9 Comments

The Religious Right Comes to Terms with Mormon Leaders


Brian Tashman points to the disappearing line which once divided Evangelicals and Mormons.

Last year evangelical writer and WORLD Magazine associate publisher Warren Cole Smith created quite a stir with his column pledging not to vote for Mitt Romney if he wins the Republican nomination because of the boost his presidency would provide to Mormonism.

“You can say that his religious beliefs don’t matter, but his ‘values’ do,” Smith explained, “If the beliefs are false, then the behavior will eventually—but inevitably—be warped.”

He pointed to the Mormon doctrine of “continuing revelation” to explain Romney’s history of flip-flops and warned that a Romney presidency “would serve to normalize the false teachings of Mormonism the world over,” drawing more people into the LDS church and away from orthodox Christianity.

But it seems that few other prominent faces of the Religious Right are agreeing with Smith’s stance. 

Televangelist James Robison on Daystar told a listener that she should favor a non-Christian over a Christian just as people favored Ronald Reagan, a Hollywood actor, over Jimmy Carter, a Southern Baptist Sunday school teacher, because Reagan better understood biblical principles.

Even Robert Jeffress, the preacher who attacked Mormonism as a “cult” at the Values Voters Summit and said Christians should prefer evangelical Rick Perry over Romney, made a similar case on Janet Parshall’s radio show in January when he said a “non-Christian who embraces biblical principles” is preferable to “a professing Christian who espouses unbiblical principles”.

American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer said he will vote for Romney even though he believes a Mormon president would undermine the “spiritual health” of the U.S., and Rick Scarborough of Vision America, repeated his antipathy towards Mormonism in an interview but made clear that “if the choice comes down for me between a Mormon and Barack Obama, I’d vote for the Mormon every time.”

But the acceptance of Romney as the leader of the GOP by the Religious Right’s leadership may not come as a great surprise, as the same people have largely embraced another high profile Mormon, Glenn Beck.

Beck has become a favorite of Religious Right figures, leading his religiously-infused Restoring Honor rally at the Lincoln Memorial and introducing his clerical Black Robe Regiment, promulgating ‘Christian nation’ history with David Barton and keynoting last year’s Values Voters Summit. The turnaround when it comes to working with Mormons, who many evangelicals see as “cobelligerents” in the culture wars along with conservative Roman Catholics and Jews, can be seen in Kirk Cameron’s own about-face.

Cameron featured Beck at the kickoff event for his movie Monumental, about how America needs to return to its theocratic Pilgrim roots, where Beck told Cameron that God confirmed to him in prayer that what they are doing is right and wants them to warn the country about America’s impending collapse. Beck’s appearance and discussion of his talks with God in Cameron’s Religious Right “documentary” may raise eyebrows since Cameron in 2006 co-hosted an anti-Mormon film with evangelist Ray Comfort.

In the show, Cameron said that it was likely Satan who appeared to Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet, as the Angel Moroni and led him to golden plates that became the Book of Mormon, and even said that Mormons are “following a false Jesus” and “will end up in Hell forever.” “If you’ve ever spoken to a Mormon, sometimes you know how frustrating it could when they use the same words you do but they mean something different and you’re not sure how to finish the conversation,” Cameron said.

Despite Cameron’s dogmatic warnings against Mormonism, he is now actively working with one of America’s leading Mormons. Similarly, just as many on the Religious Right once denounced the Mormon faith, they are now prepared to vote for Romney over President Obama.

For audio and video see, From Beck to Romney, Religious Right Comes to Terms with Mormon Leaders 

 

9 comments on “The Religious Right Comes to Terms with Mormon Leaders

  1. “Televangelist James Robison on Daystar told a listener that she should favor a non-Christian over a Christian just as people favored Ronald Reagan, a Hollywood actor, over Jimmy Carter, a Southern Baptist Sunday school teacher, because Reagan better understood biblical principles.”

    This statement simply demonstrates how lost and confused these people are. They have no clue as to the difference between the spiritual and the political and utterly mix and confuse the two realms. I believe that, in spite of his failings, Ronald Reagan was one of the best presidents in America’s history. I also believe that Jimmy Carter was one of the worst. But to try to make that a spiritual differentiation is ludicrous. I have no doubt that Jimmy Carter WAS AND IS lightyears ahead of Ronald Reagan spiritually. I am NOT trying to say that Ronald Reagan was not a Christian. Quite honestly, I don’t know what his standing before God was. But I do know that, in terms of understanding the Gospel, he didn’t even come close to Jimmy Carter. Jimmy Carter WAS and IS a great Christian example and a great Christian leader. And, because James Robison doesn’t like Jimmy Carter’s politics, he refuses to acknowledge his Christian character which I see as quite remarkable. On the converse side, because he LIKES Ronald Reagan’s politics, he credits Ronald Reagan with great spirituality even though Ronald Reagan was divorced and Nancy, his second wife, was widely believed to have been dabbling in astrology and other not so biblical practices.

    Nuts on parade … and they are allegedly leaders in the Christian church?

    • Jimmy Carter WAS and IS a great Christian example and a great Christian leader. And, because James Robison doesn’t like Jimmy Carter’s politics, he refuses to acknowledge his Christian character which I see as quite remarkable. On the converse side, because he LIKES Ronald Reagan’s politics, he credits Ronald

      Reagan with great spirituality even though Ronald Reagan was divorced and Nancy, his second wife, was widely believed to have been dabbling in astrology and other not so biblical practices.

      George, thats it in a nutshell. One’s politics is now the plumbline used by these nuts in determining who “better understands biblical principles”. They seem to have forgotten that without the Holy Spirit (received ONLY through personal salvation) opening up the word to us, true biblical principles cannot in themselves be understood.

