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My Take: Billy Graham and Ralph Reed are putting politics before God
November 1st, 2012
01:43 PM ET

My Take: Billy Graham and Ralph Reed are putting politics before God

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

(CNN)–Why are evangelicals like Billy Graham and Ralph Reed stumping for Mitt Romney? And why are roughly three-quarters of white evangelicals inclined to vote for him?

Because politics matters more to them than religion.

Last year, in a talk at a conference on Mormonism and Islam at Utah Valley University, I asked my Mormon listeners why they had not rushed to the defense of Muslims in controversies such as the one that raged over the Park51 project near ground zero. After all, they have been the victims of religious prejudice. Their founder, Joseph Smith, was killed by a mob of vigilantes.

Given this history, I expected that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, known as Mormons, would feel the sting of anti-Muslim prejudice and speak out against it. But neither Mitt Romney of the GOP nor Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of the Democratic Party did anything of the sort. In fact, Romney issued a statement opposing the construction of the Islamic center.

Why? Because they were thinking and acting as Republicans or Democrats first and Mormons second.

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I see a parallel story playing out this election season with the religious right.

Until quite recently, many evangelicals saw Mormonism as a dangerous cult spreading false theology and dooming its followers to hell. In fact, only after Romney showed up for a meet and greet with Billy Graham in North Carolina earlier this month did the website of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association erase a reference to Mormonism as a “cult."

Did Mormons all of a sudden change their theology? Did Graham change his definition of a “cult”? Of course not. It just became politically expedient for Graham to declassify Mormonism, given the fact that Romney, a Mormon, was the presidential nominee of his beloved GOP.

Ralph Reed, too, is forsaking his theology for his politics, mobilizing his Atlanta-based Faith and Freedom Coalition to place voter guides in Ohio churches in the run-up to election day.

I am old enough to remember when the main purpose of Reed’s Christian Coalition and other groups on the religious right was to put born-again Christians in the Congress, the White House, and the Supreme Court. And for decades those who were running those groups saw Mormons as non-Christians.

And don't get me started on Mike Huckabee, who in a recent ad says that a vote for Obama is a vote for your own damnation.

Have LDS Church members repudiated the Book of Mormon as “another testament of Jesus Christ” or their view that the Bible is the word of God only “as far as it is correctly translated”? Have they accepted the Trinity? Rejected their teaching that there are many gods?

As Ben Witherington, Albert Mohler, and many other evangelical thinkers continue to insist: no, no, and no.

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I used to believe that the purpose of the religious right was to infuse American politics with Christian politicians and Christian politics. I no longer believe that. The purpose of the religious right is to use the Christian God for political purposes. Why any Christian, conservative or liberal, can say "Amen" to that is beyond me.

I am perfectly happy to see Reed stump for Romney in Ohio and Graham plump for Romney in an ad in The Wall Street Journal. Just don’t tell me they are doing so as Christians. They are doing so as shills for the GOP.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Billy Graham • Christianity • Church and state • Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Politics • Uncategorized • United States

soundoff (2,430 Responses)
  1. Indignant

    Why is it that those on the left call those on the right racists, bigots, and intolerant? It seems this author is incapable of seeing himself that way. As far as I am concerned, neither candidate is a good pick or an exact match to my faith.

    November 5, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Audria

      I don't think there ever will be a president that agrees with everyones religious beliefs. I really just want someone who can do the job and what's best for the country

      November 5, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  2. donner

    The Romney campaign or family gave the Graham organization 2 million dollars. the Grahams then turned around and spent 1 million dollars on an ad buy. You do the math. Get it yet?

    November 5, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Sonya

      You claim others are lying for the Lord. Are you lying for the devil?

      November 6, 2012 at 9:24 am |
  3. mamaw

    I am ashamed of Billy Graham and Franklin Graham that they have taken a stand on the side of a cult member to be the leader of this country. I also could not believe the politic ads they put in the paper yesterday and that were paid for by the Billy Graham Association – people donate money to be used to spread the gospel not spread their political views.

