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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. Dawn

    I cant get over how people will be so arrogant to speak for God. I am not a Christian. They do have a tendency to be arrogant and judgemental. Jesus taught humility. I would venture to say that Beck is not a humble person. nor those who believe he is a Christian. He is the antithesis of Christianity.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:31 am |
  2. NYCScott

    It's this guys humanity that I question.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:31 am |
  3. merecat

    Jesus didn't get involved in politics neither should his followers..
    Guess they didn't want people to see how many like our comments anymore... Like button... Gone with the wind of change.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:31 am |
  4. andrew

    Come on CNN, bashing Beck two days in a row leading up two his rally, try to be a little less obvious.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:30 am |
  5. Steve

    Some people will believe anything. God using Beck. I think not.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:30 am |
  6. adam

    To be a Christian means to be Christ-like. That's what I was taught 40 years ago in a southern Evangelical church. Based on that definition, I have never met a Christian in my lifetime.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:30 am |
  7. Annexian

    If they accept Mormons, they should also accept Islam.

    Really, their founder wanted to become an "American Mohammed"...

    Personally, I've never met a Mormon I didn't like and as far as being "Christian" they passed the "Walks the Walk" part better than most so-called "Fundy" types. However, I do often feel they have their own little "Clique" and will casually stab a non-Mormon in the back for any benefit to them. Been "Odd man outed" at a few tech companies for people who's only worth seems to have been association, too busy fixing things and making them $ to notice the knife being prepared for me. IMO (and not just that group) that's the reason why so much tech is sucky bloatware, the good workers get stabbed and their work taken and debased by backstabbing suck-ups, it's just a lot easier to do with a religious excuse if the "Act" is well rehearsed.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:29 am |
  8. cavsbrows

    Christians are too funny. They're bickering over which sect properly worships their imaginary friend. Can't Mormons and Evangelicals find unity in their common hatred for gays and liberals?

    August 27, 2010 at 9:29 am |
  9. A good citizen

    Beck, Palin, Gingrich, many of the t.v. evangelists and all who follow and worship these people are all false Christians. It's true, you will find more of your atheists among the left, but you will find all your false Christians among the right. When a group promotes hatred of others and the destruction of God's green earth – when they profit politically and financially from their hatred of others – when they destroy God's earth while profiting from it and when those who care about the earth, the poor, the down trodden and those on the fringes of society are ridiculed, demonized and hated – you have to start to wonder if the Anti Christ really is among us now and if he is working through those on the far right to promote his agenda on this earth. Sarah Palin and Glen Beck are money whores and spotlight whores. Their words are false, folks, as are their tears and their anger. Think about it...Jesus would NEVER have anything to do with hatred, yet these two are so full of hate. They practice what I call a Frankenfaith – it is no longer Christianity but instead is nothing more than bits and pieces of Christianity that they have taken and polluted and demonized, put together and now present as the true Christianity to serve their agenda (this can also be said of the televangelists). Sorry folks, but it isn't Christianity. Hate is hate is hate and true Christianity has nothing to do with hate. The Neo Cons and the lunatics on the right have all but destroyed the Republican party and they are on their way to destroying true Christianity (at least in this country). And, while I am it, their patriotism is hollow. It isn't patriotism, it is Nationalism. You can hide behind the cross and wrap the flag around your shoulders all you want, but that doesn't make you a Christian or a good American. This country has been splintered in half, faith and patriotism polluted and demonized and hatred made acceptable by those on the far Right. Wake up America and work together to stop this disease that Palin and Beck and their kind are helping to spread. Yeah, the nuts on the left may be annoying, but the nuts on the right are dangerous – and they will destroy us. And there's the truth for you.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:29 am |
  10. Willie12345

    Boy are the Mormons taking a punishment for reasons that are hard to understand. Beck is trying to do what he believes is right. I doubt that he has some sinister ploy that he's working to deceive others. There are well over 500 religious faiths in the US alone, many of them competing for converts. It's been that way since ....whenever. Those faiths that work so hard to cast stones at others draw fire upon themselves. Perhaps, the best way to say this is ....... Christians need to act like Christians. Hate, anger, contention, vile speaking, contempt, lying, evil speaking and pride are not part of the gospel.....but, I might be wrong.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:27 am |
  11. HeIsGod

    Qoute from Diva1 to "washingmachine"

    oDiva1
    I understand your viewpoint, but Christianity is a personal relationship between you and God. If you study the scriptures and follow Gods' word, you can be saved. We cannot look at what other people are doing, we have to get our lives right. God will not accept the excuse that others were not living right so I did not get involved with Christianity. Christ established one church everyone that claims to be a Christian is not acceptable to God. What are you doing with your life? I say this as an encouragement, not as a beat down. God bless you in your choices.