      God’s truths and/or principles are ‘discerned spiritually’.

      “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Cor. 2:14

      To attempt to do anything less is to see God’s word as a legal document understood by man’s intellect.

      Sadly these folks don’t get it…

  2. Don’t be so quik to drink the Carter Kool-Aid. The man is a heretic and possibly one of the most self righteous men on the planet. He recently published his own NIV study bible in which he makes it clear that he rejects the inerrency of scripture, has no problem with homosexuals, and thinks Paul was wrong about women in leadership positions.
    http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=37489

    • Steve, I would agree that the interview you cite raises legitimate questions as to Jimmy Carter’s faith and practices. However, I would still maintain that compared to Ronald Reagan, he is still far ahead spiritually. If you look at even the church fathers, you find that many of them held some pretty distasteful heretical positions and yet in other regards they championed the faith and are held in high regard by many Christians to this day, NOT because of their heretical beliefs on specific issues of faith, but in spite of them. I have NEVER met a Christian whose life was not tainted in some way by heresy. But that does not necessarily render them heretics. Heretics are rather those who CHAMPION heretical beliefs. If you don’t understand this, that everyone who does not belief EXACTLY the way you do becomes, in effect, a heretic.

  3. Sorry George but regneration is not based on a sliding scale. Carter is a heretic not because he disagrees with me but because he is not born again by the Spirit of God. How do I know this? Because Jesus said you will know them by their fruit and Carters fruit is rotten to the core. He embraces many paths to God and denies salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone. That is enough in my book to say he isn’t saved. He can build all the habitat houses he wants but his good works will not get him into the Kingdom of heaven

    • The problem of course, is in defining exactly what is “faith in Christ”. Certainly all of the Old Testament saints were saved by “faith in Christ”, yet their comprehension of that faith would be entirely different than ours. This is one reason why I am slow to buy into the very narrow radical reformation definitions of faith. Certainly ANYONE who is presented with the Gospel of Christ and OPENLY REJECTS it is NOT saved, but the whole question becomes more difficult and theoretical when it comes to those who have never had the Gospel clearly presented to them (and I am NOT including in this group all the many wilfully ignorant people that will insist the Gospel was not CLEARLY presented to them even though even the rocks will cry out that it was). It is a ground on which I fear to tread. In any case, I certainly have seen nothing that would indicate to me that Jimmy Carter espouses the idea that a person can REJECT Christ and be saved. So I am not sure where you are coming up with the “many paths to God” idea in relation to Jimmy Carter.

  4. For Christians in the US I think the larger question is should those who aspire to lead the nation be evaluated on the basis of their faith in Christ. Personally, I don’t think so and I can’t find any basis for such evaluation from the scri[pture. tHIS IS NOT TO SAY A PERSON’S MORAL CHARACTER OUGHT NOT TO BE CONSIDERED. Let’s face it the Christian right has fostered the immpression either explicitly or implicitly that the person should have faith in Christ (maybe a protestant). The eventual embrace of Romney a mormon by the Christian right will ultimately make non-sense of this idea you should be a christian to lead “this christian nation”. To those with the discerning mind the acceptance of Romney will simply show that they (Christian right) are in politics becuase of power, prestige, influence, money, etc. Afterrall if Pat Robertson say that Christians shouldn’t vote for democrats because of their support for abortion why should these set of Christians vote for a person whose religion/doctrine violently assault the Gospel of Christ. If we want to use the Christian yardstick to evaluate leaders let us be consistent across board.

    • The eventual embrace of Romney a mormon by the Christian right will ultimately make non-sense of this idea you should be a christian to lead “this christian nation”. To those with the discerning mind the acceptance of Romney will simply show that they (Christian right) are in politics because of power, prestige, influence, money, etc. After all if Pat Robertson say that Christians shouldn’t vote for democrats because of their support for abortion why should these set of Christians vote for a person whose religion/doctrine violently assault the Gospel of Christ. If we want to use the Christian yardstick to evaluate leaders let us be consistent across board.

      Well put and absolutely true! The hypocrisy of the Christian right (and their real motives) has been there for some time to see…if one looked closely, but between now and November it will be impossible to miss! One thing which has fascinated me (already) is how many outside the Church have taken note of the Christian right’s hypocrisy.

  5. From a Christian perspective, should we pick a president based on what a candidate says about his or her faith, or on the degree to which their actions and policies actually follow biblical principles? If a candidate’s faith does not absolutely disqualify him or her (no satanists need apply) then I believe the latter approach is the right one, And if that is the case, then the problem with Mitt Romney is not his religion, but his policies.

    President Obama is, in my opinion, clearly out of scriptural bounds on issues like abortion and homosexuality, which are so often used as litmus tests by Christian conservatives. But as important as those issues are, Scripture places far greater emphasis on caring for, advocating for, and defending the poor, for whom Mitt Romney is self-professedly “not concerned.” So, why should Christians base their evaluation of the candidates on issues that are lesser biblical priorities while ignoring those that God Himself says He cares about the most?

    Any objective analysis of Gov. Romney’s policy prescriptions – his support of the Ryan budget, for example – cannot fail to conclude that his aim is to substantially reduce (in fact, gut) programs that help poor people, while transferring most of those tax dollars to people who are already wealthy because, he believes, they are the “job producers.” In light of the clear emphasis, throughout both the OT and NT that care for the poor should be among the highest priorities of God’s people, the policies Mitt Romney proposes do not reflect the heart of God.

    In my opinion, if leaders of the “religious right” were really evaluating the candidates on how closely their policies adhere to the priorities of Scripture, Mitt Romney’s Mormonism wouldn’t be the issue – but his policies would be.

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