    November 5, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • Pat

      The preacher at my church has always had a hand in politics. For 10 years he used to stand up and say:
      "We vote the candidate, not the party."
      "We vote the Christian ticket."

      8 months ago, he started staying:
      "We vote the party, not the candidate."
      "We stand for Christian values."

      Christian values? Since most religions have a sense of right and wrong, the only "Christian" value I can find is taking the position and belief that Jesus Christ died and rose again.

      He even said yesterday "We need to put the righteous back in office.", speaking of Romney. Righteous? The only way I can find in the Bible of a man being righteous if through Jesus Christ.

      I no longer respect the man. I love my church. It's fully of wonderful people who were there for me time and time again, but I look forward to the day when the preacher is replaced by someone else.

      November 5, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  4. mamaw

    The president can not change the Roe vs. Wade abortion ruling, only the supreme court can change it. The president has his personal convictions but he can not change the law. It is interesting to note that when Roe vs. Wade was decided on January 22, 1973 – out of the nine people on the US Supreme Court – 6 were appointed by a Republican president and 3 were appointed by a Democratic president. But each time the election comes up the republicans always say they are pro-life. Today, 5 of the 9 were appointed by a Republican president and nothing has changed on the abortion issue.
    Its about time candidates run on issues that they can actually change.
    Check out the US Supreme Court website at :

    http://www.supremecourt.gov/about/members_text.aspx

    November 5, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • midwest rail

      In the years since Roe v Wade, those most vocal opponents have done nothing substantive to overturn it, nor will they. The GOP loves having this as a wedge issue to whip up the base every election year.

      November 5, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • donner

      Great statement. I asked a state politician one day why we kept battling over abortion. Why not just settle it, I asked? Guy looked me right in the eye and said " It's just too good a club to put down. Frankly, I could care less about the issue."
      True story.

      November 5, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  5. donner

    Do a Google search on "20 Truths about Mormonism" You will not vote for Romney. No self respecting Christian ever could. Mormons are the false prophets God warns us about. Do some research. Then tell your friends.

    November 5, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Stu

      I am a born again Christian and I am voting for Romney. First he is the best candidate for the job, as Obama has no idea how to run a country – he is clueless. Second Obama's values are far from Christianity, wheras Romney's values are in line with Chirsitiany. For your information, 95% of Mormon doctrine is Biblical based. For years Obama followed and was a Muslim and continues to share their belif system. Yes it is the better of two evils, but another 4 years of Obama, and we will continue to lose more of our freedom, and place a bigger burden of debt on all Americans.

      The question is if you are a Christian why would you votre for Obama? He is for abortion, gay marriage, forcing Christian organiztions to pay for insurance for abortions, cancelled Nation Day of Prayer, but had a celedbration of Ramadan at the Whitehouse, threatens to take away charitable contributions as deductions, continues to increase income taxes for ALL citizens not just the wealthy. Force everyone to buy insurance at higher prices, expand government, dimish our liberties.

      I was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Satints, before accepting Christ as my saviou. All 16 of my Great-Great-Grandparents joined the Mormon church shortly after it was founded, and all make the trek across the plainds from Nauvoo to Salt Lake. The 5% of Mormonism that is not in the Bible is the belief that they can become God of their own world, and their Heavely Father was once a man and became God of the world based on his good works.

      November 5, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • donner

      And Stu steps up with an example of "Lying for the Lord" Google it.

      November 5, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Rummy Pirate Times-Dispatch

      "In Greed We Trust"

      In 1994, Bain invested $27 million as part of a deal with other firms to acquire Dade International, a medical-diagnostics-equipment firm, from its parent company, Baxter International. Bain ultimately made nearly 10 times its money, getting back $230 million. But Dade wound up laying off more than 1,600 people and filed for bankruptcy protection in 2002, amid crushing debt and rising interest rates. The company, with Bain in charge, had borrowed heavily to do acquisitions, accumulating $1.6 billion in debt by 2000. The company cut benefits for some workers at the acquired firms and laid off others. When it merged with Behring Diagnostics, a German company, Dade shut down three U.S. plants. At the same time, Dade paid out $421 million to Bain Capital’s investors and investing partners.

