Bachmann, Cain duck question on Romney's faith
October 9th, 2011
10:16 AM ET
10 years ago

Bachmann, Cain duck question on Romney's faith

(CNN) - Neither Herman Cain nor Rep. Michele Bachmann would say Sunday whether they believe Mitt Romney is a Christian, two days after an influential pastor labeled Mormonism a "cult."

"He's a Mormon," Cain said on CNN's "State of the Union." "That much I know. I am not going to do an analysis of Mormonism versus Christianity for the sake of answering that. I'm not getting into that."

Bachmann echoed Cain's remarks, saying she didn't want to get into an issue she considers unimportant to the Republican presidential campaign.

"This is so inconsequential as far as this campaign is concerned," the Minnesota congresswoman said. "We have religious tolerance in this country and we understand that people have different views on their faith and I have a very sincerely held believe on faith and I think we just leave it at that."

When pressed by CNN's Candy Crowley on whether or not Romney is a Christian, neither candidate gave a firm answer - even when it was suggested they were dodging the question.

"If that's what it looks like, that I'm dodging it, it's because it is not going to help us boost this economy," Cain said. "You know that's my number one priority."

"I think what the real focus again is on religious tolerance," Bachmann said. "That's really what this is about. Again to make this a big issue is just ridiculous right now because every day I'm on the street talking to people, and this is not what people are talking about. I was very open about my faith, very clear about my faith. It's very important."

On Friday, the pastor of the highly-influential First Baptist Church of Dallas told CNN that his church had labeled Mormonism a "cult," and that Republicans shouldn't vote for former Massachusetts Gov. Romney because he is a follower of that faith.

"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," Robert Jeffress said outside of the Values Voter Summit in Washington. The First Baptist Church of Dallas has a congregation of about 10,000 and has long been considered a highly influential church in evangelical circles.

Romney's campaign said Friday they would not make any comment on the pastor's remarks.

On the CBS program "Face the Nation," fellow Republican candidate Newt Gingrich made similarly vague remarks about whether he believes Mitt Romney was a Christian.

"I think he's a Mormon and Mormon define themselves as a branch of Christianity," Gingrich said.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

soundoff (292 Responses)
  1. snowdogg

    How does religion or lack of it factor into the Presidential election. I can remember the attacks claiming that JFK would be in the Pope's back pocket if elected... just didn't happen.

    October 9, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  2. Sally

    The mainstream (evangelical 'Christian' do as I say crowd) hates Mitt. They want one of their own leading this country into a theocracy. Mitt is the sanest one of the scrum, and that scares them. It really makes no difference. None of them will beat the President, who now has a list of accomplishments as CIC, as well as no mistresses, no alcohol convictions, and no wild rants on the hill. The GOP is so afraid of the minority Tea Party they are trying to out Tea Party each other, and none of them makes sense. Keep it up GOP, and you will lose the House too in 2012. Maybe then we can turn this nation around and back into a job-creating force to be reckoned with.

    October 9, 2011 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  3. Carl

    Cain is not "ducking". Mitt Romney calls himself a Mormon, so that is what Cain will call him. That's the answer. If the reporters want more details about Mitt Romney's self-identification, they should ask Mitt Romney.

    October 9, 2011 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  4. MarkyGA

    The pastor was only half right... ALL religions are a cult. DUH!

    October 9, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  5. Carl

    It is sad that Cain and Bachman offer reasonable and intelligent answers, and the leftists get angry. "No," cry the hippies in the streets, "we want you to be hateful jerks so we can oppose you without resorting to logic!"

    October 9, 2011 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  6. Double Standard

    It was OK when repukans was stating that Obama was a muslim. Know there suppose to be religous tolerance?! What hypocrites!

    October 9, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  7. John

    Its ironic that the only ones that are upset about this issue are the Republican "Born Again" clones, the same group that wants to impose their "family values" on everyone else. What a narrow-minded bunch of hypocrites!

    October 9, 2011 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  8. Gregg

    I really don't understand why these arguments are needed. People who are choosing to fight this battle are simply ignorant to begin with. For example, the basis of which people are staking these claims derives from the principle that name of 'Christianity' is quite often given only to those religions whose doctrine is closest to that of Catholicism. Why has that been set as the standard instead of 'those who believe in Christ'? After all, Christianity undoubtedly means ' to take upon the name of Christ'. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints does just that.

    October 9, 2011 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  9. Craig

    Assuming the pastor is correct, the problem remains. He says he'd prefer a "competent Christian" and we still haven't seen one. Until we do, Romney probably leads by default.

    October 9, 2011 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  10. pikerover

    The Republicans sure had a lot to say about Obama's faith. What hypocrisy. In my opinion all religions are cults.

