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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. slrtx

    Ok. Here it comes. Now they're at each other's throats over who's the better Christian. Isn't religion fun?

    August 27, 2010 at 8:43 am |
  2. RWESTUPID

    What was that word that everyone was so upset about last week. Oh yeah! RETARDS! They're having a convention this weekend.

    August 27, 2010 at 8:43 am |
  3. Tellmenolies

    When the people of this country,start acting like the radical Muslims we abhor,and the blood of our fellow Americans runs in the streets,it's going to be the fault of Glen Beck and his kind...they are twisting American values for higher ratings and money via Fox News...Is this what America stands for? History will show this to be an ugly time for which we will hang our heads in shame.....this "return to honor rally", the book burning event in Florida..these are not representative of
    America....I recently watched a video of Glen Beck about a stone being found with Hebrew writing on it in Ohio...as an archaeologist, I can tell you that Glen Beck lied in this segment,he was barely comprehensible in his thought processes and
    He used that instance of hoax to introduce more anti- American rhetoric....his agenda was not clear to me based on one show,but during that show I was shocked at his complicity...

    August 27, 2010 at 8:43 am |
  4. TH

    Proud atheist reporting in. News flash, there is no heaven and no hell. We are all mortal.

    August 27, 2010 at 8:42 am |
    • ZarGoth

      Standing beside you.....

      August 27, 2010 at 8:57 am |
  5. Terry from West Texas

    I am shocked and stunned to learn that a heathen, blaspheming heretic has been posing as a Christian on Fox News! This is a disgrace! It is surely against some law, or it should be, for Beck to pretend to be a Christian when all this time he was a secret emissary of an alien faith whose mission is to overthrow God's Church and destroy civilization. Just remember, that beneath his outer, Christian clothing there is a layer of Mormon undergarments.

    August 27, 2010 at 8:40 am |
  6. Chris M

    Do the evangelical activists also agree that Jesus was against social justice, and feel that Christianity is based on greed and self promotion? When they stand with him that is what they support. It not a matter that Beck is a Mormon, it is that he is a charlatan and a fraud.

    August 27, 2010 at 8:39 am |
    • LDSinSC

      No, we believe that men should help each other. The government should be there to keep law and protect our rights. If your friend is starving, do you feed him, or do you send him to the wellfare office while your grilling steak? If he is out of work, do you help him find a job, or send him to the unemployment office? If you need help the chain should be, ask family and friends first, then church THEN the government. If we take care of each other, there would be no need for social programs. I know this would only happen in a perfect world.

      August 27, 2010 at 9:23 am |
  7. Bob From BRIDGEPORT

    Glen Beck is a genuine Fraud and like Palin i don not understand the facination with these (2) idiots. He is trying to rewrite history to conform to his personal bigotry and he will try an do the same with God`s word. I do understand the direction some of our people are going or are allowing themselves to be pulled but i can assure you of one thing that i am certain of and that is that the Becks -Palins and the foxes are scaring both sides to the point of action -brother on brother. Once you have tasted freedom there is no going back and they are now trying to use the word of God to further divide us. I would be very careful with what is allow in the media as truth and pay close attention to the consequences that will soon be upon us if this goes unchecked!

    August 27, 2010 at 8:35 am |
  8. Kramer

    I am LDS (Latter Day Saint), a Democrat, a feminist and a firm believer in 'free agency', free agency being the idea that people have a right to live their lives the way they choose, without judgment. I have gay friends, gay friends that I see at church on Sundays, and many other LDS/Mormon members in my congregation who believe very much the way I do. People seem to have a very narrow minded view of what an LDS/Mormon person believes or accepts.

    August 27, 2010 at 8:35 am |
    • Blue

      So tell your co-believers to stop being d-bags in public to those who don't share their faith.

      August 27, 2010 at 8:52 am |
  9. oldone

    The truthfulness of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rests on the truthfulness of the First Vision and the other revelations the Lord gave to the Prophet Joseph. President John Taylor, the third President of the Church, wrote, "Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it" (D&C 135:3).

    August 27, 2010 at 8:34 am |
  10. Beavis

    Agreed. All these sub-mentals running around the country listening to Glenn Beck makes me want to jump in front of a bus.

    August 27, 2010 at 8:33 am |
  11. Paul

    Glen Beck is the prophet of our time according to the so-called Evangelicals. Remember that the same Evangelical leaders support the Irak war knowing that Chenney lied to Bush and to the rest of the country. You have choice here: YOU BELIEVE IN JESUS as personal savior according to the Holy Bible or You believe in the book of Mormon and "prophet" Joseph Smith. Do you also know that Mormons think that Blacks are not human being and they never apologize for that!
    Remember what Dr. Gibson (Focus on the family) said during the presidential campaign? He predicted that it will rain and the convention won't happen in Colorado stadium. We all know the result. It didn't rain and Dr. Gibson in now know as prophet of Baal. Matthew 28:19 asks us to go around the World and make everybody the disciples of Jesus Christ. Why are you not believing that Obama is Christian?
    You are not different from Taliban. The only difference is that they have Beard and you don't but you are both extremists.
    Get this: JESUS DIDN"T CAME TO SAVE THE SINNERS LIKE US and the Pharisees killed him.