      For 15 years, Romney had been in the business of creative destruction and wealth creation. But what about his claims of job creation? Though Bain Capital surely helped expand some companies that had created jobs, the layoffs and closures at other firms would lead Romney’s political opponents to say that he had amassed a fortune in part by putting people out of work. The lucrative deals that made Romney wealthy could exact a cost. Maximizing financial return to investors could mean slashing jobs, closing plants, and moving production overseas. It could also mean clashing with union workers, serving on the board of a company that ran afoul of federal laws, and loading up already struggling companies with debt.

      Marc Wolpow, a former Bain partner who worked with Romney on many deals, said the discussion at buyout companies typically does not focus on whether jobs will be created. “It’s the opposite—what jobs we can cut,” Wolpow said. “Because you had to document how you were going to create value. Eliminating redundancy, or the elimination of people, is a very valid way."

      A couple of examples (it's pretty easy to find more):

      Bain closed GST Steel plant in 2001 laying off 750 workers.

      Controlling share owner Bain Capital closes BRP plant (Southern Illinois) so the 340 jobs there could be outsourced to Mexico.

      Also, this is disconcerting:

      http://www.examiner.com/article/mitt-romney-implicated-perjury-and-stock-fraud-made-millions-process

      http://globalgrind.com/news/mitt-romney-lied-perjury-under-oath-divorce-court-case-tom-stemberg-details

      BAIN'S INVESTOR "SUCCESSES" WERE PRIMARILY CONTINGENT ON MASS LAY-OFFS OF WORKERS

      November 5, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • Pat

      +1.

      November 5, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • truth be told

      A vote for Romney is a vote for an anti – Christ, there is no middle ground there. A Mormon cannot represent Christian values, Mormonism is in opposition to the Bible.

      November 5, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Patricia

      We are electing a president not a pastor, as my Pastor likes to say. No way can you vote for a party that includes major sin as part of their platform. God never told us we have to elect Christian leaders only. Very few would ever be elected. I am disappointed in Graham, I guess. His easy believism has given false hope to many so I really don't care much what he has to say. Mormonism is a cult and Catholicism is heresy. Islam is heretical as is Buddihism and all those other isms. But I do know Mormons and their religion scares them into decent behavior as the church use to do for all folks until they stopped talking about sinners in the hands of an angry God (God says He is angry with sinners every day. So listen up! He is also merciful, otherwise we would all be consumed. He doesn't wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. It's just that most refuse).

      November 5, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • FRANK

      you're a fool....you go in the wide gate my friend..you know not what you say...you're a fool...tell us more about the doctrine

      November 5, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Dwight Rogers

      donner, see my reply on page 41. You got some things wrong.

      November 5, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  6. Pat

    I'm an evangelical Christian in Atlanta, GA. I'm also a registered Republican. I agree with this blog article. I've watched my pastor and the majority of my congregation openly back a mormon from both the pulpit and the pew. What hurts is not their actions in this election, for that is but a symptom. What hurts is the realization that the gospel has left America and moved on to China and Korea. Religion in this country is, for the vast majority, nothing but a shell.

    I consider every "christian" voting for Mitt to be a sellout. A coward. A traitor. You deny the faith and demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of sin nature and the solution. I hear spoutings of abortion, gays, and all manner of 'immoral' behavior that you're fighting against. Bah. The most evil and wicked thing a person can do is mislead them from the gospel and help them to hell. Mitt Romney is the most evil candidate ever to run for office.

    Christians voting for Mitt don't care about God. They're voting to protect their comfortable way of life. I'm ashamed of my church, of my friends, and of my family.

    For the record, I'm also not voting for Obama.
    Pippin: And whose side are you on?
    Treebeard: Side? I am on nobody's side, because nobody is on my side, little orc.

