GOP Race: Is Mitt Romney A Christian? Perry Supporter Calls Mormonism A Cult
A Dallas megachurch pastor and Rick Perry supporter stated that Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney is not a Christian, igniting a media storm and reigniting the debate over the candidate’s faith and its place in the election.
Romney is a Mormon, with deep family roots in the church. Mormonism was founded in the 1820s in New York State, when Joseph Smith claimed to have discovered a new biblical text, The Book of Mormon.
Robert Jeffress was introducing Gov. Perry at the Values Voter Summit last week when he asked the audience, “Do we want a candidate who is a good, moral person—or one who is a born-again follower of the lord Jesus Christ?”
(I want to ask Pastor Jeffress: Are the two mutually exclusive?)
In case it wasn’t clear whom Jeffress was talking about, he clarified later in an interview with Politico:
“That is a mainstream view, that Mormonism is a cult,” Jeffress told reporters here. “Every true, born-again follower of Christ ought to embrace a Christian over a non-Christian.”
Asked by POLITICO if he believed Romney is a Christian, Jeffress answered: “No.”
Jeffress’ beliefs are no secret; he similarly called Romney a cult member during Romney’s first presidential run.
Taking the lectern at the summit, Perry thanked the pastor for his introduction, saying he had “knocked it out of the park.”
The fallout from the comments left Perry’s campaign scrambling. At first, a spokesman confirmed that Perry believes Mormonism is a cult; the spokesman later reversed that statement.
Romney did not respond directly to Jeffress, but denounced “poisonous language” when he spoke later in the weekend at the Values Voter Summit.
Jon Huntsman, who is also a Mormon (and yes, is also still running for president), called Jeffress “a moron,” and encouraged Perry to break with the pastor.