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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 • Evangelical • Mitt Romney • Mormonism • My Take • Politics • Uncategorized • United States

soundoff (2,430 Responses)
  1. 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? 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, moving production overseas 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."

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

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

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

    November 5, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  2. John

    How dare Christians put their politics ahead of their religion when making the POLITICAL decision of who to vote for!?!?!?

    November 5, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • BigZman

      FUnny, but you think it was OK for people to support onumbnuts when he is a satan worshipping moooooslime. And don't keep the lies about his "church" in Chicago being Christian. Once again YOU THE PRESS covered it up. That was a BLT "church" founded by Moses Cone. ANYONE can google this and see it is a hateful, satanic, racist, marxist system. So, if my only choice is to vote for a mooooslime who hides behind a racist marxist "church" and a Mormon, I'll take the Mormon every time. Not to mention when you compare records. Time to say goodbye to the leftist messiah.

      November 5, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
  3. Mike

    I find it sad that you are critical of these men for NOT being prejudiced on basis of faith. It is articles like this that cause people to become deeper entrenched in bigotry towards one another just because of tradition or because of their past views. People like Billy Graham should be applauded for removing the comment about Mormonism being a cult on his website but instead you try to call him out and criticize him for doing so. Whether or not you agree with Mitt Romney as a politician or even like him as a person you must admit that his presence in the political arena has caused people to take a more serious look at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and in turn throw out some of misunderstandings and untruths that have caused them to be intolerant of the "Mormons." Why can't we just be happy that people are progressing from ideas that could be considered bigoted to taking a closer look and accepting a group of people that are striving to be good Christians and live their faith?

    November 5, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • Sheila

      @ Mike

      You seek a new world order of peace for all the nations; that is good and noble. The differences between the LDS and what Billy Graham used to preach had eternal consequences. The LDS were considered heretical for their additional texts; their view on God the Father, Son, and Spirit; Christ's visit to the ancient Americans after his resurrection as translated by their prophet Joseph Smith; and so on. With heaven at stake and traditional doctrine in mind, the distinctions are significant.

      Progressing in thought to "all paths lead to heaven" is counter to what Jesus presented in Holy Scripture. You seem to be pointing to the development of new Christian doctrine, which we may be witnessing.

      November 6, 2012 at 7:45 am |
  4. Rich

    I find it instructive that no evangelicals went to Graham to ask if it was OK to vote for a black man in 2008.

    November 5, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  5. donner

    And I see the Mormon plan to flood the internet and shut out opposing views is in full swing. The Mormon church is a cult and an affront to real Christians. Do a Google search on "20 Truths about Mormonism" It is sickening and it is true.
    Read about it and then tell your friends. America must never elect a diaper wearing cult member.

    November 5, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Sonya

      Instead America should re-elect a post-American, globalist, Marxist with deep sympathies for Islamic/Sharia law. And, one who is running up the national debt by $1Trillion per year. It's crazy what some people believe...

      November 6, 2012 at 7:54 am |
  6. Dwight Rogers

    Belief in Jesus Christ and dependence His grace is the central belief of Mormons. It is the critics of Mormonism who say that Mormons believe they are going to earn their way to heaven by their works. Mormon’s don’t teach that and it is a straw man argument invented by anti-Mormons. Mormons don’t teach that we can earn our way to heaven without the grace of Christ. You see, the critics are so determined to make Mormonism look non-Biblical that they have to invent straw-man Mormon doctrines.

    Note what Mormons believe taken from their own sources:

    Alma 22:14 (from the Book of Mormon)
    14 And since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself; but the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins, through faith and repentance, and so forth; and that he breaketh the bands of death, that the grave shall have no victory, and that the sting of death should be swallowed up in the hopes of glory; and Aaron did expound all these things unto the king.

    2 Nephi 25:23 (from the Book of Mormon)
    23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

    2 Nephi 24:26 (from the Book of Mormon)
    "We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins." (2 Nephi 25:26)

    2 Nephi 10:24-25 (From the Book of Mormon):

    24 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.
    25 Wherefore, may God raise you from death by the power of the resurrection, and also from everlasting death by the power of the atonement, that ye may be received into the eternal kingdom of God, that ye may praise him through grace divine. Amen.