    November 5, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • Patricia

      Sorry you feel the need to quote a Catholic–JRR Tolkien. Is that where your foundation is?

      November 5, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Dwight Rogers

      Pat, see my comments on page 41.

      November 5, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  7. Lefty

    Sorry Steven, but opposing abortion and gay marriage is not about "politics" for bible believing Christians. It's about scriptural values. People are missing the big picture on this issue- How far from living out his Christian faith must Obama be for evangelicals to vote for a MORMON?

    November 5, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • midwest rail

      You can't possibly believe that the GOP has any interest in overturning Roe v Wade, can you ?

      November 5, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • derp

      That's interesting. I've read the bible a few times and I don't ever remember it addressing abortion or gay marriage.

      November 5, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • Calypso

      Based on that comment, derp, you have clearly not read the Bible once.

      November 6, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And based on yours, Callie, you choose to interpret the Bible as you see fit to justify your own prejudices.

      November 6, 2012 at 9:38 am |
  8. Yo Mama

    Mr. Prothero, you are just another sadly misinformed buffoon posing as a subject matter expert.

    November 5, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  9. Rummy Pirate Times-Dispatch

    "IN GREED WEW TRUST"

    Marc Wolpow, a former Bain partner who worked with Romney on many deals, said the discussion at buyout companies typically does not focus on whether jobs will be created. “It’s the opposite—what jobs we can cut,” Wolpow said. “Because you had to document how you were going to create value. Eliminating redundancy, or the elimination of people, is a very valid way."

    November 5, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • Rummy Pirate Times-Dispatch

      ("IN GREED WE TRUST")

      November 5, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • Dwight Rogers

      Right, because that's the way you save a company that will otherwise go out of business and then everybody looses their jobs.

      November 5, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  10. GiantinLA

    We Christians are to be the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, its good for nothing; Compromise will contaminate the salt, just like bacteria. We will all have to give an account to God someday. How did we allowed the enemy to put us in this predicament? We deserve what we will get from either one of these candidates who have a different Jesus.

    November 5, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Pat

      "How did we allowed the enemy to put us in this predicament?"

      Well said. That is the real question, for which I have to give an account for one day. Sadly, my answer won't be well received. I will give it with great shame.

      November 5, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • itsallaloadofbollocks

      Giant. Do you mean different from each other or different from your view of Jesus. Either way you'll be severely disappointed – there is no god and no accounting at death. All that dogma wasted – you could have had friends in this life.
      itsall aloadof bollocks, Ph.D. Heresy

      November 5, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  11. donner

    Do a Google search on "20 Truths about Mormonism" You will not vote for Romney.

    November 5, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • Dwight Rogers

      Yes, go ahead. And then check out http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/ and Mormon.org to find out what Mormons really believe. You wouldn't go to Hitler to find out the truth about the Jews or to the KKK to learn about racial equality – right?

      November 5, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  12. nbpatsfan

    I love how the left jumps on the christian right – "they put politics ahead of religion" – but the entire country COMPLETELY IGNORES the fact that the almost the entire african american voting block votes skin color over politics. They ignore the fact that the unemployment rate among their community is DOUBLE the national average; they ignore the fact that Obama utterly ignores them (unless its time to go a-votin); they ignore the fact that they are getting CRUSHED by his policies. He's black. That's all that matters to them. If I, as a white male, say I am NOT voting for Obama for no other reason than because he is black, I am a racist. If a black male says he IS voting for Obama for no other reason than because hee is black, noone says a word. How are those two positions different?

    November 5, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • derp

      Romney will get 67% of the white vote, Obama will get 80% of the black vote. Romney actually will get a greater percentage of his ethnicities vote, when factored for political ideology, than will Obama.

      Nationally blacks are overwhelmingly Democrats. Clinton pulled similar numbers to Obama's with regards to minority voters. So it would make sense that Obama would garner almost universal support from blacks. They are black, and Democrats.

      Whites, however are more politically diverse. There are fewer than 67% of white voters that identify as conservatives. I am the perfect example of that. So Romney is actually pulling white votes that might otherwise normally lean left.

