August 27th, 2010
12:47 AM ET

Some evangelicals on defensive over partnering with Glenn Beck, a Mormon

A handful of prominent evangelical activists are defending their decision to attend television host Glenn Beck's conservative rally in Washington this weekend after some Christians complained that evangelicals shouldn't be partnering with Beck because of his Mormon faith.

Video: Glenn Beck rally stirs controversy

"There is no need to 'de-Christianize' each other over the matter," wrote Jim Garlow, an influential California pastor, in a five-page memo this week arguing that evangelicals can attend Beck's rally and partner with the television and radio personality in good conscience.

"Glenn Beck is being used by God - mightily," Garlow wrote in the memo, which was obtained by CNN. "The left loves to slam him and do so viscerally and often with vulgarities. Glenn is not perfect... But his expose on America's sins is stellar."

Garlow - who partnered with Mormons in California to help pass Proposition 8, the state's gay marriage ban, via ballot initiative in 2008 - is one of several high profile evangelicals on the defensive about participating in Beck's rally, called Restoring Honor.

The rally, which is to be held near the Lincoln Memorial on the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, is to be headlined by Sarah Palin.

Christian critics of the event have taken specific aim at some evangelicals' participation in a prerally event Friday at the Kennedy Center called Glenn Beck's Divine Destiny.

Beck, who many evangelicals say is not a Christian because of his Mormon beliefs, says on his website that the Friday event "will help heal your soul."

"Guided by uplifting music, nationally-known religious figures from all faiths will unite to deliver messages reminiscent to those given during the struggles of America's earliest days," his site says of the event.

Brannon Howse, a conservative writer and founder of Worldview Weekend, which organizes Christian conferences, criticized evangelical participation in that event in a column this week.

"The Apostle Paul warns Christians against uniting with unbelievers in spiritual endeavors," Howse wrote. "While I applaud and agree with many of Glenn Beck's conservative and constitutional views, that does not give me or any other Bible-believing Christian justification to compromise Biblical truth by spiritually joining Beck."

Much of the criticism - along with confusion about the propriety of evangelicals politically linking arms with Mormons - is less formal and more rooted among in-the-pews churchgoers than evangelical elites.

"Jesus Christ's Church has universally rejected Mormonism's Anti-Trinitarian theology and its claim that mortals may become God," David Shedlock, a contributor to the evangelical blog Caffeinated Thoughts, wrote in a post this month. "Beck asks Christian leaders to 'put differences aside,' but Beck himself daily peppers his broadcasts with Mormon distinctives because he cannot keep his beliefs to himself."

Evangelical defenses of attending the Beck rally are largely aimed at ordinary evangelicals. Garlow circulated his memo in an email titled "In case some criticize you for attending the Glenn Beck Rally – since he is a Mormon."

Many Christians say that some Mormon beliefs, including that Mormon church leaders are prophets and that the Book of Mormon is sacred scripture, are incompatible with Christianity.

Mormons, though, consider themselves Christian. The Mormon church is called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Many conservative evangelical activists argue that evangelicals and Mormons should set aside theological differences to partner on moral and political issues.

"For Christians concerned about Glenn's faith, I would ask the following questions: What fruit do you see produced by Glenn," David Barton, an influential evangelical activist who is joining Beck's rally, wrote on his Facebook page recently. "Good or bad? If you judged Glenn only by the fruits he has produced, would you still hold concerns over his faith?"

"Christians concerned about Glenn's faith should judge the tree by its fruits, not its labels," Barton, a former Republican National Committee consultant, continued. "After all, Nancy Pelosi and Bill Clinton openly call themselves Christians... Although these individuals have the right labels, they have the wrong fruits."

Other evangelical activists have gone further, arguing that Beck's faith isn't that different from that of mainstream Christians.

"I have interviewed persons who have talked specifically with Glenn about his personal salvation - persons extremely well known in Christianity - and they have affirmed (using language evangelicals understand), 'Glenn is saved,' " Garlow said in his memo, which was dated Wednesday. "He understands receiving Christ as savior."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Mormonism • Politics • Sarah Palin

soundoff (1,239 Responses)
  1. Marta Akashe

    I didn't know Mr. Beck was Mormon. That explains everything..Thanks

    August 27, 2010 at 8:18 am |
  2. Culture Bearer

    BVKinGA, actually, you CAN be rejected by the LDS church. Just tell them you are gay and see what happens. They'll torture you and if that doesn't get you to say the magic words ("Sorry, my mistake, I'm straight after all!!") they'll kick your butt out. But they will also tell you that you must continue to tithe.

