Conservative pastor on Romney: Don't vote for a Mormon
October 7th, 2011
05:05 PM ET
9 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," 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. Rsprings

    It is what it is.

    October 7, 2011 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  2. counter opinion

    All religions are "Cults" Look up the definition.

    October 7, 2011 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  3. Marie MD

    He might not think it's a cult but his grandaddy moved to Mexico of be able to marry four women and have 28 kids! The hunt for another clown continues 🙂

    October 7, 2011 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  4. pete978

    It never fails to amaze me how absolutely crazy evangelical christian republicans can be. they're bull-goose looney scary too.

    October 7, 2011 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    First, to be clear – I am a Christian. However, not sure it matters whether it's a Christian or a Mormon who ultimately forces Armageddon. Both sects (Christian and Mormon) are very fanatic when called upon to "do God's work". Mitts speech today make me uneasy enough to second guess putting him in charge. Don't know where the guy actually stands - his rhetoric has been all over the place. Could he view declaring war on Iran as "God's work"? Beginning to think there is a possibility he could, and would.

    October 7, 2011 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  6. Alisa

    This pastor needs to do his research....Mormons ARE Christians!

    October 7, 2011 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  7. Thomas Lucore

    Would the reveren Jeffers not vote for Jessus? he was after all a Jew

    October 7, 2011 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  8. vic , nashville ,tn

    Don’t vote for Mormon but vote moron

    October 7, 2011 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  9. Bob

    And so it begins..Christians turning on Christians. I guess it's true..Christians love to hate, but hate to love.

    October 7, 2011 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  10. diridi

    Paster, you are an Mormon disqualifying....Shame on you and shame on your idiotic wonder, I am not even attending that nonsense....o.k, I am't bring church into religion...o.k,

    October 7, 2011 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  11. Maximus

    Meh... another fanatic Pastor talking trash about Mormons. If anything I would say Mormons are better Christians because they don't come out talking crap about other Churches like baptists do.

    October 7, 2011 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  12. Texas Doc

    Its true, Mormons are the soldier slaves of Cain. He wants to turn our country over to his devil worshiping cult.

    October 7, 2011 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  13. pete978

    It never fails to amaze me what evangelical christian republicans say. in truth? I think Jesus would be critical of Robert Jeffress and his absolutism.

    October 7, 2011 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  14. Jake

    the Grand Ol' Party! gosh darn, they are just so warm and welcoming to all. Down with the GOP and all of their creepy conservative religious sects!

    October 7, 2011 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  15. Four and The Door

    You don't usually go to a barber for getting advise on how to fix your car. Why would you take political advise from a pastor?

    October 7, 2011 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  16. Ed DFWTX

    Why is a Pastor telling people how to vote in the first place? The tax exempt status of First Baptist Dallas should be revoked! There is something called seperation of church and state. If the tax exempt want to campaign against or for a candidate then they and their tax exempt organizations need to pay taxes like the rest of us or shut the hell up. Question to Pastor "GOP" Jeffress "Would Jesus give tax breaks to the rich or try to sustain the poor with minimum food/shelter? I don't think Jesus would be too happy with the Pastor or his Baptist Church, RIck Perry or the GOP.

    October 7, 2011 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  17. S.positive

    Folks, I rest my case. This why I say President Obama will win in 2012. I am a christian and know that given the choice, cannot vote for a cult member, That is just the fact and no true christian will vote for Romney. Sorry but that is just the way it is.
    Romney is being set up to lose again like Mcain in 2008. Try in 2016 GOP. You messed up again ha

    October 7, 2011 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  18. Pennypacker

    Mormons are good people, I have worked with plenty. None of them had more than one wife. None of them ever talked negatively about other religions.
    I don't know... you tell me who is more Christian.The one that quietly lives his religion, or the one that gets on a pulpit to call 'cult' other people's beliefs.

    October 7, 2011 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  19. myinternaloutbox

    How is it that a church with the name 'The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' is not Christian?

    Latter-day Saints believe in Christ. We believe in His divine calling as Savior. We believe in His birth of a virgin mother. We believe His Atonement-the paying for the sins of all mankind-His crucifixion and His resurrection. He is the Mediator, the Advocate to the Father for all men and there are none that come unto the Father but by Him.

    You can ask any child of the Latter-day Saint community if they believe in Jesus and will receive a unanimous 'YES'. Children are taught from an early age (my two year old sister for example) how to pray, the importance of the scriptures and the importance of attending Church.

    As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I boldly declare that I am a christian. He is my Lord and my God. I have felt Christ's love and have had experiences that could only be termed 'Divine' and 'of God'. I testify that Christ lives and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the church that bears His sacred name, is the true church upon the earth.

    October 7, 2011 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  20. petemg

    How can a "minister" Jeffress decide on whom to vote for other voters. Shame on Jeffress is he the first one without sin to cast the first stone. Does he now feel he is free to speak for God. My Obama and the Muslims have divided our country again. Now it appears it is okay to be Muslim because Obama is a backing the Muslims. We cannot divide ourselves this way. We would never had a JFK because he was Catholic. I remember how the people could not vote for Catholic because it was not the true religion.
    Listen we have got to make a stand ourselves. We must answer to the Great Creator. People say we need not worry about the freedom of religion because of our democracy. We are losing freedom of religion and now we are allowing others to take away democracy. Soon we shall have the Shira law because nobody says anything. Look into your hearts and decide what Jesus would do. And make this your cause not a person who is dictating how we must believe.

    October 7, 2011 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  21. Judy C. Fillerup

    Please ask Reverend Jeffress, when he is speaking of our church, to be courteous and use the correct name of our church, "The Church of Jesus Christ." Also ask him if we are not Christians why would we call the name our church after Jesus Christ?

    Thank you,
    Judy C. Fillerup

    October 7, 2011 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  22. jimboe

    A cult calling another cult a cult.

    October 7, 2011 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  23. Ang

    Sounds like bigotry to me

    October 7, 2011 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  24. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    and so it begins, the Christian right where Jesus says to LOVE YE ONE ANOTHER goes on the attack on ol Mitt. I have many reasons not to support Mitt but his religion is NOT one of them.

    October 7, 2011 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  25. Madge

    How about keeping religion out of politics?

    October 7, 2011 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
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