      At the end of the day I think it is a wash. There are just as many, if not more people who will vote for Romney because he is white as there are who will vote for Obama because he is black.

      November 5, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • donner

      Good morning, stupid. Until 1978, blacks were not considered humans by the Mormon church. In fact, the Book of Mormon refers to blacks as the devil's spawn. Literally. Anything else I can help you with?

      November 5, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Yo Mama

      @donner

      Apparently you either don't know what "literally" means or you are using it ironically.

      November 5, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • MCR

      Jimmy Carter received 85-90% of the black vote. There are a lot more things going on here than race on both sides. Certainly, if you're an underrepresented minority you want to see someone from your group in power, but no one thinks only about about race or only about religion. We need to stop oversimplifying our opponents possitions; it's just childish and in the internet age most have more information than to fall for this kind of thing.

      November 5, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • MCR

      If Carter recieved roughly the same percent of the black vote as Obama, you have to consider that the Democratic policies may be the important variable. I'm not ruling out race, for many people that is important too, but it is unlikely to be a central factor.

      November 5, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Dwight Rogers

      donner,

      There is no reference ANYWHERE in the Book of Mormon that says that blacks are the devils spawn. You are making this up or you are ignorantly repeating falsehoods. Either way, you are not a credible source of information. You are making yourself look really bad and so I am just trying to help you out. Anyone can check out the Book of Mormon for themselves and it's easy to do an electronic search of the Book (you can do so at this site : http://www.lds.org/?lang=eng. Click on scriptures and then The Book of Mormon and do a search where the magnifying glass is). The Book of Mormon never says any such thing.

      There’s also no teaching in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) of Blacks not being considered human.

      November 5, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Dwight Rogers

      Scripture of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints states: “ it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.” (Doctrine and Covenants 101:79, December 16, 1833)

      Note what the Book of Mormon teaches:

      2 Nephi 26:33
      33 For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.

      November 5, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Dwight Rogers

      In 1844, Joseph Smith ran for president with a plan to free all slaves by 1850. He was murdered 4 months into his campaign.

      November 5, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Dwight Rogers

      Joseph Smith, once gave his valuable horse to a black man, so the man could buy his son out of slavery. The Church sent tons of food and clothing to the earthquake victims in Haiti, a predominantly black country. They have missionaries all over the world teaching people of all races and colors. This doesn't sound racist to me.

      November 5, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Dwight
      "The Juvenile Instructor" is an LDS tome used to indoctrinate children.
      Here is an excerpt from an early edition:
      "We will first inquire into the results of the approbation or displeasure of God upon a people, starting with the belief that a black skin is a mark of the curse of Heaven placed upon some portions of mankind. Some, however, will argue that a black skin is not a curse, nor a white skin a blessing. In fact, some have been so foolish as to believe and say that a black skin is a blessing, and that the ne.gro is the finest type of a perfect man that exists on the earth; but to us such teachings are foolishness.
      We understand that when God made man in his own image and pronounced him very good, that he made him white. We have no record of any of God's favored servants being of a black race...every angel who ever brought a message of God's mercy to man was beautiful to look upon, clad in the purest white and with a countenance bright as the noonday sun. (Juvenile Instructor, Vol. 3, page 157)

      And there's this nugget from the Prophet Brigham Young:
      “The first man that committed the odious crime of killing one of his brethren will be cursed the longest of any one of the children of Adam. Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would have put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin. Trace mankind down to after the flood, and then another curse is pronounced upon the same race – that they should be the “servant of servants;” and they will be, until that curse is removed; and the Abolitionists cannot help it, nor in the least alter that decree. “- JoD 7:290-291

      This is what he had to say about interracial marriage:
      “..Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.” – JoD: vol.10 p. 110

