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. Juan

    Interesting. These Teapbublicans were quick to question whether or not Obama is Christian, adding fuel to the he's-a-Muslim brouhaha. Yet with a fellow Teapublican they proclaim freedom of religion till the cows come home. Hypocrites.

    October 9, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  2. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Now that Jeffress has officially endorsed Perry, when is the IRS going to remove their tax-exempt status? After all, that whole church is owned and operated by Jeffress through a pseudo-board of directors. I call them pseudo because they are effectively a rubber-stamp for whatever Jeffres wants. I give Cain a lot of credit in this, even if he did pretty much lift Bill Clinton's "It's the economy, stupid" as his mantra. As far as Bachmann goes, she is pretty much in a glass house if she starts stone throwing at other candidates based on their supposed religion (or lack thereof).

    October 9, 2011 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  3. jane

    Religion was an issue when Obama was running.....Now the religious hypocrites are confronted with the issue of Mormonish, one's religion is "inconsequential"......Come 2012!!!

    October 9, 2011 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  4. Larry

    Moral cowardice....Both are not fit to be President of these United States!

    October 9, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  5. Bill

    A couple of profiles in cowardice.

    October 9, 2011 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  6. Jeff

    Christianity is a cult.

    October 9, 2011 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  7. Gemini Girl

    Wire Palladin: His name isn't Herb, it's Herman. It was Palin that called him Herb, mistakenly, just like her whole being. And the reasons that Cain is liked so much by the right wing that he is bigoted, just like they are. By the way, I am watching all this and Romney won't win the GOP because he is Mormon. The South "jus' ain't gonna elect no Mormon." Too bad. Either way, it's going to be a cakewalk for Pres. Obama, like I have said previously, but he better work for it!

    October 9, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  8. Matthew

    Calling someone a non-Christian who openly claims to follow Christ and lives in a manner to back it up is ignorant at best. Playing coy by not answering the question also falls into this category. If you don't know anything about Mormons, say so and then do some research to find out. It is hard to believe, however, that someone running for president of the country would not know this very basic point about more than 7 million of its citizens. This kind of indirect insult while protesting it is no insult is painfully transparent and does no favors for those of us who try to follow Christ. You make all of us look like small-minded bigots.

    October 9, 2011 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  9. Thomas

    To me, the only true religion in October is baseball and it's been a heck of a playoff run so far. The Great Satans of Baseball Capitalism (Yankees and Phillies) have been defeated by the David's of baseball and two of the Brewers and Rangers best players are Jewish. Joy to the World!!!

    October 9, 2011 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  10. JG

    I'm not a Bachmann supporter, but I respect how she responded here. She reminded the interviewer that we live in a land of religious tolerance.

    I'm not going to get started on whether I think Bachmann is tolerant of others' religions – because that may be debatable. However, I DO give credit where it's due, and I think she did good at reminding us that religious tolerance is one of the founding principles of our country. Good for her.

    October 9, 2011 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  11. macallen23

    There's nothing like watching a race to the bottom. People wonder why moderate conservatives just aren't interested running against Obama. Who wants to stand on a stage and answer questions about someone else's religion?

    October 9, 2011 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  12. Satndford

    The republicans have claimed for many years that America is a Christian nation. Why are they afraid now to stand up for their religion? Are Cain, Perry and the crazy lady afraid to testify and proclaim their never-doubting, evangelical Christian faith is the only way? Where are Newt and his new cult; are the Catholics now willing to accept that The Pope is not the only way to get to Heaven? Are all the GOP elites more worried about getting a few votes? Or is it fleecing the flock and fund rising – after all, money has no religion!

    October 9, 2011 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  13. gphx

    Who cares whether he's a Mormon. The more important question is whether he sells Cadillacs or Snake Oil.

    October 9, 2011 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  14. JW

    Religious tolerance by these two? Not when it is a muslim or the President.

    October 9, 2011 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  15. OOTA

    Being an organization that teaches intolerance, violence and death, Islam sure looks like a cult to me.

    October 9, 2011 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  16. redjewel1

    what exactly does religion have to do with running for president??? oh yeah ,nothing. if you cannot accept all religious beliefs then leave yours at the door. this is one reason i've giving up on organized religion.

    October 9, 2011 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    It's all complete, fairy tale nonsense anyway, but the only difference between a religion and a cult is the number of followers.

    October 9, 2011 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  18. Marti

    I think both Bachman and Cain answered correctly. It is not up to any one person to judge whether someone else is a Christian or not. – Educate yourself about Religion down through history. Take a history course on the Crusades, etc.
    People called themselves Christian then and killed anyone who didn't believe as they did. They called themselves Christian – but they certainly didn't follow what Jesus taught. I consider myself a Christian – but there is no way I can say that I'm the only one who is right. And – in no way do I have a right to judge someone else! People with their brand of Religion can do a whole lot of harm when they think they are the only ones who are right!

    October 9, 2011 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  19. Steve

    "In God We Trust" – not allah, yaweh, etc – guess that settles whether or not the US is founded on christian principles

    October 9, 2011 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  20. JA

    Interesting. There seems to be a few functioning brain cells among some of the Republican candidates after all.

    October 9, 2011 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    Mormons believe Jesus is the son of God and savior of the world. Sounds Christian to me. Either way, a candidate's religion really has nothing to do with their ability to run a country. This is America, not Iran.

    October 9, 2011 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  22. Tom

    David Koresh and Jim Jones defined themselves as Christians.

    October 9, 2011 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  23. Beth

    I find it ironic that now the GOP candidates are saying religion doesn't matter, when it wasn't that long ago they were trying to portray Obama to be a Muslim (which he is not). I guess religion matters to them only when it comes to Obama's. He IS a Christian, but they refuse to believe it, just like they refuse to believe that he is American, patriotic, etc. The GOP is full of hypocrisy. ... And btw, since when is being a Muslim a crime?

    October 9, 2011 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  24. Tired of the nonsense

    Mormonism is a Christian sect.

    And let's ask the REALLY big question, shall we?

    Why should someone's religion have anything to do with their politics or if they're competent to be in the White House? Look at Bush. Totally incompetent, but people voted for him because of his religious views. Look at the mess we're in now because of those misguided votes.

    October 9, 2011 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  25. Nokat

    I will not vote for a flip flopper that won't stand their ground
    I will vote for the christian presidential candidate that abolishes gay marriage

    October 9, 2011 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
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