    Your representation that you are just like other Christians except in the four ways you mention is false. Please explain to us what you believe about the afterlife. Who is going where, and what will they be doing? Please, fill us in on that and then let's talk about how it's just the same.

    August 27, 2010 at 8:16 am |
  3. asher

    BVKinGA..really?...all 3 of your points have been shown to be false if Beck is promoting your faith...fail!

    August 27, 2010 at 8:12 am |
  4. David Wood

    Please!!! Xtianity is the biggest hate CULT there is. The can't think for themselves, lead around by their wankers by someone who wants to tell them what to do and what they should believe – asking for money and all the guilt they can dish out when the sheep go astray and make their own decisions. People in glass houses should not be throwing stones.

    August 27, 2010 at 8:10 am |
  5. Dave in Louisiana

    Funny isn't it. The closer we get to mid-terms the more the liberal central government news media turns up the rhetoric against conservatives. I notice trash reports on Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, etc. What a joke.

    August 27, 2010 at 8:07 am |
    • Frank Rizzo

      The stories are TRUE about Palin, Beck and everyone else you mention, the truth shall set you free..............

      August 27, 2010 at 8:21 am |
    • ficheye

      Dave, you are so right. And the same thing has been happening for 150 years. We stand in awe of your observational powers.

      August 27, 2010 at 8:22 am |
    • No way Joe

      It's pure desperation on the part of the demmies. The sand is slipping quickly through their fingers. They are bankrupt in the arena of ideas so they attack.

      August 27, 2010 at 8:48 am |
    • Jersey George

      I understand Sharia Palin is being home-schooled by Beck. It's obvious because their talking points and mindless babbling are identical. However, I'll give Beck credit where credit's due, he doesn't need to write crib notes on his hand like that moron Palin. I'd love to see Palin on Sunday morning news shows, except for fox, and answer substantive questions on domestic and foreign policy instead of the "cream puff" questions she gets from fox. Oh I get it, she's afraid of those nasty "gotcha" questions. If people can't answer any and all questions, except personal ones, they don't belong in politics. She won't run for president because she'll be exposed for what she really is a political stooge cloaked in hate against those different from her and her religious beliefs.

      August 27, 2010 at 10:34 am |
    • Frogist

      @ Dave: references?

      August 27, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Jersey George: "Sharia Palin" omg I gotta remember that one. She is one hot mess. I find it really hard to take her seriously. I really want to since she is somewhat representing women in the field of politics just by being a woman and in politics. But it's impossible for me to hear her speak without wanting to throw something at the bouffant.

      August 27, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  6. Joe

    I find it amusing that the right can't even work with people who share their same political beliefs and goals–because they are bigoted against each other's religions. They'd rather back a losing candidate with the right brand of Jesus than a Mormon. The result? Everything they claim to be against–more gay marriage, more abortions. I can't think of anything more hypocritical.

    August 27, 2010 at 8:07 am |
  7. DoubleD

    Beck and all these evangelicals are the same people the pilgrams and the founding fathers tried to escape from. The First Amendment contains two clauses about the Freedom of Religion. The first part is known as the Establishment Clause, and the second as the Free Exercise Clause. The Establishment Clause prohibits the government from passing laws that will establish an official religion or preferring one religion over another. The courts have interpreted the establishment clause to accomplish the separation of church and state. The Free Exercise Clause prohibits the government from interfering with a person’s practice of his or her religion. However, religious actions and rituals can be limited by civil and federal laws.

    August 27, 2010 at 8:03 am |
  8. Steven

    LDS = Judaism lite? Hmm – don't remember anything in Judaism about Jesus and he seems to be pretty important to members of the LDS Church. They seem to appreciate Judaism and try to emulate it at times, but it's not a flavor of Judaism as far as I can tell.
    Glenn Beck jumped the shark before he left CNN. He's remade himself in the Rush Limbaugh mold and as such, needs to be taken with the same grain of salt that we take Limbaugh. Holding his rally on the anniversary of M.L. King's speech is a little insulting, but fits with his character. He loves being sensational.