      In 1947, Dr. Lowry Nelson – a Mormon himself – sent a letter to the Mormon First Presidency questioning the official racist doctrines.
      The reply he received said, in part:
      "From the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith even until now, it is has been the doctrine of the Church, never questioned by any of the Church leaders, that the Neg.roes are not ent.itled to the full blessings of the Gospel.
      "Furthermore your ideas, as we understand them, appear to contemplate the intermarriage of the Neg.ro and White races, a concept which has heretofore been most repugnant to most normal-minded people from the ancient partiarchs till now. God's rule for Israel, His Chosen People, has been endogamous."
      – George Albert Smith J. Reuben Clark, Jr. David O. McKay

      November 6, 2012 at 9:34 am |
  13. Eric

    I strongly disagree with this author! You don't reelect the DEVIL simply because the other candidate isn't a SAINT! Whether our religious beliefs are in Christianity, atheism, or other some other religion, as Americans we are obligated to defend our country against foreign and domestic threats and preserve our freedoms.

    Never before has America been so much at risk from a domestic threat as it is now with Obama as President. Obama and the democrat party are stripping away our rights and building a bigger government to rule the people. They have pushed their agenda through by hiding all they can from their opposition in Congress and the American people. They don't want us thinking for ourselves. They simply want us to do what we are told and work for them.

    By his own admission, Obama is holding back parts of his agenda until he is reelected. WAKE UP AMERICANS! If you think the last four year were bad, you haven't seen anything yet! WE MUST get Obama out of office and take control of the senate away from the democrats! This is OUR TIME! Time for the American people to make their voices heard!
    VOTE ROMNEY/RYAN 2012.

    November 5, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • derp

      "Obama and the democrat party are stripping away our rights and building a bigger government to rule the people"

      Exactly what rights have been stripped?

      Access to safe and legal abortion?

      Oh, wait, the other guys wants to strip those rights.

      November 5, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Termyt

      Since when is a medical procedure a right? You want free meds but don't care about our real rights – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

      How do we pursue happiness with no economy? 23 million Americans can't find work in their chosen fields.
      How do we have liberty when we owe our service to $16 Trillion in debt and growing?
      How do we keep life if our president can imprison and kill American citizens without a trial?

      Are you really willing to trade life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for the "right" to a medical procedure?

      November 5, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • derp

      "Are you really willing to trade life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for the "right" to a medical procedure?"

      My right to chose how my doctor and I will treat my body is the absolute personification of my personal liberty. You wish to strip it from me.

      If you don't like abortion, don't have one. I will respect your personal liberty and not force abortion on you, as long as you respect my personal liberty and don't force your position on me.

      That way we both get to CHOSE, without the government stripping us of our choices, or as some would say, our liberty.

      November 5, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • Patricia

      @derp Having an abortion is murder. A mother murdering her child makes her very different. Scripture tells us of 2 women claiming the same infant before Solomon. He tells them to cut the infant in half and give each woman a half. The real mother says no–to give the baby to the other woman. Solomon says, there is the real mother. The one who would protect her child from being torn in two. What kind of person allows their child to be ripped apart? Is that person going to do good for their family, their community, their world? Take a look at what has happened to our country since Roe v Wade. It's not pretty.

      November 5, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Calypso

      Exactly, Eric! If we re-elect Obama we'll be choosing our destruction. The evidence is all around us.

      November 6, 2012 at 9:37 am |
  14. Snowshoes

    Two critical reasons I will not vote for Obama: Pro-Abortion and Anti Defense of Marriage Act. Honor God (and there is only ONE) and He will take care of repairing our economy.

    November 5, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • derp

      You just pointed out the two reason this white middle aged 1% er voted for Obama on Saturday.

      Exactly where was your economic god intervention while our born again rain man in chief GWB was destroying our economy?

      November 5, 2012 at 9:49 am |
  15. josh

    I'd be interested to hear the constructive part of this argument. That is, if Evangelicals can't vote for a Mormon, who should they vote for? The implication, of course, is that they should vote for Obama. But, isn't it true that Obama doesn't behave in all instances like an Evangelical? This is not a critique of Obama's religious views. (Or support for Romney's for that matter.) It's just a question: What should a voter do when a candidate doesn't measure up exactly to her/his religious beliefs (or beliefs in other areas)? The only other option is not to vote, right?

