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. Nick

    I recently decided never to vote GOP again. It seems, to get votes, republican leaders must support positions that I find offensive and immoral in order to get Christian and evangelist votes. They almost seem "evil" sometimes. Besides, combining government with religion is reckless. What's wrong with ethics and morality without religion in government? Religion should be a private matter – Mormon, Christian, Jewish, who cares, as long as policies are honest and are supported by the majority of informed voters. GOP is falling apart and its sad.

    October 7, 2011 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  2. omegarising

    both of these guys are banking elite puppets. Do we really need another banking elite puppet?

    October 7, 2011 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  3. Patriarchae

    In a perfect world all politicians would be atheists or agnostics and anyone with an outspoken religious record would be banned from campaigning. Sound extreme? Of course it does, but morons like this who vote based on religion and don't understand the concept of separation of church and state make such a policy a necessity. And don't tell me this is an isolated case; we all know full and well that a good percentage of Americans vote based on religious affiliation. It's no wonder that our elected officials are so incompetent.

    Organized religion is a detriment to society. Fact. I don't care whether you're catholic or protestant or mormon or muslim or any other religion; if you belong to any organized religion you are a shame to our society and the world will look back at you in a century or two and laugh.

    October 7, 2011 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  4. colorady

    I am an independent. I belong to the church of JESUS CHRIST of latter-day saints. And of this man is providing the definition for modern day "Christianity, then good I want no part of it. Ditto to those who believe we should just stick to politics. I am more worried about putting food on the table, inflation, paying debts, and currently the possibility of raising taxes, hence causing even higher prices on essen and clothing, trickled down to pay for those taxes. stick to bigger ISSUES!!!! please

    October 7, 2011 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  5. Truth is in ME

    Good Lord, even Jesus wasn't a Christian.

    October 7, 2011 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  6. Anchorite

    Yeah, but what isn't a cult these days? Southern Baptism is at least as scary, just more popular.

    October 7, 2011 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  7. Matthew

    And here I was thinking churchs, as tax exempt organizations, couldn't back particular candidates...

    October 7, 2011 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  8. MB

    LOL.....ALL RELIGIONS ARE CULTS.............

    Technically the pastor was right in saying this about Mormonism....however, it does extend to every single other religion!

    October 7, 2011 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  9. AJ

    Why is the first bio-type fact given at the intro. to a debate or comparison article on a candidate their religious affiliation? Maybe we should compel the press to change their ways. The voters should choose candidates based on their platform, governing history, relevant experience and even their personality. Their religion should be at the bottom of the list, not the top.

    October 7, 2011 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  10. Pastor Ross

    Let me be clear, If I am going to choose between Busineman Cain and Gov. Perry, I would choose Mr. Cain. Why inject this religion again. Remember, we had Senator McCain over Gov. Romney and it was a disaster. President Obama really did a good beating of Senator McCain. Ask any Democrats, they would rather prefer Gov. Perry than Gov. Romney. President Obama fears Gov. Romney than Gov. Perry so please stop this non-sense again. I am not decided whom I am going to vote but defintely not Gov. Perry.

    October 7, 2011 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  11. FedUpWithLife

    I love it when christians attack christians. In the Good 'ol Days, I used to root for the lions!

    October 7, 2011 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  12. Nona

    Stick it in your .... ear ...Jeffress .....

    October 7, 2011 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  13. Joe

    Mormonism is not Christianity because they believe in a multiplicity and eternal progression of "gods". If I become a good Mormon, I too will become a god and populate my own planet in the afterlife – with a multiplicity of wives.

    They are very sneaky because they will say Jeses is God – but they won't tell you that He is just as much as their grandfather who was a good Mormon is a god. Christians believe in ONE God – the holy triniry : Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If you don't agree, or don't like it you may be a nice guy, or a Mormon, but you are not a Christian.

    Mormonism is Polytheism under the guise of some christian morals, mixed up enough to confuse people so you join their ranks only to become aware of their wacked out theology later on once you are hooked in.

    October 7, 2011 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  14. PackersFans

    Vote for Mitt Romney for 2012!! Go Romney!!

    October 7, 2011 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  15. Spiffy

    Don't vote Perry. He is Christian!


    October 7, 2011 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  16. LoveOneAnother

    Wow... I can't believe how much hate has been passed from father to son. It's truly sad how ignorant people have become. A) All religions are cults (and cult is a word used by those who use to wear white masks). B) It's very clear thre are two types of poeple responding to this article – 1) Close-minded people who trust everything they read on the internet and 2) People out for the betterment of mankind. Have fun trolls. To merely say you don't know if something is true is far better than to deny it outright and face damnation. I've never met a single soul that can prove the Mormon faith is not true. It is fully designed to proclaim Christ lives and certainly cares for all of his brothers and sisters.

    October 7, 2011 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  17. Freddy

    Perry can distance himself all he wants. What did he expect from the "values voters" folks? He chose to cultivate this "base," well you reap what you sow. I'd be curious to find out what the "values voters" (a misnomer if I ever heard one) would think if their boy Perry picked Eric Cantor as VP?

    October 7, 2011 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  18. Carrie

    Brain washed Bigots most Baptists have turned into in the last few years. They teach you how to vote , how to think , what to do and they call Mormans a cult!

    October 7, 2011 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  19. Peace

    So much vitriol my brothers and sisters... that is not how Christ would have us behave.

    All would be well-served to visit the site mentioned in the article.

    Jesus Christ Is Savior of ALL.

    I Bid You Peace

    October 7, 2011 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  20. Russ139

    GOP – What a wacky Party.

    October 7, 2011 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  21. Freddy

    This is starting to sound like the Shiites and the Sunnis!

    October 7, 2011 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  22. freddy

    why religion is inside politics? Religion for the own private life not in politics... = laic state

    October 7, 2011 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  23. Republicans are not for middle class

    As a Democrat & Christain, If I had to vote it would be for Romney even though hes a Morman. Its better than voting for a southern supremist that claims to be a Christain

    October 7, 2011 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  24. ken

    and Slick Rick continues his melt down.

    October 7, 2011 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  25. Lulu

    Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints believe in the bible, as well as the Book of Mormon, going hand in hand to teach the gospel of Christ. Members use the same doctrine, the King James Bible, that is taught in other Christian denominations, which teach of Christ's sacred ministry on earth, and his prophets. Members of the LDS faith are clearly Christians, and act more 'Christian' than this fellow. Bottom line, Romney doesn't shred others' beliefs, nor do any of his campaign members. It seems so juvenile to keep hashing the same issue of religion, when that is what this country was founded be able to believe what you want to believe. Sounds to me like Perry is completely intimidated by Romney's success and ability to carry out the role as President of this totally screwed up country. I guess if that is the last blow he can try to make, whatever. People don't care what you believe, as long as you can get the job done and fix this modern depression.

    Out of respect to other religions, please get your facts straight before accusing. It is not nice.

    October 7, 2011 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
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