    November 5, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  7. Dwight Rogers

    In many areas of belief (probably the majority of areas) Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) believe the same as most other Christians. It is true that in some limited areas – some very critical ones – the beliefs of Mormons differ from other Christians. Likewise there are some major areas of difference between Catholics and Protestants and likewise between one Protestant group and the next. Every denomination could make the claim that the other groups are not Christian because those other beliefs differ from their own.

    Joseph Smith taught “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it”. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 121).

    The central belief of Mormons is that Christ came into the world as the Son of God. He healed the sick, caused the lame to walk, the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and restored life to the dead. He commissioned twelve Apostles to whom he gave authority. He suffered in Gethsemane, died on the cross, and was resurrected and will come again. He, and only He, provides the means for us to be washed clean in his blood from our sins, which sins we can never correct on our own or through our own works. If that is not Christian I don’t know what is. Christ never taught the need to believe in anything like the creeds. Those came later. Does that mean that the early Christians are not really Christians because they did not believe in a “one substance” god. I don’t think so.

    Mormon belief is very much like the teachings of the earlier Christians – before the creeds – and also matches the teachings of Christ and the Apostles. The further back in time you go the more Mormon-like Christian doctrine becomes. Mormons are often portrayed as non-Christian when we don’t believe in the later extra-Biblical creedal formulations.

    The early Christians did not have the extra-Biblical creeds of later centuries. Were they then not Christian? The ontological debates and the wording formations of later centuries are not found in the words of Jesus or the words of the Apostles or in the words of the pre-creedal Christians . There is not a word about a one substance god in the Bible or in the early beliefs. If believing in the creeds is necessary to be Christian then that makes the earlier Christians not Christian – it even makes Christ not Christian.

    November 5, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  8. Seth

    I don't disagree with the perspective Prothero holds when he says, "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." But my question is, are the two positions really all that different? I think not, I think they are intimately connected. One cannot enter the world of U.S. politics with the intention of injecting born again Christians without first believing that the U.S. as a country is priority over the kingdom of God. This is foundationally counter to Jesus' own understanding of God's kingdom versus man made political systems. Unless a believer enters the public world with the foremost understanding that Christianity is its own politic, their faith and goals will be completely flawed.

    November 5, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  9. Dwight Rogers

    It is claimed that Mormons are wrong because they believe in extra-Biblical revelation and scripture. Yet much of Christianity believes in extra-Biblical creeds and councils formulated centuries after the time of Christ and the Apostles. Most of the wording formulations in these creeds cannot be found in the Bible. This is often the excuse used to exclude members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) from being Christian. It is well known to historians that Christian doctrine changed over time and across different Christian groups.

    The Bible is then viewed through the lens of these creeds causing certain interpretations to be favored and other biblical teachings to be minimized or ignored. Interestingly, if you look at the doctrines of the early church fathers before the creeds, they are very Mormon-like. In a number of doctrinal areas the early Christians were good Mormons and would be rejected as non-Christian by many Christians of today.

    November 5, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  10. Dwight Rogers

    Reverand Jeffress said. "And I still maintain there are vast differences in theology between Mormons and Christians."

    This seems to be a common view among many Christians and actually they are right to say that there are some major differences, although there are more similarities than differences. However, there are also vast differences between current Christianity and Early Christianity.

    If Christianity means “historic orthodox mainstream Christianity” of today then I would agree that Mormonism is not historic Christianity; at least not in every doctrine. Although Mormons have much in common with other Christians Mormons also believe differently than historic Christians in some key areas. But the real questions to ask are 1) What is original Christianity? 2) Is mainstream Christianity of today the same as original Christianity? It turns out that Joseph Smith was right. Mormonism is a restoration of Original Christianity. It is not my intent to criticize Christians of today. However, with all the criticism of Mormonism it is important to notice that in many areas of belief Mormons are closer to original Christianity than are most Christians of today.