    My Response:

    @ Diva1 – Well said, Diva1!! What men do, whether they call themselves Christians or not, should never determine our walk and relationship with Christ. ALL MEN TO HIS OWN DEEDS. If we allow them to discourage us from coming to Christ, we are no better then them because we are allowing their lives to influence us when we should allow Christ to influence our lives. We are to answer to God not men. We have to make a determination as to whom we shall serve and it is a very poor excuse for any of us to point fingers at others, so-called Christians and say that they are the reason we reject Christianity because as you said, Christianity is a personal relationship between one and God.

    Religion are humans working their way to God, but fail. They are corrupted, it deceives, kills, steals, and destroy. Some have Faith, but no works, others have works, but no Faith.

    Christianity is God working His way to men and women through a “RELATIONSHIP” through Christ Jesus. (John 3:16) Christianity has Faith and Works that comes hand in hand.

    God Bless!

    August 27, 2010 at 9:26 am |
  12. Stev

    There is one central belief that differentiates Christians that people are forgiven their sin through believing that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross saves them.

    I’m very concerned with the link between the Christianity and Conservative Political figures. I know that conservatives will use Christians for their own purposes, and sometimes those purposes are not aligned. Christians are to stand for their God and their commitment to Jesus Christ.

    Please note that Jesus is not a Republican, and definitely not a Libertarian. He’d stand outside these camps because these camps will use the names of Jesus to promote their own agendas, and not his—to save people from their sins. Jesus never promised that we’d have heaven on earth, and too many of these political groups want to establish heaven on earth or link Jesus to the manifest destiny of the United States. Christianity will outlive our country and political parties. Don’t let our political parties use our Lord.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:23 am |
    • James Sullivan

      Is there any truth to the rumor that the first item on the legislative agenda of the new Majority of the Religous Right will be to repeal numbers three and nine of Moses'"Ten Suggestions"?

      August 27, 2010 at 9:33 am |
    • Real

      "Christians are to stand for their God and their commitment to Jesus Christ."
      True. But I will add "True christian" just for comprehension/differentiation. Some christian "confess Jesus as their Lord" but truly have no form of righteousness /godliness in them. Make no mistake: Even the devil transform himself into an angel of light.
      Be Blessed.

      August 27, 2010 at 9:38 am |
  13. j Reuben

    I am LDS(mormon), and I am very worried about people mistaking Beck's ultra-conservative, aggressive rants as something the church agrees with. Glen Beck's divisive hate speech is neither good for Mormon's nor conservatives in general. Make friends and not enemies.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:23 am |
  14. bobntn

    It amazes me how hatefull you progressives (?) are. You simply make personal attacks when your arguments fail. When a successful entertainer like Beck reviews history in depth to cover great achievments by black Americans, women, and the founding fathers you attack instead of compliment. Unbeliveable! Learn to have an intellectual debate without making insults. Try and use that education that you liberals say makes you so superior to the average middle class Amercian. Glenn Beck simply wants America to continue being the greatest country on earth. This free enterprise based republic is the most successful society known to the civilized world thus far. When will you accept this fact and quit trying to change this great country into something less.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:22 am |
    • j Reuben

      You "progressives"....you "liberals"...Man, practice what you preach. If you don't want to attacks from the left, then try not labeling and demonizing.adhom

      August 27, 2010 at 9:25 am |
    • Frogist

      @bobntn: references?

      August 27, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
  15. Historian

    all beck does is play back the words of these so called compassionate caring politicians and he's called a hater?

    August 27, 2010 at 9:22 am |
  16. Jaareshiah

    The Book of Mormons teaches that we "existed as spirits before this life", and that by eternal progression, by strict obedience a man may become a god, a creator like God, for Joseph Smith stated that "God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted Man, and sits in yonder heavens." Mormon prophet Lorenzo Snow said: "As man is, God once was; as God is now, man may become." This is totally contradictory with the Bible, for after Adam's rebellion in the Garden of Eden, Jehovah God told him that, rather than existing as a spirit previously, he told him: "In the sweat of your face you will eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are and to dust you will return.”(Gen 3:19) Hence, Adam was "dust" before his creation in 4026 B.C.E. and returned to "dust" after his death, never having been a spirit.