    August 27, 2010 at 8:03 am |
  9. Howard Lerner

    Glenn Beck is the anti-christ further exposing Christianity for the fraud it is.

    August 27, 2010 at 8:01 am |
  10. bblack

    Christianity is not a religion .......Catholics....Protestants.....and the likes are religions.
    A Christian is someone who has been given a gift from Christ....that gift is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit ,which is the Spirit of Christ. This is the very thing that the Disciples had been told to wait for before they were permitted to begin their work. After the Baptism of Fire of the Holy Spirit you can understand the meanings of the Scriptures in their spiritual meanings which is far different than a worldly sense. So although many call themselves christian because of their desire or admiration for Christ, and really believe that they are, they are not: based on how the Scriptures show how one is made a Christian. You cannot be one by profession of faith or by a groups acceptance, that is religion.

    August 27, 2010 at 8:00 am |
  11. Reality

    History as we know it the 21st century:

    1. There was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no bases.

    2. There was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    3. There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    4. There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completes fails as a religion.

    5. There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    6. Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes and reincarnations i.e. Hinduism fails as a religion.

    7.Reincarnated, fat Buddhas here, reincarnated, skinny Buddhas there, Buddhas everwhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    8.A horned god, a triple goddess, voodoo and hoodoo and therefore Paganism comes crashing down on the rocks of rationality.

    August 27, 2010 at 7:56 am |
  12. William

    Normally CNN wouldnt care about religion at all. Why does a few peoples opinion of Becks religtion matter enough to even have a full page story on? Who cares?

    August 27, 2010 at 7:50 am |
  13. Disguested

    People such as Beck Palin and all the others using the name of Christ and God for fuel their political agenda are disgusting. Jesus spoke of peace and tolerance, on hate and bigotry. I really dont think people know what true faith is. I cant believe people would follow someone who dressed up like Hitler in the name of christianity. Hitler was a monster! This rally is uncalled for and disgusting.

    August 27, 2010 at 7:49 am |
  14. Checkmyfact


    August 27, 2010 at 7:47 am |
  15. Sybaris

    LDS is just Judaism-Lite.

    August 27, 2010 at 7:46 am |
    • Blue

      LSD > LDS

      August 27, 2010 at 8:25 am |
  16. DoubleD

    Beck lies 100% of the time ! The U.S. has become just like the movie "V for Vendetta"

    August 27, 2010 at 7:45 am |
  17. read my lips

    Reality Check: Our President has a Masters from Columbia and Doctorate from Harvard in POLITICS and was top of Class and President!

    But you keep ignoring that fact with immediate rejections of anything he says because clowns with 0 qualifications like Palin, Heck and Lush control you, your minds and wallets..!?

    August 27, 2010 at 7:41 am |
  18. ernest

    "Glenn Beck's "conservative" rally ". Why is CNN, Yahoo, and others making it appear this rally is a "conservative rally?? I'm a liberal-democrat and I'm going along with some friends who are also liberal. Restring honor has nothing to do with party affiliation,one's religion, sex, color....

    August 27, 2010 at 7:39 am |
  19. Ed

    Come on folks, there very existence of LDS is predicated that ALL other churches are apostates. That the church failed and needed to be restored. So, LDS said we were not Christians first. Their Jesus is a created being and they too will become gods some day. Also, Beck would say America was founded as a Christian nation, so with a little reason an LDS should ask does not 1776 come before 1836 (Joseph Smith)? So what had to be "restored" with the apostae founding father's religion???? Jesus is God and there is ONE God. Jesus said if you see me, you have seen the Father.

    August 27, 2010 at 7:36 am |
    • LDSinSC

      So...When Christ was standing on the right hand of God, he was beside himself? When Christ was on the cross and said "Father forgive them they know not what they do" was he refering to Joseph as his father since Christ is his own Father? If he meant himself as Father, then why didn't he just say I am the Father and I forgive you? I know "My ways are not your ways, and my thoughts are not your thoughts". I'm not mocking. Its one thing that I have asked my Trinity believing friends, and no one has been able to answer. I have a bunch of others, but those are the main two. To be honest, both beliefs are contradictory. Its just a matter left to prayer 🙂

      August 27, 2010 at 9:50 am |
  20. mike

    Sounds like 1930's Germany and the rise to power of A. Hitler!

    August 27, 2010 at 7:35 am |
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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.