    October 9, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  11. beamerguy

    There is a difference from christians and mormons... christians read straight from the bible, this is the one and only word of god. the bible says at the end no more is to be added to gods word and nothing to be taken. the book of mormon is NOT the bible. its NOT gods word as so many versus of the bible dis-proves the book of mormon. most mormons do not know this as they read mainly from the book of mormon of course rather than from the bible. joseph smith was just some guy that was good at getting followers like jim jones. the bible has many artifacts to prove the bible is true. the book or mormon, has nothing. to talk an practically worship joseph smith more than jesus christ is not the christian way. are mormons bad, I don't think so, I have mormon friends and they are good loyal family people. I do feel there is a difference though between them.

    October 9, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  12. Dang ol' yo

    If you live in this country, you should be required to go to a bible believing church and uphold conservative values. Real Americans believe and do this, and it's time to put the debate to bed and make it a matter of law.

    October 9, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  13. John

    Come on people...there is no God waiting to invite your filthy carcus in for eternity.

    October 9, 2011 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  14. Edwin

    As much as I dislike Cain and Bachmann, I am 100% behind their answers on this. Did they dodge the question? Yes. But why should it matter whether they think Romney is christian or not?

    Someone earlier suggested that liberals are very concerned about this. As a liberal, I would say the poster was 100% wrong. The only voters who care about Romney's definition of his faith are conservative christians. The rest of us simply don't care.

    October 9, 2011 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  15. FIELD1stSGT

    Why not no comments, CAIN? You seem to imply Perry with plently, typically of your race, that he was a racist and in the same tone a few days later did the typical African American bashing of Sarah Palin who is not even running as an opponent. What kind of a man are you? Another Obama? I think we can pass on you we've already did that show and it wasn't agreeable.

    October 9, 2011 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  16. FactChecker

    Why ask "who cares"? Obviously some religious nut who backs Perry cares. Just because these people do not have the courage to call their own supporters religious nuts does not make the nuts go away. A lot of their support comes from those, and other, nuts. We should start calling their party the " Trail mix" party.

    October 9, 2011 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    First of all Mormon Church is not what Romney's Church is called, it's The Church Of Jesus Christ of latter day saints. So I take it he believes in Christ!!! I think this Pastor Jeffers should do alittle research before he talks out of his butt next time........
    Mitt is Christan to the core and loves the savior, and believes only through him we can be saved. So lets focus on who can fix the Economy and thats Mitt Romney!!!!!!!!!

    October 9, 2011 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  18. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Cain has differentiated Mormons and Christians in his view. Mr. Cain, you just answered the question. In other words, you don't know, so how are you going to know how to make the really difficult choices when you aren't even aware that Mormons are Christians?!


    October 9, 2011 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  19. Pastor Ross

    I belong to Southern Baptist Convention. I don't agree with Mormons Theology but given a choice, I would choose Gov. Romney than Gov. Perry. What Pastor Robert J. did a few days is "not speaking the truth in love." If I want a born again then I would suggest for him (Pastor Robert Jefrees) to declare himself as presidential candidate. We are electing someone for America not for Baptist Movement or Evangelicals or Bible Fundamentalists or Non-denomination Christians.

    October 9, 2011 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  20. Practical One defines 'cult' as follows:
    1. a particular system of religious worship, especially with reference to its rites and ceremonies.

    Doesn't sound scary to me!

    Going by the above definition, all so-called 'religions' can be classifies as cults.

    October 9, 2011 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  21. Misunderstands Mormonism and Religion

    People misunderstand. It is not what the outside world believes about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. What really matters is what a member of the church believes. Members believe in Jesus Christ as the Savior. If other faiths call that not-christian, who cares? It's just because Mitt Romney is President that the press is looking for something to create an issue they can popularize in the media. One of the things Republicans in the South need to face is the number of Mormons out west who are predominately Republican. If a Republican wants to get elected, he or she should not criticize the religion of so many of their voters.

    October 9, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  22. Katie

    Of course he's a Christian. Mormons are Christians, and most of them are far better at following the teachings of Jesus than other denominations of Christianity. And anyway, the question is silly and shouldn't matter.

    October 9, 2011 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  23. Lisa

    So Bachmann says that this matter is inconsequential to the campaign then she says that she has been very clear about her faith and that it is very important. So which is it, "inconsequential" or "very important"? It can't be both.

    October 9, 2011 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    Bachmann has made it clear that her religion is central to her decision-making process. So, if she was running to be an elder for her church, that would be fine. But the United States is not a Christian nation. It is a nation of people free to practice their faith as long as they do not impose it on others. It is a nation that is governed in a manner that does NOT establish a state religion. That means decisions are made in accordance with the Constitution, not Bachmann's personal religious beliefs. Many of the Republican candidates and elected officials do not seem to understand the Constitutional restrictions on imposing their religion on others. We do not need or want an American Taliban.

    October 9, 2011 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  25. Agha Ata

    Would anyone kindly tell me if it is written in the constitution that the president of the USA must be a Christian? And also if iit says that Faith and State are not exactly separate?

    October 9, 2011 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
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