    Also, @Sheila (and others I may not have seen): I agree that it is strange that the BGEA removed the label "cult," although I can't verify that independently, but does a vote for Romney equal "the acceptance of Mormonism"? I hardly think so. Was a vote for Kennedy an "acceptance of Roman Catholicism"? Probably not. Not to mention that a vote for Obama is not a vote for his brand of Evangelicalism, which some might say is not Evangelicalism.

    November 5, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • Sheila

      The article poses a very valid point for discussion. The timing of the change in status for the LDS according to the BGEA should be questioned. This is a major shift in theology/doctrine for the evangelical Christian church. Prior to this election cycle (actually less than two months ago), the BGEA considered Mormonism heretical, a false religion leading followers astray of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. The differences in beliefs between evangelical Christians and LDS are of eternal significance. The point of the discussion is why the change? What is the motive? This isn’t about a vote defining the acceptance of another person’s religious beliefs. The discussion concerns a critical shift in Christianity.

      November 5, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Dwight Rogers

      Sheila, See my comments on page 41.

      November 5, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • josh

      @ Sheila: Yes, I agree that it is strange that the BGEA changed their statement, and I wonder if that was the best idea. I'm inclined to think it was not a good idea, if for no other reason than that, as I'm trying to say, a vote for Romney is not a vote for Mormonism. It is a vote for a different political ideology.

      I also think it is a tad too much (what's the opposite of hyperbole? That's what I mean here!) to say that because the BGEA has endorsed Romney (and removed the "cult" label from their website with reference to Mormonism) that there "is a major shift in theology/doctrine for the evangelical Christian church." That's giving Billy Graham far too much clout! Evangelicalism is far too diverse than that now and an endorsement/removing the label on one website does not equal theological change. It equals political expediency. Maybe that's not much better!

      At any rate, it is a fair, as you say, to ask "why the change?" Pretty clear to me that most Evangelicals view Romney (gasp! a Mormon) is preferable to Obama. If BGEA keeps the label "cult" the unthinking will not vote for Romney. Pretty shallow, but it is what it is.

      November 5, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
  16. faye62

    The Mormon's church founder had 55 wives after he was converted to Mormonism....How Billy Graham or any other Christian can support such an occult is beyond me.

    November 5, 2012 at 8:28 am |
  17. Geo4Him

    Obama supports murder of the unborn for any reason at anytime prior to birth! Romney does not! By not voting to save lives, you become complicit in the murder of the unborn. Romney's religion really has little to do with it. To know what is right and good and not do it is sinnful. It is right and good to save the unborn!

    November 5, 2012 at 7:38 am |
    • Nii

      ALL THESE YEARS THE GOP STILL LIES THAT IT WANTS TO STOP ABORTION. IF IT IS A MORAL ISSUE THEN THE CHURCHES AND RELIGIOUS FOLK SHOULD BE ABLE TO STOP IT. POLITICS IS THE LAST PLACE FOR MORAL POSTULATING.

      November 5, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • RobK

      Exactly. Not to mention Obama's support for legalizing drugs and h0m0se3uality and his lack of support for freedom of religion.

      November 5, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • derp

      "Not to mention Obama's support for legalizing drugs and h0m0se3uality"

      Obama does not support legalization of drugs, and "h0m0se3uality" has been legal since long before Obama took office.

      Are you a professional idiot, or just a natural.

      November 5, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Patricia

      @Nii Somebodies morality is going to be legislated. I go with the life for all–from conception to the grave. Anything else raises selfishness to an art form.

      November 5, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • midwest rail

      If you believe the GOP is interested in abortion as anything other than a useful tool, then you are sadly mistaken.

      November 5, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  18. Reality

    Only for the new members of this blog:->>

    Again "Professor" P misses the real evangelical/Christian right issue but that is not unusual as his only concern is that we love all the gods.

