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. Pennypacker

    @Texas Doc I know your kind. Brainwashed to the bone with hateful garbage preached to you from the pulpit. I suppose Catholics, Jehova's Witnesses, Adventists aren't Christians either, because they don't believe like you do.

    October 7, 2011 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  2. Tatt

    What wrong with mormon? we're having a freaking muslim as president at the moment..ffs

    October 7, 2011 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  3. Wanderer81

    ...hope he or his children don't have an iPhone designed by that infidel Steve Jobs (RIP). These pastors need to go join their brethren in the Taliban.

    October 7, 2011 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  4. bnuckols

    According to this article, Jeffres did not say what you claim, he said Christians should pick a Christian over a Mormon. It's splitting hairs, but that's an old Baptist tradition.

    October 7, 2011 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  5. Julian

    This is just a reminder to the pastor Jesus love every one. Racist

    October 7, 2011 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  6. Lisa

    This only shows how ignorant the Pastor is. Mitt Romney is a Christian. The name of the church to which he belongs is called "The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints." Last I checked, those who worship and believe in Jesus Christ ARE Christians. I think the Pastor ought to do a little more research into Mitt's faith before he passes judgement.

    October 7, 2011 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  7. Bill C

    This pastor is absolutely right and speaks the truth. LDS is a cult, pure and simple.

    October 7, 2011 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  8. S.positive

    Folks, the mormons can say God all they like, but the facts are facts and no true christian will vote for this guy, Romney. Will sit at home instead. He is a loser which means, again President Obama WILL win in nov 2012. Get real folks, Romney can't do much about this...

    October 7, 2011 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  9. mpouxesas

    Please, if you are dumber than I, please do NOT vote. People like this ...pastor, encourage stupid people to vote and we suffer 8 years of bush and the next 1 or 2 generations will be suffering too (things are pretty bad, they are just hiding it all too well).

    October 7, 2011 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  10. mamivaqui

    their tax exempt status should be taken away immediately, as simple as that, and take it away to ALL churches

    October 7, 2011 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  11. Sean

    If the church has the name of Jesus Christ in its name, how can it not be Christian? Have I missed the point or definition of Christian?

    October 7, 2011 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  12. Kodes100

    I can't believe that in the twenty-first century some idiots are doing the "I am more Christian than you."

    October 7, 2011 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  13. Jeff

    to all you "Christians out there....
    ask your self this question " what would Jesus say?"

    October 7, 2011 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  14. S.positive

    President Obama will win in 2012

    October 7, 2011 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  15. Terrie Lynn Bittner

    This pastor might be interested to know that he will never hear leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members are sometimes nicknamed Mormons, refer to his religion as a cult or him as a non-Christian, simply because it would be un-Christlike behavior. Only the Savior has the right to decide who is Christian and who is not, and Mormons don't feel they have the right to make that call. Unless the pastor wishes to claim God came down and told him so (which he can't do since he doesn't believe God is willing to speak to us anymore)...he really isn't in a position to make such a call. President Jimmy Carter, a Baptist, said that such behavior makes one a Pharisee, and he didn't mean it as a compliment. The pastor might want to read his Bible to find out what Jesus Christ said about how we treat others and about what makes a Christian.

    October 7, 2011 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  16. mod

    I have a bunch of Mormon friends / neighbors – nice folks – seems when you call yourselves the 'Church of Jesus Christ...' – as Mormons do – they certainly consider themselves christians. I'd vote my Mormon friends are about as christian as they come. Not sure why this is relevant to the elections, though. Can't we give it a rest on what / how religious someone is? Sheesh.

    October 7, 2011 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  17. Dak

    All religion should be outlawed. It's all BS!

    October 7, 2011 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  18. Portcon801

    It shows how ignoroant Mr. Jeffress is and his ability to influence his likeminded followers. Mormons believe in Jesus Christ and by definition are Christians. What makes a religion not a cult? Honestly, look up the definition of the word cult and tell me Catholicism or Islam or Lutheranism or even Anglicanism are not cults.

    October 7, 2011 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  19. S.positive

    GOP should focus on 2016 as they lost in 2012

    October 7, 2011 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  20. Retired VET

    It is too bad in this day and age where we have so much information at our finger tips that such drivel is espoused. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) I know Jesus is my Savior and Redeemer. Only through Jesus Christ may I enter heaven as He is my advocate to the Father. I don't believe you get much more Christian in belief than what I just stated.

    October 7, 2011 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  21. kosakosa

    evangelical pastors are biased in their views because it's in their personal interests to be so. Unlike evangelicals, latter day saints (mormons) have no paid ministry. All leaders are called and serve voluntarily in church leadership positions. Pastors may be losing their flock to mormons hence the concern because it hurts them in the pocketbook.

    October 7, 2011 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  22. Kristin

    Careful, Jeffress, your ignorance is showing.

    October 7, 2011 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  23. Geezer

    funny when the christ nazis are going after each other. News Flash: all religions are cults.

    October 7, 2011 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  24. aggie95

    So he's calling Pres Obama a "professing Christian" (implying he doesn't believe him) and would prefer a "non-Christian" instead? WOW! As a Christian myself, that says more about this pastor than anything. Also, not sure what policies he's referring to as unbilical policies, but there's quite a few of unbiblical positions taken on both sides, including the republicans and Romney. Amazing!!! This is why folks can't be taken seriously when they utter nonsense like this...

    October 7, 2011 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  25. ST

    Oh! I can smell trouble. Romney is about to read again the speech he gave in his attempt of his last bid about religion. I hope he still has it!

    October 7, 2011 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
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