Conservative pastor on Romney: Don't vote for a Mormon
October 7th, 2011
05:05 PM ET
10 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. Chris(noT)

    There are conservative, right wingers in Christianity, some few reflected by the views of this pastor(?). There are conservative, right wingers in Islam..., called Taliban.

    October 7, 2011 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  2. labandme

    There's no room in govt. for religous zelots. That's what makes the Arab countries so screwed up and we don't need it here. Pls. use common sense when you give these idiots the time of day.

    October 7, 2011 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  3. kevin chambers

    Really CNN? didn't see any headlines when Obama's minister was "god-damning America"

    October 7, 2011 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  4. Rich

    Anyone who believes there's an invisible man in the sky controlling everything, should have their head checked out. Retards.

    October 7, 2011 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  5. BothareCrap

    My god is better than your god!

    October 7, 2011 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Last I checked, there is no religious test for public office

    October 7, 2011 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  7. Billie the Mormon

    I'm a Mormon and there is nothing I want more than to be like Jesus Christ: EVERYTHING we do in our church is centered on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Please visit or to learn more about us. There are a lot of really weird rumors out there about who we are, so please see the truth for yourself 🙂

    October 7, 2011 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  8. john cain

    Cult?....there all cults....and the followers a wackos......

    October 7, 2011 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  9. Matt

    Let's all remember the other church represented by the Baptist, that is the Westboro Baptist Church.

    October 7, 2011 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  10. zazu

    I am ashamed to say that he is my pastor. How we miss Dr. Mac Brunson, who never confused theological conservatism with political conservatism. I find Liberals more in tune with Biblical values than Conservatives.

    October 7, 2011 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  11. kevin chambers


    Nice plagerism, maybe you should print the actual quote with credit to the actual speaker – you liberal POS.

    October 7, 2011 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  12. C1SCO

    This just demonstrates that even Christianity is still for cavemen. I mean when you are more worried about someone being the same religion as you over someone doing the right things for our country, your priorities are OUT OF WACK, EVEN DANGEROUS.

    October 7, 2011 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  13. Not Fat

    Mormons believe blacks bare the mark of Cain, so this should be easy for Romney.

    October 7, 2011 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  14. Fred

    With all due respect Gov. Perry of Texas, isint that the same thing as saying dont vote for Obama because hes black. Thats its own kind of discrimination....Although you dont understand the mormons very much, they are good people. ANd I live in Massachusetts Romeny was a very good governor. Its quite obvious to me you dont have respect for people from diverse backrounds...So, what I have to say to you is, ride em cowboy he haw....

    October 7, 2011 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  15. James G

    Mit Romney IS Christian and one that quietly tries to follow his beliefs. He doesn't need to respond to bigoted comments from people like this so called pastor who only makes himself look like a hypocrite by his un-Christian comments.

    October 7, 2011 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  16. brian grant

    Tax these idiots.

    October 7, 2011 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  17. Patrick

    Lol, religion. How quaint.

    October 7, 2011 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  18. Michael

    Idiots like this guy are what give Christianity a bad name.

    October 7, 2011 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  19. dave from lafayette

    with the millions of REAL problems we have, this is what you idiots are talking about. Your corporate government at work.

    October 7, 2011 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  20. john cain

    News Flash...Joseph put is penis in with it!

    October 7, 2011 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  21. Jeff

    The pastor shouldn't single Romney out. He should have expanded the cult list so it included Mormons, Moonies, Hare Krishna's, the Jonestown cult, etc.

    October 7, 2011 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  22. ColJim1956

    Predictably, many of the religion-haters are taking issue with this. In fact, it is quite true that Mormonism is theologically in conflict with orthodox Christianity, especially in its view of the divinity of Jesus. Also, it claims to represent a new divine revelation given to Joseph Smith. All that said, this pastor is off the mark. We should cast our vote based on who we think will make a better leader of our secular nation. I think this pastor reveals that he somehow believes he should somehow speak for his flock in the matter of citizenship. Dangerous ground, but certainly not unprecedented or unusual. Still, it seems to me that a Christian pastor should tell his flock to vote, and that is it. Many have also commented on this: many Protestants in America feared JFK because of his Catholicism. Many conservative Christians still fear Obama because of his supposed Muslim leanings, not Romney is an object of fear.

    October 7, 2011 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  23. JA

    Why is it so hard for people to believe God's Word (the Bible)? As Christians, we're called to spread the TRUE Gospell! Not tell lies, or half truths or say things that will tickle the ears of people or say things that everyone wants to hear. So when people, in this case, a Pastor, stands up and speaks the truth, everyone is all up in arms. And whats worse is when Christians become offended at what this Pastor says! The fact is, Mormons are NOT the same as Christians and the belief of each is totally opposite. Jesus said the greatest commandment is love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and MIND! Before you say both religions teach the same thing (and especially if you're a Christian), grab your Bible and love God with your mind! Understand what the Word of God says. Jesus didn't request this – He commanded it. Jesus says the other commandment is just as great – Love your neighbors as yourselves. We are to love Mormons as well as everyone as ourselves. This Pastor is right on and more Pastors should have the boldness that he does.

    October 7, 2011 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  24. BO

    A worthless man is always willing to talk trash on some one better then himself.

    October 7, 2011 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  25. Nick

    ALL religions are cults.

    October 7, 2011 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
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