    Joseph Fielding Smith, great-nephew of Joseph Smith stated: “This doctrine [that man existed in the spirit creation], in the Bible is only discerned through a mist or fog . . . because many plain and precious things have been taken out of the Bible.” Further he states: “This belief is based upon a revelation given to the Church, May 6, 1833.” Therefore, while accepting the Bible’s authority, in case of disagreement LDS doctrine necessarily assigns greater weight to the words of their prophets.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:21 am |
  17. Lstark53

    Glen Beck is an actor of the worst kind. He is not a report, not a journalist, certainly not Christian in his ideas or his presentation. He is just a bad actor and should exit stage left.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:21 am |
  18. curtegg

    Religions suffer from several drawbacks:

    1) Hypocrisy – contradictions within their own faiths. Much of this is from hear-say evidence that only man has generated. Man is such a poor witness, and earlier man was even worse because of ignorance.
    2) Attitude – either you are with us or must be come one of us or you are against us. Some religions at least attempt isolation which I'll grant is a better passive approach. Its too bad most religions are more for "slapping" rather than turning the other cheek (I couldn't resist).
    3) Has held back science and knowledge.
    4) Held back true equality, just ask women around the world or look at punishments endorsed by so called religious leaders.
    4) Suffers from cult off-shoots (too many examples to specify)
    Seems to me religion was described correctly by Karl Marx. Which leads to my humble prediction, given our present rate of technological advancement, that within another 50 years there will be another religion spawned from technology (machine worship). We are so gullible and ego-centric.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:21 am |
  19. Adrienne

    I quote: "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?"

    Who is to judge whether someone's "fruits" are good or bad? One could make a plausible argument either way–a person can always find justification for his/her cause, especially when taking Biblical passages out of their historical context and using them for his/own purposes. I find it interesting that another person of prominent status in the U.S. is also currently being discussed as being non-Christian. However, the facts do not bear out the specious claims. I urge us all to check the facts, and check them again and again!

    August 27, 2010 at 9:20 am |
    • Frogist

      @Adrienne: Do "fruits" = actions. Because I would venture that me on a personal level, society and our laws are the ones who can decide whether your "fruits" are good or bad. Are we not talking about actions here? Am I missing something?

      August 27, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
    • Kate

      @Frogist

      All the fruits came from a farm in Iowa and have been found to be contaminated with salmonella.

      Beck will go on his radio show and accuse the fruits of being illegal Mexican Muslim socialist-fascist-marxist liberal elites and refuse to allow them entry into his alimentary canal without a birth certificate, proof of residency, and signing up for one of his courses ("Bacteriology and God, 101") at a new introductory low rate. The National Guard will be stationed outside his behind to ensure any bacteria trying to escape will be shot on sight. We will laugh.

      A national outcry is expected condemning the anchor bacteria created as the contamination spreads, on the grounds that good American bacteria are being forced out of jobs. Liberal movements will spring up saying the bacteria are doing jobs no American would want, Mike Rowe does a special on "Dirty Jobs". We will laugh.

      Cities will go on full alert awaiting the inevitable rampaging colonies of salmonella to run around shooting the place up with legally owned bacteriophages bought at gunshows. We will laugh.

      Ultra-conservatives will burn down pharmacies in protest at their distribution of antibiotics which abort unborn bacteria. The CDC will be blown up. We will laugh.

      For once, Reality's wild claims of statistics will be found to be true, regarding the number of bacteria destroyed. He will blame it on rampant amoeba-cultism – on every comments section he can find online. We will laugh.

      Protesters will march on anything they can find, holding aloft banners warning that America is being colonized and is rapidly becoming a Salmonella State. We will laugh.

      Factions will emerge claiming that their salmonella is more potent than everyone elses, which obviously must be mutated strains and therefore inferior. They will deride those with E-Coli as being heretics. We will laugh.

      Politicians will appear on sunday morning punditry shows, claiming salmonella is really a friend of the US, one will try to prove it by kissing one on national TV – then will sicken and die. We will laugh.

      Hmmm, must be friday.

      Just sayin'

      August 27, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
  20. Sarah

    This is a political rally. What ever happened to separation of church and state? Keep YOUR god out of my government!

    August 27, 2010 at 9:19 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.