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. BigDog

    Actual quote from the good pastor in reference to Romney: "(J)ust because somebody talks about Jesus does not make them a believer." I'm not a believer, but it cheapens religion even for me to think of the millions of dollars the pastor makes claiming to love Jesus while slamming a religion where their leaders work for free.

    October 7, 2011 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  2. Mikey C

    So...Mormons are Christians because they call themselves, "The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day-Saints?" That doesn't make any sense at all. I can call myself a God, that doesn't make it so. I think lots of Christians find the Mormon's, "Another testament of Jesus Christ", to be blasphemy. Strangely, most of the people I encounter that claim to follow the teachings of Christ, Mormon or not, namely those in politics on the Religious Right side of the aisle, don't live and certainly don't legislate based upon their catchy bracelet slogan, "What Would Jesus Do?" I doubt huge tax breaks for the wealthy and the gutting of public assistance programs would be part of Jesus' agenda. The "God" of the politician is a clever tool used to gain support, legitimize bigotry and warmongering, and distinguish his or her viewpoints and platform from the heathen on the other side of the fence. If our elected officials actually followed the teachings of Christ, I believe we'd be moving in a positive direction. Unfortunately, they'd rather have all the money.

    October 7, 2011 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  3. chris

    If I had too chose between a Republican or Satan I wood vote for Satan. At lest he keep his campaign promises.

    October 7, 2011 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  4. C. Rice

    It states in the bible, "seek out your own salvation with fear and trembling". then also "many will say lord did we not pray in your name, cast out deamons in your name......and He will say depart from me for I never knew you, you workers of iniquities." Please forgive me for inproper spellings and if the wording isn't exactly spot on, but there you go. If you believe they are or aren't a cult is moot what are you? Plus this was in a conversation not a sermon or the introduction speech so back off and examine yourselves. Besides I am a Pentecostal and I know how the baptist feel about us and still love them.

    October 7, 2011 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  5. Jason

    They claim to be advocates for freedom yet they would not allow people to worship the religion that they want. Kudos fringe right, now crawl back your holes.

    October 7, 2011 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  6. Margie

    I love the Savior. And I love peace and joy and kindness and love. When I went looking for the Savior, and heard evangelicals saying bitter, resentful and contentious things about Mormons-I wondered if Mormons would talk in the same manner. Would they be like the Pharisees too? But they never did. They walked the talk. I wanted to know more about how to be this kind of a Christian. I am now a Mormon and I have never been happier.

    October 7, 2011 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  7. voiceofreason

    Please don't put me through this. Come on fellas! If Mormon's aren't Christian, than neither are Baptists! Give me a break – the name of the church is "The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints. Ok? And like they celebrate Christmas, read the Old and New Testaments as well as another testiment of Jesus Christ called the Book of Mormon. I really don't get the spin.

    Biggots all ya'll

    October 7, 2011 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  8. Flashdog2

    Wow. One cult calling the other cult non-christian...Both believing that there is an imaginary man in the sky...You got to love it...

    October 7, 2011 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  9. nf

    What a backwards 3rd-world country where a hate-mongering bigot like Jeffress can make comments like that and actually receive media coverage, rather than simply being shunned and ignored.

    It's not wonder that America is becoming a failed nation.

    October 7, 2011 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  10. sybaris


    One man who believes in fairy tales and an invisible sky daddy says to not vote for another who believes in similar tripe.

    Religion, ban it all.

    October 7, 2011 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  11. Marteeze

    Well look at the bright side Anti-Mormon, Mittens changes his mind all the time so just convince him to change from Mormonisms.

    October 7, 2011 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  12. Pastor Ross

    I believe President Obama is thankful to Pastor R. Jeffress for his comment today and endorsing Gov. Perry. If we need a preacher or Christian in the White House, I would suggest to Pastor Robert J. to declare himself as another presidential candidate.

    October 7, 2011 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  13. Corey

    "By thier fruits ye shall know them ", Seems like good advice in politics and religion. Check out the facts for yourself and beware of rumor and inuendo

    October 7, 2011 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  14. voiceofreason

    Ron Paul's got my vote!

    October 7, 2011 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  15. Ron

    If this preacher is endorsing political candidates (he has endorsed Perry), then his church should start paying taxes. BTW what does being a "Christian" or not have to do with being President of the US?

    October 7, 2011 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  16. Follower of Thomas Jefferson

    Thank God (what ever God you want to call yours, or no God at all) the founding fathers got it right. While they believed in God they thought the Bible was a bunch of poorly written fiction and took no stock in this "Christian" thing.

    They saw that most evil is done in the "Name Of God" so keep religion out of government.

    And excellent example all politician should follow.

    October 7, 2011 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  17. CJ

    Southern Christians are turning into a hateful bunch that I think JC must be looking down on with scorn. Thsi is nothing what Christ taught not even close!

    October 8, 2011 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  18. AK_steve

    Dear God,
    Thank you for intolerant people who speak on behalf of the GOP. Their disciples are showing their true colors.

    October 8, 2011 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  19. ralff

    Jeffers is an idiot. The religious right is the group that put another idiot, George W. Bush in office. Now they are trying to push that mental giant, Perry into office...because of his religion!! Obviously, Perry needs to call another "prayer meeting" in the Houston Astrodome. That will solve all our problems. Additonally, it amazes me that these people think they have a trademark on the term christian. There are lots of christians that aren't in their circle: Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, etc, etc.

    October 8, 2011 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  20. John

    An the sign said u gotta have a membership card 2 get inside. Tax the church..

    October 8, 2011 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  21. Wilde1

    Wow I cannot believe how ignorant some people can be. If members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are a cult, well then I am certainly happy to say I am one of the "cult members", and Christ is the one that I follow. Anyone who really puts Christ in their lives and follows his teachings, would not be so narrow minded as to make comments such as this one. There are amazing people in all religions, as well as non religious people. I don't think anyone should be judged by their religion, but rather the kind of person they are. Anyone can claim to belong to a religion and that right there does NOT make them a better person than someone who does not. Glad that when this life ends it's Christ who judges each one of us, and not our peers.

    October 8, 2011 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  22. Dave

    Sounds like bigotry alive and well!

    October 8, 2011 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  23. Al

    The reverend should recall that he who is without sin should cast the first stone. His behavior is proof that the Republicans are slowly (but increasingly more quickly) destroying themselves. This guy made similar comments last election cycle and they invited him back again!?!? If the Tea Partiers don't destroy the Republican party, the Evangelicals will . . .

    October 8, 2011 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  24. bucktrust

    Eff 'em both. They both aren't qualified to be leader of the free world. As crappy as Obama has turmed out to be, he's still a better choice than either of these clowns.

    October 8, 2011 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  25. Holly

    Pastor Jeffress,

    How can a "cult" become the 4th largest church in the U.S., and continue to grow throughout the world? How very sad Jesus Christ must be when He witnesses people professing to follow Him and call themselves Christians and yet live the opposite of what He came to teach.The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the Church of our Savior, in whom we worship and adore. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is NOT a cult. Just because we happen to differ on a few theological issues, it does not give you the right to define us as "non-Christians."

    We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may. Please respect us and our beliefs.

    October 8, 2011 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20