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. chad

    It is ironic as this protestant nut job lives in a glass house. The Baptist church is a man-made religion that has preached hatred and intolerance against the 3 REAL Abrahamic religions: Judiasm, Catholicism, and Islam. All protestant churches are technically heretics who pick and choose what to believe in to suit their own prejudices from a Bible that has been desecrated by 14th century opportunists.

    October 7, 2011 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  2. mjschriner

    The headline should have read "Don't vote for a Moron."

    October 7, 2011 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  3. s kel

    Do these right wing bigot so called christans realise they are going to hell?

    October 7, 2011 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  4. moose

    What makes Mormons a cult is their belief deviates from fundamental doctrine of main stream Christianity. Sure they believe in Christ and the virgin birth like christians. But dig deeper and you'll find they believe Jesus aquired his spiritual powers and God was once a man who became enlightened.
    Jesus is not God's only begotton son, we all can be. Mormons are justified by their good works that will earn them a place in one of many levels of heaven. All people go to some level of heaven, so the atonement is nullified.
    It's a work system based on man, not by faith and grace alone. Go to to learn the truth.

    October 7, 2011 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  5. UglyAndFatGit

    when a religious leader calls another religion a cult, it is like Bin Laden calling Hitler a bigot.

    October 7, 2011 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  6. Annie

    Watching an interview with Pator Jefferies on Anderson Cooper, this man came out and said that not only are members of The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter Day Saints cultist but so are Jews, Catholics, Muslims, Hindu, etc. Only Baptist are not cultist. Because they follow the teachings of Christ- Christ also said: "Love one Another". It also states In Exodus to not bear false witness...He stated that because The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was founded by Joseph Smith, a MAN that it is a cult, well I hate to say this so was everyother church including the Baptist!

    October 7, 2011 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  7. Confused

    If he loves Jesus so much.....why doesn't he go live with him and leave us Texans alone?

    October 7, 2011 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  8. exodus84

    So dont vote for Romney because he's a Mormon and dont vote for Pery because he's a Moron! I can get behind this!

    October 7, 2011 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  9. redchileboy

    stupid just gets stupider!!

    October 7, 2011 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  10. JJ

    Oh you silly religious people make me lol so much!!!

    October 7, 2011 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  11. frootyme

    Any cult is better than GOP.

    October 7, 2011 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  12. oldbull

    For years I have heard Mormonism denounced as a cult from the pulpit. It has come from both Protestant pastors and Catholic priests. The more people find out about Romney's beliefs the less likely he will get to the Whitehouse.

    October 7, 2011 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  13. Loopytickler

    Hail Satan!

    October 7, 2011 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  14. goddog

    As an Atheist (A rational person) I don't care what faith a presidential hopeful is as long as they can keep it separate from their governmental duties. That the pastor thinks that his faith might gain from having a Christian president is sad and scary.

    October 7, 2011 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  15. Zious

    One of the many fake preachers.

    October 7, 2011 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  16. Jared

    Yet another bigot.

    October 7, 2011 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  17. BR

    A cult is a religion with no political power.- Tom Wolf

    Mormons have their false prophet of Joseph Smith, and these other Christian voters have the traditional false prophets of material gain, self-righteousness, and hypocrisy. There are so many wolfs its a wonder there are any sheep left...

    October 7, 2011 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  18. Sickening

    These bibethumpers don't know the meaning of the word Christian, I have never seen so much hate from a group of self righteous white trash in my life. It makes me sick that they bend everything to fit their backward ideologically inept beliefs.

    October 7, 2011 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  19. bananaspy

    "All the fake crap I believe in is more popular than the fake crap you believe in, so I must be right."

    October 7, 2011 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  20. krissmith777

    I am going to say this in very simple terms so that even the Religious Right can understand:


    You are punishing people simply because they have a different belief system!

    People who voted against Obama because they "thought" he was a Muslim were bigots, and should have stayed home!

    People who vote against Romney because he's a Mormon should also stay home.

    Keep your religious bigotry in the closet where it belongs!!!

    October 7, 2011 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  21. Liz K

    I would like to ask this pastor what, exactly, he thinks a "real Christian" is. Like many comments have said before, isn't it someone who worships Jesus Christ? I'm a Mormon and absolutely worship Jesus Christ.

    In any case, I hope Americans will make their voting decisions based on who they truly think will lead the country most effectively, and leave religion out of it.

    October 7, 2011 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  22. frootyme

    Any cult is better than GOP. They are of the lobbyists, by lobbyists and for the lobbyists.
    They want old age people to die to soon, they want wall street less regulated with more financial terrorists like Ken Lay looting the savings of hard working families. Shame on those nut cases!

    October 7, 2011 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  23. Chrisg

    This is just another example why RELIGION HAS NO PLACE IN POLITICS. Jeffress is just another BAPTIST pastor like the BAPTIST pastor at the Westboro BAPTIST CULT.

    October 7, 2011 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  24. brad

    every organized religion is a cult, and none of them have a single place in our government.

    October 7, 2011 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  25. SearchingForAnAtheistExtremist

    The pot calling the kettle black always makes for an entertaining read...

    October 7, 2011 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
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