    Mormons believe in God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost. Our first Article of Faith states: We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in His son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. However “Trinity’ is a word that is not found in the Bible. Nor are the definitions and wording formulations in the extra-Biblical creeds found in the Bible. In 325 AD a council of about 300 (out of 1800 serving) bishops gathered in Nicea at the request of the pagan Emperor Constantine and formulated a creed that tried to reconcile the Biblical statements that there three persons called “God” and yet there was “one” God. They then forced all Christians to accept their solution as “gospel”, with varying results. Theological debates and other councils continued to tweak the concept for centuries which produced additional creeds.

    Mormons are not supposed to be Christian because we have some doctrinal differences with other Christian groups of today. The foundation for the beliefs of these other groups is the creeds of the 4th. 5th, and 6th centuries and so on.

    For example; in the Westminster Confession of Faith, which is a non-Biblical creed, we read that "there is but one God, a most holy spirit, without body, parts or passions," thus denying the resurrected Christ, for if Christ is not risen and we do not believe him when he tells us that he has an immortal body, we can then have no hope of a resurrection (Phil 3:21.)

    Contrary to the creeds, the resurrected Jesus taught: "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." (Luke 24:39)

    From this passage we know that Jesus had his physical body after the resurrection. We also know that when Christ comes again, he will still have his physical body. (Zech. 14:4; 12:10; 13:6; John 20:24-28, Acts 1:9-11; Rev 1:7; 1 Cor. 15:3-8, 12-20, 35-42; D&C 93:33).

    November 5, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  11. Anita Janesville

    Per the author's comment about Graham's "beloved GOP," he should take note that Graham is actually a registered Democrat. It's beneficial to check facts prior to making a sweeping generalization.

    November 5, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  12. Scott Allen

    Professor Prothero, I'm afraid you're the one putting politics over God in this case. If President Obama can deny the deity of Jesus, deny the literalness of Scripture, and claim that good works alone will get one whatever reward there is to be gotten (Heaven or not, meh)– and then call himself a Christian? if the President can talk about dividing Jerusalem and giving part to a Palestinian state? if the President can flog for four years for Planned Parenthood and abortion-on-demand and subsidized-by-taxpayer-dollars...? Since the President does all of these things,then Mitt Romney can absolutely call himself a Christian, and Christians of good conscience can vote for Romney, "cult" or not. Read this interview: http://blog.beliefnet.com/stevenwaldman/2008/11/obamas-interview-with-cathleen.html

    November 5, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  13. Michael Gene Fleming

    Mr. Prothero,
    First let me state that I do not beleive Mormonism to be compatible with the teachings of the Bible and would classify it as heretical. I am not sure if calling it a cult as many evangelicals/fundamentalists do is helpful or not to reaching Mormons, but I would certainly disagree with dropping the term if it is use just for political purposes as Graham's website has apparantly done. I belive strongly in a strict interpretation of the Bible as the authoritative revealed word of God and in Jesus as the only way for man to be reconciled to God. I would classify myself as fundamentalist in my faith.
    Those things being said, never in my adult life have I believed that faith should be an absolute litmus test for public office. I certainly prefer voting for Christians when I have the opportunity, but ultimately I am voting for Commander in Chief, not Theologian in Chief (to quote a professor of mine). What I look for in a candidate in public office is someone whose entire worldview in general and their governmental philosophy in specific best matches the one put forth by the Bible. As I can see in the comments above people can talk forever about which candidate that is so I will not belabor that discussion here. Instead I will state that I believe that Mitt Romney is the better match to a Biblical philosophy of government and that is why I can vote for him for public office and be in harmony with the tenants of my faith.
    Michael Gene Fleming

    November 5, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Audria

      Well said

      November 5, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Dwight Rogers

      Michael, see my comments made shortly after yours.

      November 5, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  14. Suzanne Gordon

    I will take Billy Graham's advice over yours any day. God works in mysterious ways

    November 5, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Athy

      God's ways seem mysterious to you because all that is happening are random occurrences of nature, uncontrolled by anyone, including your non-existent god.

