but first...", Huntsman should have responded to the question with "I'd say, 'Let's talk about foreign policy.' Time is short, Wolf, why don't get move along to that now?"

    Of course Wolf had no intention of discussing anything but this Controversy of the Week. Huntsman should have called him on it. Or, perhaps he didn't want to go there either?

    October 11, 2011 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  20. Mikky_H

    Y'know, I would like to reiterate many of the comments made here today: I would like the chance to at least consider Hunstman, but we won't get that chance, because he is not extreme enough for the primary voters. We are more likely to be given the choice of Perry vs Obama than Huntsmann vs Obama and that is a sad thing.

    October 11, 2011 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  21. Jay

    But it should be true for EVERY peaceful religion, not just about Mormonism.

    And you're right about that 15 minutes Jeffress being a moron.

    Speaking of religion, did the one Creator intend for so many stupid people to fight against eachother? Utterly sad and stupid what people's faith causes them to say and do to people of other faith.

    October 11, 2011 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  22. Rick W

    As for Pastor Moron, by advocating for (or against) a candidate from his pulpit, he has given up his church's tax-free status. Let's see if Obama's Justice dept has the balls to go after him.

    October 11, 2011 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  23. Jim, Dallas Texas

    I agree that followers of Jesus Christ must be lovers of all people regardless of "religion" or political affiliation. I don't believe that Dr. Jeffers was teaching that those same followers should hate Mormons. All of Jesus' teachings were meant to allow us to love our fellow man enough to want to see all come to salvation and not face a horrible eternity in hell. His message is one of correction, not hate. Jesus Christ is the one true way to salvation and the Mormon teachings are not consistent with that truth, so that must be said by those appointed to preach the Gospel. If that message is ignored or squashed, then Dr. Jeffers and those like him are not fulfilling their calling to preach. I respect his right an obligation to say what he said in truth and love.

    October 11, 2011 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
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