    Now to the issue at hand and why Obama (and Axelrod) are running pro-choice/pro-abortion/pro-Roe vs Wade ads non- stop this week:

    Why the Christian Right/evangelicals no longer matter in presidential elections:

    Once again, all the conservative votes in the country "ain't" going to help a "pro-life" presidential candidate, i.e Mitt Romney, in 2012 as the "Immoral Majority" rules the country and will be doing so for awhile. The "Immoral Majority" you ask?

    The fastest growing USA voting bloc: In 2008, the 70+ million "Roe vs. Wade mothers and fathers" of aborted womb-babies" whose ranks grow by two million per year i.e. 78+ million "IM" voters in 2012.

    2008 Presidential popular vote results:

    69,456,897 for pro-abortion/choice BO, 59,934,814 for "pro-life" JM.

    And the irony:

    And all because many women fail to take the Pill once a day or men fail to use a condom even though in most cases these men have them in their pockets. (maybe they should be called the "Stupid Majority"?)

    The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions ( one million/yr) and S-TDs (19 million/yr) in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or condoms properly and/or use other safer birth control methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.

    i.e. IF THE PILL AND MALE CONDOMS WERE USED PROPERLY, ABORTION WOULD NOT BE AN ISSUE AND OBAMA WOULD NOT BE PRESIDENT.

    From the Guttmacher Insti-tute- August 2011

    "In 2008, 1.21 million abortions were performed, down from 1.31 million in 2000. However, between 2005 and 2008, the long-term decline in abortions stalled. From 1973 through 2008, nearly 50 million legal abortions occurred.[2]"

    i.e. making the number of Immoral Majority members more like 100 million in 2012.

    More from Guttmacher:

    "• Fifty-four percent of women who have abortions had used a contraceptive method (usually the condom or the pill) during the month they became pregnant. Among those women, 76% of pill users and 49% of condom users report having used their method inconsistently, while 13% of pill users and 14% of condom users report correct use.["

    And if half of these aborting "mothers and fathers" have had two abortions, the Immoral Majority would still be a huge voting bloc i.e. ~75 million, enough votes to give any presidential candidate the differential votes needed considering many voters vote straight Democratic or Republican tickets no matter what the issues are.
    ==============================================

    November 5, 2012 at 7:36 am |
  19. chetisyourbet

    no matter if Christian or not this one truth stands firm

    This matter [is] by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men. Daniel 4:17

    November 5, 2012 at 7:33 am |
  20. J.S. Morales

    Well, it's a good thing I'm electing a President and not a pastor then! Mitt Romney could never make it as pastor of my A/G church but he will make a much better President then Obama. Certainly a President who is more in line with traditional Christian beliefs then Obama is with his big-spending, pro-abortion, anti-religious freedom ways. This article is foolish and wrong.

    November 5, 2012 at 7:30 am |
    • Sheila

      The BGEA has officially changed their position on an organized religion they once considered heretical. The LDS have not changed. Without repeating the tired “president not pastor” argument, can one Romney-supporting Christian, thinking outside of the election, explain why this action should not cause concern for the faithful? No matter the political season, the acceptance of Mormonism by a bastion of traditional Christian doctrine should be questioned.

      November 5, 2012 at 7:43 am |
    • Nii

      Religious folk are same everytime. A man like Obama who is an Evangelical Christian is hated in favour of a Mormon. Then they complain that the spiritual but not religious have copped out. Which is more of a cop out. To sell your soul for mere political rhetoric or to vote for actual issues. Abortion is going to be a GOP handle for a long time.

      November 5, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • Romnesia

      Actually Obama is not pro-abortion, he is pro-choice. Big difference. Consider your anti-abortion rhetoric and ask what does the NRLC do for all the other causes of human death – starvation, contaminated water, drugs, guns, traffic accidents, treatable disease, etc. NOTHING. So why is an unborn life so important. I'd say it's because religions need more sheep and they're more likely to get them from the existing flock. I mean those religions have expensive tastes – someone's got to pay for it.

      November 5, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.