      November 5, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  15. FRANK

    we have a mormon president...no more partying in white house

    November 5, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Audria

      Frank,

      lol... ok that's a good way to lighten the conversation :)

      ... but what about what the Geico gecko wants

      November 5, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  16. Ann kenevan

    THE BIGGER QUESTION IS HOW CAN ANY PERSON OF FAITH VOTE FOR OBAMA AND REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH? REDISTRIBUTION IS NOT ONLY UNCHRISTIAN BUT TOTALLY UNBIBLICAL! One can't even get past the TEN Commandments on that one.
    redistribution is theft
    Thous shalt not steal
    Coveting is envy
    Thou shalt not COVET anything of your neighbor.

    November 5, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Rob

      Hi Ann, as a religion major during my undergraduate studies and someone who just recently completed a Master of Theological Studies degree at the Candler School of the Theology at Emory University, (and so feel that, after 6 years of study of scripture, I am at least as qualified as most to speak to this subject), I feel the need offer an alternative interpretation of scripture than the one you provided. To begin, in Deut. 24:19-22, the Lord tells us that "When you reap the harvest in your field (or offices) and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be left for the alien, the orphan, and the widow, so that the [I] your God may bless you in all your undertakings." It seems to me that this is an explicit commandment for a type of redistribution of wealth, and one that is also explicitly linked to future blessings. If however, you believe that such a commandment, found in the Hebrew Scriptures, is superceded by the new revelation of Christ found in the Gospels, the book of Acts, and the letters of Paul and other New Testament writers, then I ask that you consider the words of Peter as repeated in Acts 5:1-11, when he confronts a couple, Ananias and Sapphira, over them holding back from the community some of the proceeds from a sold piece of property. They failed in turning over all that they had earned from the transaction, which causes Peter to accuse them of allowing Satan to fill their hearts, lying to the Holy Spirit, and putting the Spirit of the Lord to the test. Furthermore, they are both described as falling down and dying, implying some sort of judgment on the part of the Lord. Again, this seems to explicitly, and frighteningly, advocate for a sharing, or distribution of wealth, with again, real physical and spiritual consequences for failing to do so. Thanks so much for your time, and I hope this at least provides some food for thought.

      November 5, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Sheila

      Jesus fed the 5,000 with 2 fish and fives loaves he collected from the crowd. It is the only miracle besides the Resurrection that is mentioned in all four books of the gospel. There are other verses that teach you are to give from what you have to help the poor.

      November 5, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Rob

      Agreed, in fact I think a majority of biblical scholars, and maybe even ministers, but perhaps not here in the South where I live, would speak to the Bible, and therefore God's, repeated "special concern for the poor."

      November 5, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Dwight Rogers

      I agree with the scriptural teaching to care for the poor. However, none of the Biblical teachings cited advocate doing it through the government. Rather, they talk of individual donations directly to the poor or to the Church.

      November 5, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Audria

      Rob,

      I was a music major at Piedmont Bible college. Theology is second nature to me. It seems to me that you are choosing passages that will conform to what you want to believe. Why don't you read this passage from Matthew, it's harder to change this one around to suit yourself.

      14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,[a] each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

      19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

      21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

      22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

      23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

      24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

      26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

      28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

      November 5, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Sonya

      You are correct, Ann. Jesus was no Socialist. And Socialism is an entire worldview dedicated to the breaking of the tenth commandment and eventually the others.

      How can we know this? We merely need to remember the horrors of the Soviet Union to start. Heck, anywhere Socialism is taken to its natural conclusion it leads to misery, poverty, oppression and death.

      It also leads to the suppression and eventually outlawing of religion.

      Obama is a Marxist. And Karl Marx believed in not only the redistribution of wealth, but also the abolition of religion. He was a committed atheist who claimed that religion was the opiate of the masses.

      I will not EVER vote for a Marxist. Marxism leads to misery, poverty, suffering and death... always.

      November 6, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • midwest rail

      " Obama is a Marxist. " Um, no.

