Evangelical leader on Romney's Mormon faith
January 15th, 2012
12:30 PM ET
10 years ago

Evangelical leader on Romney's Mormon faith

(CNN) – Bob Jones III, an influential evangelical leader, defended his support of Mitt Romney's 2008 presidential bid Sunday, despite the religious differences he has with the current GOP candidate.

"If this man can best run our country and can beat Hillary Clinton, then why should we be afraid of him, even though we vitally disagree with his Mormonism," Jones said on CNN's "State of the Union." "Mormonism is not Christianity and he understood that."

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"I respect the fact that he didn't try to present himself or Mormonism as Christianity," Jones told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, or Mormons as members are colloquially known, identify themselves as Christians.

Historically Mormons have broken theologically over issues like the Trinity, baptism and other scripture revelations, which has resulted in other Christian faiths not recognizing Mormons as Christians.

Some faiths go so far as to label Mormonism a theological cult as prominent Southern Baptist pastor Robert Jeffress did after an event last year where he endorsed Rick Perry for the GOP nomination.

However, Jones said a lack of cultivation is the reason he has yet to make an endorsement during the 2012 election cycle.

"In 2008, he was very solicitous of the evangelical vote," Jones said of the former Massachusetts governor. "If he is that today, I am unaware of it. I certainly have had no contact with him, and so I don't know whether he feels he needs it or wants it, whether he considers it a plus or a minus for him. That was a different dynamic then."

Jones made the comments before a meeting of Christian conservative leaders that led to the group's backing of Rick Santorum.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, who said representatives winnowed the field to Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, announced the support of the former Pennsylvania senator Saturday.

In the same meetings, Perkins said there was little discussion for Romney's Mormon faith.

"This was not a bash-Mitt Romney weekend, it was focused on the positive," Perkins said. "It's not news that there is not strong support among conservatives for Mitt Romney, and that was reflected here."

Romney supporter Sen. John McCain said the endorsement is "bound to have some affect," but added it will not be "real significant."

"I'm convinced that we will come together and there's no doubt in my mind," McCain said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

- CNN's Gabriella Schwarz, Eric Marrapodi and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

Also see:

Group backing Gingrich hits Romney for health care law and Bain record

Romney gives cash to struggling supporter at rally

Romney super PAC pummels Santorum and Gingrich by mail

Tim Scott, the ultimate undecided voter

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

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. NC

    Some of these so called Christians would probably vote for the devil if they thought he had a chance of winning the Presidency.

    January 15, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  2. Ron

    I can't see any of the present candidate's beating Obama. The republicans are tearing each other apart & then because Romney a Mormon seems to be big issue. George Bush left the country in real mess when he left office in 2008. I'm sure most Americans will not forget that.

    January 15, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  3. Marsha

    Actually, most religion experts consider Mormonism to be a NEW world religion, and one of the fastest growing in the country, distinct from Christianity. Many many Mormon beliefs are very different from Christian beliefs. Mormons believe that we are spirit children born in heaven and that Jesus was God's first spirt child and God's only earthly child, the only perfect spirit child. They do not believe that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are one.

    January 15, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  4. B

    Endless wars and arguments over Mythologies created by Man and his fear of the unknown.

    This will always keep Humans from evolving to a point of global co-operation and understanding of the things that we ALL have in common like global overpopulations and thoughtful co-operation in the proper use of resources !

    How about trying Science based intelligent-morality that works for everyone and forget the Tribalism of us and them.

    January 15, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  5. Mormons Are Christian

    According to a 2012 Pew Forum poll of members of the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) 98 percent said they believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and 97 percent say their church is a Christian religion. How can anyone say members of the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) are not Christian?

    January 15, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  6. Kyle (Atlanta)

    Romney's Mormoninsm is reason #1 why he wont beat President Obama. He simply wont elicit enough support or enthusiam from the evangelicals who are at the core of the conservative coalition. The dirty little secret is that they vote as much from the pew as they do from thier wallet.

    January 15, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    More proof of the GOBP deathcult's rampant hypocrisy. They claim to stand for principles yet will sell them out for very little. Sorta like all the so-called "conservatives" who swear GWB wasn't a "real conservative" and now are lining up to support GWB 2.0 (Romney the Robot) who is also not a "real conservative" by any stretch of the word.

    January 15, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  8. anagram_kid

    This is a problem with every franchise of Christianity. Members of each are convinced that their interpretation of a translation of a translation of a an edited translation of a set of ancient largely borrowed myths written by for a culture that prized water and hospitality above all, is the ONLY correct one. I hope I live long enough to see the day when people shake their heads in wonder about how we once argued who their imaginary friend like more.

    Obama 2012 – Because action speaks louder than prayer

    January 15, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  9. James

    I would agree. All of this talk regarding Mormons is a bit too much and comes across as bigotry. Democrats and republicans seem to have no problem with Harry Reid being Mormon and the most powerful democrat on capital hill. Rick Santorum will never be elected president in this country. His past comments and views on homosexuality are horribly bigoted and dangerous. Its obvious that he was only chosen because of prejudice towards Mormons. Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman are the only sane and electable candidates and both are Mormon. Both of them have have stood up for gay rights along with the majority of the American electorate.

    January 15, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  10. OscarHerbert

    Romney is our best hope as President of the United States. People who love our freedoms and our heritage and care about our future and that of our grandchildren choose Mitt Romney to safeguard and protect our values. Romney has lived conservative family values all his life. Theological points of understanding are not what the presidential election is about. It is about finding a leader who can get out economy moving and build a better America for all.

    January 15, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  11. floyd

    All religions are cults.The true God in heaven has nothing to do with the cesspool of politics. Why would God be on the side of these lying politicians?.Then you have these disgusting ministers (supposedly men of God ) supporting known liars. Who is the father of lies? Satan. Think about it people.

    January 15, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  12. Jeffer65

    Can beat Hilary Clinton? Who does Jones think is President?
    I'm so sick and tired of these so-called evangelical leaders acting like they speak for all Christians. I've been Lutheran all my life, and I make up my own mind about who gets my vote.

    January 15, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
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