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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. Real

    To those who claim with many terms that "there is no GOD"
    The truth is EVERYONE will face GOD /Jesus, whether he/she believes in HIM or not. EVERYONE will know Who He truly is when he/she take your last breath and his/her soul depart his/her earthly vessel called body. As sure as the sun rises from the East, the day will come when EVERYONE will meet GOD / Jesus, whether he/she is Christian, Muslim, Mormon, feminist, gay/lesbian, rich, poor, liberals, conservatives, capitalist, socialist/marxist..or whatever. Now the question is How will you meet GOD? Will you face GOD / Jesus as a Father to you? a Father who has been trying EVERY SINGLE day to get " you back home" to enjoy His love and blessings that He has for you. Or will you face GOD / Jesus as a Judge who brings True Justice from His White Throne? A Judge you may call Father to escape the sentence, and who will tell you "Depart from me you cursed, I never knew you". How will you face GOD? Some will claim "I am a religious nut" and the Merciful GOD cannot send someone to Hell. To answer you before you even voice out your thoughts, I would rather be a religious nut in Jesus Christ than being separated from my GOD forever. True. GOD cannot send someone to Hell. Whoever finds himself in that place of torment, send himself there. GOD will make ALL THINGS possible so that no one goes there. But make no mistake: Anyone has a free will to decide to be saved by Jesus Christ or not. It is up to you to be saved by Jesus or go your own way. The true fact is: GOD cannot send His CHILDREN to Hell. Make no mistake: Those who are called CHILDREN of GOD are those who accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior and OBEY His Word. Those who are Christian, true followers and servant of Jesus Christ our Lord, are known by their FRUITS. You be the judge!
    Be blessed.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:18 am |
    • Jersey George

      I want to see god's birth certificate before I concede to his or her existence. Oh yeah, I don't believe in imaginary spirits.

      August 27, 2010 at 11:11 am |
  2. Nick L.

    ""Glenn Beck is being used by God – mightily," Garlow wrote" If by this you mean that Glenn beck is a giant tool, then yes, I agree.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:16 am |
  3. DBinVa

    Who am I to determine whether someone else's relationship with God is valid or not? For all I know, I may be wrong in some of my beliefs. Just because I don't agree with you doesn't give me the right to condemn you.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:16 am |
  4. Gayle

    Personally I couldn't care less that people don't think I'm a Christian, and I'm sure that Christ didn't lose a great deal of sleep because the Jews thought he was a heretic either. I also find it amusing when people label others (whom they know very little about) as self-righteous. A little ironic I think. As I see it we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Isn't that why Christ came here in the first place, to live and die, for all of us?

    August 27, 2010 at 9:14 am |
  5. CM

    Well, it all depends on how one defines the term Christian. In the broadest sense, it can mean any group of people that identifies themselves with Jesus Christ. In that sense, Mr. Beck is a Christian. If you go by the more narrow definition of whether Jesus Christ would have sanctioned those religious practices, you might have more difficulty making the case.

    Whether or not one chooses to believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, there is incontrovertible proof that as a historical and archaeological document, the Bible has immense amount of credibility. Unfortunately for the LDS, the Book of Mormon enjoys no such accolades.

    In fact, advancements in genetics testing and archaeological evidence seems to prove without a doubt that the historical accounts in the Book of Mormon cannot possibly have occurred as written.

    Since Jesus Christ was an adherent Jew, a group of people dedicated to the preservation of their history, it is difficult to make a case for his giving the nod to a religious document claiming to be divinely inspired, but filled with errors.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:12 am |
  6. no question

    he is not a Christian. He is a Mormon, which not a denomination of Christianity. Nothing against Mormons, but they are not Christians.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:12 am |
  7. Terry from West Texas

    The truth, of course, is that Mormonism is much like Christianity. They both started out as very different belief systems than what they are today. If we put aside all of the theological mumbo-jumbo – the names of the various supernatural beings and the descriptions of the afterlife – then we see that they are both ways for the church's leadership to empower and typically enrich itself. The best Christians, Mormons, and Muslims are in the audience. The leadership of our religious institutions is (1) not very bright (Jesuits excepted), (2) scoundrels, and (3) con-men (televangelists especially).