      November 6, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • Sonya

      Um yes, Obama IS a Marxist. And anyone who claims otherwise does not know his extremely radical background and influences - like his mentor Frank Marshall Davis who was an actual member of the Communist Party USA, a great admirer of Joseph Stalin and a propagandist for the CPUSA. Davis was considered such a threat by the US government that he was kept under surveillance.

      Obama even mentions Frank more over 20 times in his memoir. Of course, Obama's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, self-identified as an atheist and was known as a "fellow-traveler."

      And I'm just getting started... Obama's Marxist influences are profound an life-long.

      November 6, 2012 at 8:16 am |
  17. Kathy Carlson

    God does not require Christians to be automatons as many inside and outside the faith seem to think. We have intelligence, judgment, and free will in order to make decisions for ourselves. We aren't a unified voting bloc that is required not to vote unless a candidate perfectly resembles Christian values. What a ridiculous notion. We live in a fallen world, we don't get perfect choices. To suggest that Christians should stay out of the political process until we find "perfect" candidates is fundamentalism at its worst.

    November 5, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Wright

      Well said. I agree 100%. The reason we have the people in office is because Christians have stepped aside to let non-Christians make the choices. They have convinced Christians that they should leave their "religion" out of politics. Thus, they will be writing the laws; not Christians. Daniel help set up laws under an evil ruler. We should pursue the same.

      November 5, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  18. Wright

    Gee Stephen, has it gotten that complicated to you? It's simple. Obama is SOOOOOOOOO FAR LEFT from true biblical Christian beliefs, that even an occult looks pretty good. It is a vote of the lesser of two evils. We only have two choices. Personally, I would want a much stronger Christian. At least the "occult" guy believes in pro-life and traditional marriages between a man and woman. Obama is for killing babies all the way up to the birth. Get back with Jesus and you will understand.

    November 5, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Brimstone

      Since when do true Christians side with the lesser of ANY evils? Good job on sacrificing your conviction and your commitment to your faith, you weak willed cop out! May God have mercy on your soul, Wright...

      November 5, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Wright

      As I implied... I have one vote with two options. I have not sacrificed my convictions or my commitment to God. I am voting for the best of the two options and against the worst of two options. To not vote, is to let someone else decide. And God does and will have mercy on my soul.

      November 5, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  19. Sheila

    @josh

    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 12:41 pm |
  20. Mike P

    This column is kind of ridiculous. If there's one thing that divides the Democratic and Republican parties, it's their basic worldview. The Republican Party still holds to a Judeo-Christian worldview in which human beings are created in the image of God and designed male and female. That's a basic Genesis 1 worldview. The Democratic Party, in supporting abortion and gay marriage, have tossed Genesis 1 out the window and replaced it with, "Do whatever enriches you personally rather than honors God." Given that, how can Christian's NOT support Mitt Romney despite his obvious disparity of cult? Big whoop that he's a Mormon, I say. I would vote for a Muslim so long as it puts a candidate with Christian or Christian-esque values into play. Obama has shown no evidence that he's that person.

    November 5, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Mike P

      "The Republican Party still holds to a Judeo-Christian worldview in which human beings are created in the image of God and designed male and female."

      Many (if not most) supporters of the Republican party may hold this view. Conservatism IS NOT about religious views. Conservatism is about unfettered commerce and capitalism.

      Over the past 44 years the GOP has realized that it's best path to power is to make secure the votes of Christian fundamentalists.

      Nixon's GOP started dating the religious right.
      Reagan's GOP went steady with them.
      Karl Rove presided over the marriage of the GOP and the religious right.
      Now the American Taliban wears the pants in the GOP. They hold the votes of the religious right like a choke collar.

      November 5, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • mama k

      Regardless of part affiliation, just considering that Genesis 1 (Gullible's Travels, Part 1) is obviously rehashed fable, it is silly, but harmful to society for one to continue to put much stock in it.

      November 5, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • mama k

      typo correction: "party" affiliation

      November 5, 2012 at 12:42 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.