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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. WWJD

    Glenn Beck gives us Christians a bad name. He is just using it for his political gain. Disgusting. It is damaging the strength of our nation. We should be the UNITED States. God is about love and acceptance.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:41 am |
  2. Will

    To the evangelical protestant heretics who are concerned about Beck's faith, and "associating with non-believers in spiritual matters", I wonder if they'd express the same concerns if he were Jewish. Considering how they do nothing but cower and prostrate themselves before the Jewish people as if they were gods. I never want to hear them call members of GOD'S CHURCH "Idolaters" as long as they continue to worship those who nailed the living Christ to the cross.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:41 am |
  3. Rob in NYC

    Glenn Beck is a MUSLIM!!!

    August 27, 2010 at 9:41 am |
  4. Bernardo Gui

    1. "Special Underwear"
    2. Baptism Of The Dead
    3. Polygamy

    Nothing Christian about these things.......

    August 27, 2010 at 9:41 am |
  5. Rick - Ex-Marine, Liberal

    Yes, this is wonderful. Now we can broaden the hate beyond Muslisms to include Mormons. Hope they don' t have tabernacles or mosques, or whatever the hell they build near Ground Zero...

    Does anyone see any problem with "GLENN BECK's DIVINE DESTINY?" So God, the Christian one, apparently, is speaking through a Moron, er, I mean a Mormon. But we're not sure he's Christian enough to associate with, but he's delivering God's (SIC) Christian future direction for US(A) all. I don't think we should allow Morons to use Government property to espouse their money-grubbing, self-agrandizing BS. I sympathize with Mormons having this wack-nut job out in front of their religion spewing his crap.

    And Sarah Palin is the headliner. Divine Destiny????? WAKE UP EVERYONE!!! THIS IS PURELY NUTS! It doesn't matter if you're left/riight or center, christian, muslim, atheist, whatever. THIS IS PURELY CRAZY! People have been claiming to have the "message" for us since time began. Do you remember they have all been wrong, and most have been EVIL?

    May the true GOD help us all.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:41 am |
  6. Willibald

    God is using Glen Beck?? What does that say about God?

    August 27, 2010 at 9:38 am |
  7. Mark H.

    Always treat the rewriting of history with suspicion! It is this which is frightening...those who have tried include Hitler, Pol Pot, & Stalin among others. American has been responsible for many dishonorable things and to cover the truth is a disservice to the flag. The learning of history is to prevent events from occurring again.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:38 am |
  8. toxictown

    Good. Let them fight about how many angels fit on the head of a pin. It will split up the conservative vote.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:38 am |
  9. Kris

    Evangelicals question Beck? Even Glen Beck is not hateful enough for them. We really need to start questioning these evangelical leaders a LOT more. They sound a lot like the Taliban and terrorist organizations to me.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:37 am |
  10. Answers

    Glen Beck is without a doubt, one of the stupidest humans, alive now

    August 27, 2010 at 9:37 am |
    • LouAz

      Who is laughing all the way to the bank !

      August 27, 2010 at 9:51 am |
  11. Not All Docs Play Golf

    Isn't Beck really a Muslim? If not, does he have an authenticated baptism certificate to prove it? Can he whip out his original birth certificate to prove U.S. citizenship? Does he have a college degree? Woops! Us "elitist" already know the answer to that last one!

    August 27, 2010 at 9:36 am |
  12. Richard

    And Jesus said unto Paul "Did you see the ass on that guy, he's cute"

    August 27, 2010 at 9:36 am |
    • Real

      That 5 seconds of energy used to type what you said was not worth it.

      August 27, 2010 at 10:52 am |
    • Frogist

      @ Richard: ROTFL! Not sure it contributes to the discussion but damn it's funny!

      August 27, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
  13. Susan

    I'm a Lutheran and I'm going to the rally. Is that ok? I think it's beautiful when people of different colors, religions, economic situations, get together to celebrate this great country of ours.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:36 am |
  14. brian in germany

    No, Mormons are not Christians. I wouldn't call it a cult but rather a misguided religion unto itself. A Christian is saved by faith and a simple belief that Jesus was God's son, was crucified for our sins and was raised from the dead. The problem with Mormonism and all the pseudo-Christian sects is the stuff that's added to that simple formula. Any time you hear "it's Jesus and ..." , it's time to run.

    And that brings me to my most important point. In America today there are many people who claim to be Christians, but seem to mix up the boundry between God and country. God is not a Republican and he's not interested in preserving America as a country and a government system. When people tried to get Jesus involved in politics, his answer was "give to caesar what is caesar's. give to God what is God's".

    He's not interested in psuedo-Christian values, either like hating gays and capital gains taxes He's interest in the hearts of people and the true expression of his love is Christ-like, displaying the humility, love and sacrifice shown by Christ. It's so simple, how can so many millions miss it.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:36 am |
  15. fireybuddha

    "Glenn Beck is being used by God – mightily,"

    What a slap in the face for God. Sorry, God. Most of us know better, btw.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:34 am |
  16. richunix

    One must laugh at the arguments each side makes. This “Christian” de-cries that this groups is not religious enough, while the other make the same clam and yet they all have continual belief in anarchic religion, it’s almost hypocritical. Have fun guy’s and let me know if you see Elvis in a potato chip.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:34 am |
  17. MarkRH

    They came first for the Democrats, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Democrat.
    Then they came for the liberals, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a liberal.
    Then they came for the minorities, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a minority.
    Then they came for the women, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a woman.
    Then they came for the moderates, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a moderate.
    Then they came for me and by that time no one was left to speak up.
    – Adapted from Pastor Martin Niemöller

    Haters will not stop until they hate on all of us. Rise up against hate by defending the right of persons different from you to pursue happiness as they see fit without being condemned for being different. If you do not stop haters now, then you will be the hated.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:31 am |
  18. cavsbrows

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

    August 27, 2010 at 9:31 am |
    • bblack

      i do not hate gays at all .....i don't believe it is right but i wish them no ill will ....it seems like they wish for it to be acceptable but i think otherwise ......i don't wish to force my view on them but it does seem like they are forcing it on me.....

      August 27, 2010 at 11:54 am |
  19. Scott

    Sattan, christians will never turn you away from joining Jesus. A christians goal is to be more like Christ. Christ meet sinners on our level of sin (me included). We must do the same to all humans. However, God does not want us to stay in the same sin wether it be gay, anger, lust, pride, etc. A man must be born again, John 3, You are a new creation in Christ Romans 8.

    Satttan
    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?

    August 27, 2010 at 9:31 am |
  20. Doctdoo

    Bunch of religious freeks

    August 27, 2010 at 9:31 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.