    The movie ZARDOZ provides a good lesson in religion for all of us – and it stars Sean Connery.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:10 am |
  8. LDSinSC

    Loubo-No man can add to the Bible. If this means the end, then read Deuteronomy and Proverbs. They both say that no man shall add or take away. But again. No MAN. God can and did add to the Bible. That's why Deuteronomy isn't the last book. And read Revelation (no "s" by the way) it says "No man shall add or take away from this book of Revelation". Evangelical Bible scholars will tell you that Revelation of St. John was written BEFORE the gospels. So taking this passage at face falue, we would not have Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Talk about taking away from the Bible!

    August 27, 2010 at 9:08 am |
  9. Surthurfurd

    These "evangelicals" seem to have the same problem that Beck has, they have lost their way in Jesus. Unlike many "evangelicals" I do not believe I can condemn them. I just wish they could stop casting stones and look at the logs in their own eyes.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:04 am |
  10. WVlady62

    Thank you bleeding-heart liberals for AGAIN proving to us that you find anyone who disagrees with you, who, for Heaven's Sake, would even dare to have an opinion that differs from yours, to be automatically wrong and racist!!!! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK GLENN, ITS OBVIOUS YOU CARE ABOUT OUR COUNTRY AND ARE NOT AFRAID TO CRITICIZE THE ONES WHO ARE RUNNING HER INTO THE GROUND!!!

    August 27, 2010 at 9:03 am |
    • Layne

      Huh. And what does Mr. Beck call people who disagree with him?

      August 27, 2010 at 9:16 am |
    • Layne

      And don't you see, it's just a difference of opinion? I feel very strongly that Glenn Beck and his ilk are irreversibly harming our country, as do many others, and we are not afraid to speak against him.

      So, do you see? Again, just a difference of opinion, seeing the same thing from two opposite viewpoints. We feel you're running the country in the ground just as you feel that way about us.

      August 27, 2010 at 9:19 am |
    • Frogist

      @WVLady: To what are you referring? You seem obviously outraged for something... but since you didn't mention it, you seem like a raving loon hellbent on being angry for no reason.

      August 27, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
  11. Judith

    I've known some very pleasant Mormons, but any reasonable analysis of the history of their religion and the lives of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young reveal it to be a sexist, racist cult of the first order. The treatment of women alone is sickening in the extreme. Joseph Smith was another egotist much like Glenn Beck. He was more interested in building up his own image and having sex with more than one woman than in any true faith. I would suggest reading Fawn Brodie's excellent biography on Smith as a real eye opener in debunking Mormonism.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:02 am |
  12. Layne

    All I can really say is these people are bat sh!t crazy. They are nothing but demagogues using religion to make themselves richer. It's really very sad.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:02 am |
  13. Richard

    The confluence of religous and political power was one of the most evil forms of tyrrany our Founding Fathers sought to prevent when adopting the First Amendment to our Constitution. Glen Beck and the Tea Party's narrow understanding of our national heritage, and the desire of many people of faith to affirm their correctness by seeking politicl power, is leading our country down the wrong path towards theocracy. It is time for true patriots to affirm our dedication to tolerance and diversity, social justice and harmony, and to speak out against those who use religion to divide us and keep the Kingdom from coming into being. Say no to theocracy, prejudice, hatred, greed, and faux patriotism and faux Christianity. We are all Children of God, we are all humans, we are Americans and we are a Nation Under God and a free nation, and that freedom comes with responsibility. It is a shame and DISHONOR that Glen Beck is so irresponsible with this precious freedom of speech and thought.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:01 am |
  14. Shawn

    First off there is only one denomination and that is the WORD OF GOD....

