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. msvicky

    Do we really want any religious zealot as the leader of this democracy?

    October 8, 2011 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  2. Andrew

    Although I reject Christ and don't believe in a Judeo-Christian God, I think Mormons are certainly Christians, just as any other protestant cult. Mormons believe in the same ideals as Evangelicals and Lutherans with small differences which are being exaggerated. Trust me, I should know about Mormons, I live in Utah. On the quality of character of Mormons and Christians, in most cases I find both to be deplorable (with the occasional exception). Religion should not matter in a presidential race (especially in a secular nation). Cast your vote for a candidate who stands up for your beliefs, because in the end it doesn't matter what label or personal choices a single person makes; what matters most is how the president benefits or degrades our nation.

    October 8, 2011 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  3. civicx2003

    I am a mormon. But, the name of our church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We believe in the Book of Mormon and the Bible. How can this pastor say we are not Christians? When the name of our church is the Church of Jesus Christ. He has no idea what he is talking about.

    October 8, 2011 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  4. Concerned

    Mormonism is a cult! The worst thing we could do is popularize / normalize there crazy beliefs by electing a mormon president. Joseph Smith tried running for president of the US but people knew he was crazy and it went nowhere. We need to remember that his beliefs are still crazy. I can't support a president that wears holy underwear, practices secret rituals in a forbidden temple, believes he will be a God with his own planet, believes that the Americas were settled by the lost tribes of Israel... it just gets worse! P.S. Mormonism is not Christianity it is Josephanity. Mormons follow Joseph Smith and his teaching.

    October 8, 2011 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  5. Arizonan

    Pastor Robert Jeffress should do a little research before opening his mouth, If Mormonism is a cult it is a real big one, there are 10 MILLION Mormons on the earth. The official name of the Church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. every member believes in Christ and study the Bible. Mitt Romney was a very successful in buisness, along with being the Governor of Massachusetts. also the Mormon church does not EVER tell the members who to vote for in elections.

    October 8, 2011 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  6. toothfairy

    ...shocked to learn something good about them!!! 🙂 I would like to encourage you to all to educate yourselves on the mormon religion here: Maybe you'll think differently after you have all the facts. If not, then that's alright, we all have our free agency to feel the way we feel. If this enlightens just one of you out there...then I can sleep well tonight knowing I made a difference in clearing up some of the misunderstandings of who we (Mormon's) are and what we believe. Peace!

    October 8, 2011 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  7. Sergo Jean

    I do believe any citizen has the right to serve his country, and I do believe there is One God,One Son the Only begotten Son of God Jesus Christ,and the Holy Ghost.Jesus said "They shall put you out of the synagogues :yea,the time will cometh " St John Chapter 16:1-12.I do believe there is only one way for somebody to know the true things about God by praying Thee,or you will not know the truth.Jesus said " These things I command you,that ye love one another.If the world hate you,ye know that it hated me before it hated you".St John 15:17-18.I do believe we are all children of God.

    October 8, 2011 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  8. A.T.

    I don't believe in any religion, but the pastor is right: Mormons are NOT Christians. While there are different sects/denominations of Christianity, they are all based on the bible, even if the bible is bogus. Since Mormonism is based on the book of Mormon, that makes them non-Christian. Ditto the JW's and their made up Watchtower publications.

    October 8, 2011 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  9. Steve

    This pastor is a bigot and a sore excuse for a Christian. No wonder why he is backing Perry (especially since it was revealed recently that Perry is a racist). These two are meant for each other.

    October 8, 2011 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  10. Nick

    I guess no one should really care about what one idiot pastor has to say about another religion. He's just trying to protect his collection plates from religions that are more Christ-centered (I.e. Mormons).

    October 8, 2011 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  11. John

    Hmm, thought we figured this all out in like 1648 with the peace of westphalia. Interesting a religion will preach acceptance and then reject other religions. What, the wrong monotheistic god?

