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. Cal

    It's illegal for tax-exempt organizations to engage in blatant political advocacy like this.

    October 7, 2011 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  2. salman

    who cares if he's mormon or not? i see irony in the fact that this country is using religion as a voting choice while a christian man is the president of lebanon, which has a high islamic population. religion shouldn't determine your vote. i'd honestly vote for a satanist over a muslim (me myself being muslim) if the satanist was a better candidate.

    October 7, 2011 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  3. tom

    is this forum for Republican supporters only?

    October 7, 2011 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  4. mark silvers

    A shameful comment from an idiot. The 10,000 who follow this guy should have their head examined.

    October 7, 2011 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  5. DavidC54

    Sure, Romney is part of a disturbing cult....but so is this pastor Robert Jeffress, who's "god" is nothing more than the republican party, and who's views & actions couldn't be more against the teachings of Christ if he tried. If Jesus came to his door hungry as told in the bible, this man would spit in his face and yell at him that he's a loser and to go "get a job, parasite!", then slam the door in his face.

    October 7, 2011 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  6. David

    Don't vote for Perry; He's a moron!

    October 7, 2011 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  7. Blah Blah

    They are NOT really Christians because they believe that they are the same as Christ. That is not a Christian way of thinking. They are a pseudo religion.

    October 7, 2011 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  8. Gary

    What if Romney was Jewish and this person said don't vote for this guy because he's a Jew, or if Romney was Catholic and this guy said don't vote for him because he's Catholic? It's really sad that someone could lead a group of people and be bias of a potential leader because of one's religion. Most of the candidates running on the Republican Party I don't care for, but it has nothing to do with their religion, or race, or gender. Here's wishing that people focus on the issues not the fluff...

    October 7, 2011 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  9. Lee

    This pastor who says not to support Romney is just simply bigoted. I'm a Southern Baptist and I disagree with many of the dogmas of the LDS but if this man could run then country effectively, fine, allow him to do it. Not because of his religion but because he the most qualified.
    I will not be voting for him as I'm a Democrat but the bigotry of our country.
    Our country is turning into a divided, mean place and this concerns me.
    Thank you,

    October 7, 2011 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  10. Not You

    Robert Jeffress is an anti-American unpatriotic goon.

    October 7, 2011 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  11. xmxm

    It seems only Cain can beat Obama. Romney and Perry will be slaughtered by Obama in debates given their dubious stance on various issues. Cain seems to be confident at what he is talking about. – A neutral legal immigrant's perspective.

    October 7, 2011 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  12. CSX

    Christians already know it is a cult. He should not have to remind them.

    October 7, 2011 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  13. Henry

    It's ridiculous and fundamentally wrong that religion is ever allowed to leave the tax-exempt niche it occupies. The nanosecond anyone from any such tax exempt organization opens their mouth in a political forum they they should be served papers by the IRS and have to pay all the forgiven taxes they owe dating back to the granting of their tax-exempt status.

    October 7, 2011 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  14. nick

    what a self-serving ignorant comment by that paster

    October 7, 2011 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  15. steama

    Christians and Mormons both are cults. The centerpiece of Christianity is blood sacrifice. Can't get any sicker than that.

    October 7, 2011 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  16. christopher

    When someone is negative, it says a lot about themselves, less about whom they speak. Many so called "Christians" do not like others, only because they see so much of themselves in whom they are criticing-- we are suppose to love our enemies-- I am Mormon and will probably vote for Mr. Obama for the second time.

    October 7, 2011 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  17. SPW

    Silly Romney, being president is for Christians.

    October 7, 2011 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  18. Enough!

    Religion differences will be the downfall of our nation. What ever happened to freedom of religion? It appears to me that many Christians are very hateful and bigoted. Jesus would be so proud!!!

    October 7, 2011 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  19. Doc

    Leave it to CNN to make a Rev. "Racist" Wrighr a non-story, but make this story news. The white house media organ is playing again.

    October 7, 2011 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  20. TK

    He is speaking the very truth. The last verses of the Bible warn against adding to it. The book of Mormon is lunacy. Their founder was drunk and imprisoned for violating someone. His "vision" was the God led him to some "special" glasses that led him to treasures. Mr. Smith's parents were total goofballs, going around with divining rods looking for treasure. Do the research. And honestly, Jesus said he IS the only way....absolutely. He will tell many at the end: "away from me. I never knew you." It's soberingly true and will lead a wise person to really blow the dust off their unused, unread bible.

    October 7, 2011 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  21. Kenneth Long

    I'm surprised to see a headline like this in 2011.

    October 7, 2011 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  22. Bill Burk

    ALL ORGANIZED RELIGION WHETHER IT BE CHRISTIAN OR JEWISH ARE CULTS! One does not have to belong to Any organized religion to believe in God

    October 7, 2011 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  23. News

    CNN has been dying for a story like this... Relgion, two Republicans and Controversy. Too bad they missed the Story on Jeremiah Wright and Obama. Now that was news....

    October 7, 2011 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  24. ArizonaYankee

    Thanks to this moron, Perry's popularity takes another hit. He is becoming unelectable.

    October 7, 2011 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  25. BothareCrap

    Since 70% of americans are gullible christian haters, Romney is wasting his time, but is good for his book deal tho.

    October 7, 2011 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
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