    Mormon teaches the trinity is three separate gods..
    Mormon teaches there are many gods
    Mormon teaches Joseph Smith was a prophet
    Mormon teaches God used to be a person on another planet and mormom members can be gods of there own worlds...

    Theres more but it sounds like a cult to me, similar to jehovah witness..

    Secondly, this article is crazy because one guy said "Glenn is Saved" Is this guy who said this GOD ? Men can't tell another man whether they are saved or not, only God knows the heart.

    Proverbs says there seems right to a man but its end is death

    August 27, 2010 at 9:01 am |
  15. prophesy watcher

    CNN, I'm ashamed of you. This is just media propaganda and as a Christian, I am appalled that you would attack this man's faith, but I suppose you haven't been able to successfully attack him in all the other ways you have tried – so this is your way of hoping to kick him in the gut. Shame on you. He has never hid the fact He is Mormon, a Christian and has accepted Christ as his Saviour. You must be desperate for the news.... I support this man's boldness to confront a socialist agenda raging war with our country.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:00 am |
    • Layne

      Just curious, do you REALLY think Jesus would prefer capitalism over socialism? Really and truly?

      August 27, 2010 at 9:06 am |
    • Layne

      "Socialists advocate a method of compensation based on individual merit or the amount of labor one contributes to society.

      They generally share the view that capitalism unfairly concentrates power and wealth within a small segment of society that controls capital and derives its wealth through a system of exploitation.

      They argue that this creates an unequal society that fails to provide equal opportunities for everyone to maximize their potential, and does not utilize technology and resources to their maximum potential in the interests of the public."

      It's really quite simple to see why the ultra-rich such as Glenn Beck use religion as a tool to convince working-class people that socialism is evil.

      August 27, 2010 at 9:12 am |
    • Jersey George

      My savior is "Pawn Stars" and the "History Channel". Perhaps you should exit your "christian and fox news bubble" once in a while and see the real world on the outside instead of genuflecting to Beck at every opportunity!

      August 27, 2010 at 11:00 am |
    • Frogist

      @prophesy wtacher:LOL! Don't kill the messenger. It's the evangelicals who are questioning Beck's faith. Read the article. Also I wonder would you have been as outraged over the articles about 1/5 of Americans thinkin gObama is a muslim?

      August 27, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
  16. Sirwonderful

    I am sorry, but I just do not trust this guys intentions. Its kind of like a street salesman, when they walk up to you and they start talking to you – its like hey? I don't know you and what are you trying to sell me?

    I just don't trust him, because in all honesty and he seems like a two-faced kind of person that wants attention.

    Then as a man, he talks about Obama – like a teenage high school girl, no professionalism to his methods and he is whiney?

    August 27, 2010 at 9:00 am |
  17. nate

    Hey Doug that posted on August 27, 2010 at 5:40 am , I was reading the post but when I got to yours I fell off my chair laughing to the point of choking, man that was funny. That was good , thanks.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:00 am |
  18. nolableonme

    Beware false prophets! Glenn Beck is as blatantly false as they come.

    August 27, 2010 at 8:59 am |
  19. ezasfishin

    Bud/Miller, Coke/Pepsi, Baptists/Mormons. The competition for new sheep never ends.

    August 27, 2010 at 8:57 am |
  20. Dennis

    A Moron is closer to actually being what he is ! He has come to us all if you actually want to waste your time tuning into his daily show on that other TV Channel which does not need to be mentioned for any reason. The World of Glenn Beck which when translated is garbage in in his every changing and challenging World of make believe. He has to make the big bucks because as we all know, The Mormon Faith gets there 10% right off the top. Yep, Pay The Lord for your salvation ! Lord it is a miracle, he actually wants all of you out there in television land to believe his pontificating dribble !! Well, if it came from FOX NEWS and there owner operator, it must be news worthy ? Thank the FCC back in Bush Sr era for hiring Colin Powell's son, Michael whom sure had the qualifications to be running the FCC ? NOT...............
    A retired US Army veteran

    August 27, 2010 at 8:57 am |
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About this blog

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.