Key Gingrich staff member departs over Mormon comment
December 13th, 2011
07:18 PM ET
11 years ago

Key Gingrich staff member departs over Mormon comment

(CNN) - Craig Bergman, Iowa campaign director for GOP presidential front-runner Newt Gingrich, stepped down from his role Tuesday amid reports he made a controversial comment about Mormonism.

"He made a comment to a focus group prior to becoming an employee that is inconsistent with Newt 2012's pledge to run a positive and solutions orientated campaign," said R.C. Hammond, press secretary for Gingrich.

According to the Des Moines Register, Bergman called Mormonism a 'cult' on Wednesday when talking to a focus group. The newspaper attributed the remark to The Iowa Republican, a conservative news website.

"A lot of the evangelicals believe God would give us four more years of Obama just for the opportunity to expose the cult of Mormon," Bergman reportedly said. "There's a thousand pastors ready to do that."

The comments come two months after a Dallas pastor tied to Texas Gov. Rick Perry created a firestorm when he referred to the Mormon faith as a 'cult' and discouraged Christian voters from supporting Romney, a Mormon.

Also see:

Gingrich, Huntsman's friendly foreign policy debate

Giuliani: Gingrich may be stronger than Romney

Cheney: Don't underestimate Gingrich

Santorum counting on Iowa

Filed under: 2012 • Faith • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. rpb

    Mormonism IS a cult in as much as the rest of the religions are. Kind of a moot point when you consider that god isn't real to begin with. Sort of like arguing which Republican candidate would be better when you'd be worse off with a Republican candidate to begin with.

    December 13, 2011 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  2. sleepytime

    LOL. It's hilarious when cult members complain about other cults.

    December 13, 2011 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  3. Brett

    Newt Gingrich believes in hard selling his personal email list to his own campaign for $42,000 of his contributors money and giving a "history" lesson to Freddie Mac for $1.6 million of tax payer money. No sir, no handouts for Newt.

    December 13, 2011 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  4. Bob W

    Ladies and Gentlemen, the clear headed, fair Mr. Gingrich.

    December 13, 2011 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  5. JDUB

    As if Christians don't believe in something imaginary – I mean, come on, a belief system centered on a woman magically getting pregnant?

    December 13, 2011 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  6. jim

    Ah, Christian love and charity. The basis for our moral structure. No wonder there is so much hatred and bigotry in America. Much like public displays of affection by gays, I wish ya'll would keep your faith private. I'm ok with both, as long as I don't have to watch or have my kid exposed to it. Know what I mean?

    December 13, 2011 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  7. Sheepleherder

    "There's a thousand pastors" pretending to be Christians. If they had been born in Afghanistan they would be taliban.

    December 13, 2011 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  8. Eric

    And now, instead of a Mormon, the Republican Party will give us a person who cheated on his wife and served her divorce papers while she was in the hospital fighting cancer. A real hero. And the same idiots who give their life savings to televangelists will vote for the guy.

    December 13, 2011 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  9. PuzzledInPeoria

    It's surprising how many evangelicals have "changed their minds" about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints being Christian, because these evangelicals want the conservative Mitt Romney elected president. According to most evangelicals, Christian denominations reject any scripture other than the Bible. The LDS Church considers the Book of Mormon scripture. Evangelicals also consider John the Baptist the final legitimate prophet. The LDS Church considers Joseph Smith and Brigham Young prophets. The list of differences goes on and on, but oddly they are all being ignored now by evangelicals.

    December 13, 2011 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  10. Chris

    Notice how this firing virtually guarantees that the words "Mormonism is a cult" will appear repeatedly in the media for the next several days.

    December 13, 2011 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  11. Squigman

    Looking forward to the complete melt down of republican hopefuls. It's just geting started, and the hate spewing, finger pointing, prejudice laced rhetoric has shown it's ugly republican heritage. The coming show should be a real eye opener.

    December 13, 2011 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Another ignorant person with zero understanding of the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints. With over 15 million members that are highly educated across many spectrum's people sure are frightened by Mormons! It laughable to say the least!

    December 13, 2011 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  13. Rob

    One thing I learned about Arabs while traveling in North Africa seems to apply equally to Republicans....

    They don't like each other and think even less of us (democrats).

    December 13, 2011 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  14. Avi Shlomo

    would Nutgingrich quit over remarks of invented people as he keep re-inventing himself.?

    December 13, 2011 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  15. Cindy

    When will people begin to believe that evangelicals will never vote for a Mormon. You might as well ask them to vote for a muslim. If a Mormon would just tell them that "no, I am not a Christian, I am a Mormon," they might get votes. There is no place in this new Republican party for Mormons. They are going after Senator Hatch next.

    December 13, 2011 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  16. Middle America

    I believe Mormons are just as Christian as any one else who claims the name of Christ for salvation. Peripheral doctrinal additives are of no account unless they conflict directly with ten commandments.

    December 13, 2011 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  17. waikikijohn

    don't you just love these friendly Republicans. They just can't get enough of cutting each other up.

    December 13, 2011 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  18. DJ

    It's all hocus pocus. Everyone thinks their religion is the only one that makes sense because they've been taught about it since they were old enough to listen. Mommy and daddy would never lie, right? But there are a million of these "only true religions" out there, and they all have gigantic holes in their stories. Pope Pius XII decided Mary ascended to heaven. The story had a hole in it, he thought about it for a while and just announced that he figured it out. And now they call it "infallible dogma". And that's one of the most popular religions in the world. Stop trying to force religion on us, GOP and GOP supporters. You won't like what happens if you succeed, because the next step is when people from a different religion decide yours has to go. Wait and see.

    December 13, 2011 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  19. Dr.K.

    And that differentiates it from the fundamentalism of other candidates how ....?

    December 13, 2011 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  20. Piggymama

    Everytime "Newt" opens his mouth, it embarrasses the hell out of me as a Georgian. Makes me want to run and hide. Please, please, please make him hide in the coat closet again!

    December 13, 2011 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  21. Ron

    What's surprising about this? He only said what the majority of the right wing/tea party thinks. In fact, I bet it will probably boost Newt's standing in Iowa. Pretty pathetic that this country still has this many problems with equality with respect to race or religion.

    December 13, 2011 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  22. Pro Bono Publico

    In Newt's empire of hate, it is crime to call Mormonism a 'cult' but perfectly fine to insult Palestinians as "invented people.

    December 13, 2011 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  23. Keksi

    Rest of stuff should quit over remarks about Palestinians

    December 13, 2011 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  24. Andrew

    This man is too f@#%ing stupid to run for street sweeper.

    December 13, 2011 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  25. Rachel

    Cult: "a particular system of religious worship, especially with reference to its rites and ceremonies." ( Why are people so sensitive about this?

    December 13, 2011 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
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