    August 27, 2010 at 8:32 am |
  12. ObvUsername

    I've known a lot of mormons in my day and they've all been kind, honest, genuine folk. However, Beck is the most vile, bloodthirsty, un-patriotic and un-american man this country has ever made a "celebrity" – if I were the mormons, I call him out.

    August 27, 2010 at 8:32 am |
  13. garc

    What goes around comes around. People like beck question the patriotism, rights, etc., of everybody who doesn't "think" (i.e., react blindly) like him. Now other reactionaries don't find him pure enough. Here he is–what a true hero. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ka_UWyZ9xf4&feature=related

    August 27, 2010 at 8:31 am |
  14. Culture Bearer

    Jews believe some crazy stuff from the Old Testament. Christians believe even more crazy stuff that got added in the New Testament. Then along came Mormons who added a whole 'nother level of crazy beliefs with their book of Mormon. There is overlap in all these religions. But if Judaism and Christianity are considered different religions, Christianity and Mormonism are different, too. Just look at the difference in the vision of the afterlife (Mormon men will become gods of their own planets and women who are good enough to assend will be there multiple wives...sound familiar?) to see that it's ain't exactly the Christianity preached by other Christian churches.

    August 27, 2010 at 8:31 am |
  15. DoubleD

    There is 100% proof all relgious books like the Bible are false. They are all written by mortal men not Gods. Man can not even get the daily news straight. Something happens in the morning by evening there are 100 different views of what actually happened. How many times has the Bible been rewritten by men ? A LOT SO IT HAS TO BE FALSE

    August 27, 2010 at 8:26 am |
  16. Zinga

    All the Mormons I have met have been kind and good to me. However, when they come to my door presenting the Book of Mormon, I say thanks but I'm not interested. I don't want to study any book that says my alliance with good or evil is visible from my pigmentation. No Thank-You!

    August 27, 2010 at 8:26 am |
  17. Blue

    It's 8:21 am, and Glenn Beck still sucks.

    August 27, 2010 at 8:21 am |
  18. PietHein

    The sooner people start realizing Glenn Beck is just like Stephen Colbert, someone who acts out a persona, the better off we all will be. I honestly cannot comprehend people who take anything he says seriously, the implications are mindblowing.

    August 27, 2010 at 8:19 am |
    • Frogist

      @PietHein:I guess the difference is that Mr Colbert is on a Comedy network and Glenn Beck is on a News network... Gives you a bit more of a clue as to their purposes.

      August 27, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
  19. Sattan

    So, BVKinGA... you won't turn anyone away? If I am gay can I be in your church? Can I bring my partner? Can we get married? Or, are there limits to your tolerance and God's love?

    BVKinGA

    It is amazing that so many 'Christians' are so ignorant in the area of christianity. I have been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Siants (LDS) for 10 years. I joined because it was the only church that actually practiced what it preached. I have been a Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, and even attended the Calvery Chaple church. Each had it's own agenda and practiced thier beliefs in a different way. All of them however did have one thing in common, they all believed in Christ as the savior. They just did it in a ddiffernt way. LDS members believe in the very same thing .. that there is one God and one Jesus Christ. The very same ones all the other churches believe in and worship. Some of the things that make us 'different' is the fact that (1) our church does not believe in slaming other religions, (2) nobody gets paid one dime for serving in any capacity, and (3) we stress the family unit and caring for EVERYONE regardless of their faith. You will never be turned away from this church. It isn't called "The Church of Jesus Christ" by accident. And no... we don't believe in plural marriages. Who in their right mind would want more than one wife??? One is plenty... belive me.

    August 27, 2010 at 8:19 am |
    • 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 9:48 am |
      • Cedar Rapids

        Christianity is a personality cult.
        The only way they can justify worshipping the person that created the cult is to say that not only is he the son of god but he is god as well, so its perfectly fine, no heresy here folks, keep moving along.

        August 27, 2010 at 9:57 am |
      • aqtrughful

        how can you not say that christianity is a religion? Just a quick glance at Websters... religion is the service and worship of God or the supernatural : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance// a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices. Christians believe in their god.. that is a personal set of attitudes, beliefs and practices. Protestant, lutheran, catholic... they're all denominations of the christian religion. Although, many in each denomination would doubt the other being a member of their religion. If you don't believe what they believe, then you're wrong and going to hell.

        August 27, 2010 at 11:54 am |
  20. Frank Rizzo

    A car was involved in an accident in a street. As expected a large crowed gathered. A cable news guy by name of Glen Beck anxious to get his story could not get near the car. Being a clever sort, he started shouting loudly, "Let me through! Let me through! I am the son of the victim." The crowd made way for him. Lying in front of the car was a donkey. Should I say anymore lol.

    August 27, 2010 at 8:18 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.