    October 8, 2011 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  12. What...

    there are those who also say being a christian is a cult...

    October 8, 2011 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  13. Kevin

    well if that ain't the kettle calling the pot black then i don't know what is!

    October 8, 2011 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  14. Anonymous

    @ everyone claiming Mormons are not Christian...... Mormon = LDS = The Church of Jesus Chris of Latter Day Saints. Mormons are as Christian as they come. Not sure what religion has to do with it anyway. You either support him because you believe in his values and ethics or you dont.

    October 8, 2011 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  15. A W Messenger

    As flaming liberal as CNN can be, it is not surprising to see them throw this sort of thing on the web and call it national news.

    October 8, 2011 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  16. Nate (Seattle, WA)

    What's the difference between a religion and a cult? The number of people who buy into it?

    They're both groups who believe in unproven ideas, who follow the cult leaders through faith, and engage in rituals dictated by the cult/religion.

    It's all the same nonsense. This country is in trouble because we entrust our leadership exclusively to people who are either in cults, or religious. Until we grow up, and start electing the smartest among us, who realize that we're in control of our future, and not some invisible, omniscient power ... we're going to keep making stupid decisions.

    October 8, 2011 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  17. Emitr

    Oh, goodie! It's important not to elect the guy who believes people existed before they were conceived but to elect the guy who believes that people live forever after they die. I'm glad we got that straight.

    October 8, 2011 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  18. Joe Graham

    On second thought, let's go ahead and allow politics from the pulpit. How harmful can it be when buffoons like this pastor trot out their idiocy and simultaneously drive people away from both their political position and their outrageous interpretation of Scripture? 🙂

    October 8, 2011 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  19. Ramrod

    Three Presidents from Texas (L B Johnson, G H Bush, G W Bush) started failed wars. Vietnam – we lost, first Iraq war – a draw, second Iraq war – unresolved. These three warmongers started these wars for unspecified personal reasons serving the military-industrial complex, spending hundreds of billions of dollars, killing our service men and women.
    Do we want another warmonger from Texas? Do we want to enter into another war? I don't think so.

    October 8, 2011 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  20. keith matyi

    I grew up in cult called Armstrongism. The WorldWide Church of God under Herbert W. Armstrong. I am still in therapy for it. Let's vote for an Internet president. Modern Media. I will be posting on to run for Governor of Texas.

    October 8, 2011 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  21. Nick

    This "pastor" should go back to doing what he's good at; protesting dead soldier's funerals. What? What's that you say, Pastor Jerkwad? Not all Baptists do that? Oh I guess ignorant and evil slurs and untruthful labels are unfair, uninformed, and deceitful. But at least I don't call myself a pastor like this chatty-Cathy clown.

    October 8, 2011 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  22. BigBill

    For those of you who do not understand Pastor Jeffress comments. It is a doctrine of the Christian faith that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, while each being individual Persons, yet are one Triune God, eternal, infinite, all-powerful. Mormonism denies the eternal deity of Jesus Christ. As such Mormonism does not qualify as "Christian" since it does not hold to the most basic doctrine of the Christian faith.

    October 8, 2011 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  23. Stephen

    Why is this an issue when President Obama sat in Reverend Wrights pews for 20+ years?! What kind of news organization is CNN? Further what kind of posts are on here? Hateful, disrespectful, gibberish and it is sickening. What ever happened to a civil exchange of ideas? CNN is just sickening. Shame on you!

    October 8, 2011 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  24. susan

    I am a Christian. But its people like THIS guy who give us a bad name. Christian or Jew or Morman, its what they can get done for the COUNTRY, not a specific religion is what counts. Some zealots will never get it.

    October 8, 2011 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  25. shucknjive

    I hate this religious bs. of Perry. I'll vote for anyone over Odummy, but I'm hoping for Romney big time. I can't stand religious fanatics no matter who they are.

    October 8, 2011 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
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