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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. Theo

    I can't wait to see this rally on T.V. (for about 10 seconds). Imagine seeing that many losers in 1 place.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:49 am |
  2. Cedar Rapids

    'Glenn Beck is being used by God – mightily'

    "After all, Nancy Pelosi and Bill Clinton openly call themselves Christians... Although these individuals have the right labels, they have the wrong fruits."

    Yeah, thats all that needed to be said in this article to give you a clue as to the nutjobs supporting him. Being used by god huh? wow.
    I guess the left christians are not TRUE christians. Do they join the people that are not TRUE americans as well? They can stand next to the people that aren't TRUE republicans either.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:49 am |
  3. kathy

    ...on judging a person by the 'fruits' of their life: BEWARE because one appearing as a man is prophesised to bring peace, stability, signs, and wonders before he unleashes hell on earth.
    ....on an early comment that christians are supposed to bring folks into the fold: That is God's job. And God Jesus while here, spoke that until God's judgement arrives ,the separation of the" goats from the sheep"/"the wheat from the tares" is left to co-exist. BE READY!

    August 27, 2010 at 9:49 am |
  4. HAHA

    That is so funny, nuts not wanting to support a nut because his nut cult is slightly different than their nut cult.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:49 am |
  5. Unknown3rdParty

    Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have long been thought not to be Christians, often because of our reverence for the latter-day founder Joseph Smith who restored the church with the authority and under the direction of God. I submit that that same reverence we show for him is probably not all that different from the reverence members of other religions show for ancient prophets or even for significant personalities in their respective religions. We do not have crosses in our church buildings; the Christ we worship is the resurrected, living and glorified Christ.

    We do not have a paid clergy and nobody is "enriched at the expense of gullible sheep", but we do pay tithes and offerings. We believe that the Bible is the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. We believe in continuing revelation (that's why we have the Bible: God's word didn't stop after Genesis), that it didn't stop with the death of Jesus, and that he will continue to reveal many marvelous things. We are trying to be like Jesus. God's laws are eternal: what was God's law at the time of Adam, Moses, Abraham ... it is still God's law. All too often, people want to portray Jesus as a crusader for social justice, a liberal. He taught that we should hate the sin but love the sinner. Since God's law then was that homosexuality was an aberration, a sin, it is now, too. To the woman taken in adultery, another sin, he told her that he did not condemn her–NOT the same as forgiving her–then to go her way and sin no more; that said, we are, or try to be, tolerant of the sinner, but we cannot accept a lifestyle or habit that runs counter to the Gospel.

    Finally, I don't know Glenn Beck from Adam. BUT ... all he's doing is pointing out how our nation's leaders are leading us astray, distancing us from the Constitution and trying to make the USA into just another poor socialist state and establish a branch of world government without the consent of We The People.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:48 am |
  6. Christie

    glen beck is motivated by MONEY. glen's God is GOLD COINS. glen beck is a clown and the media needs to stop giving him the attention. He is taking away the true story of this summer and that is the elections. CNN get back to report ine on real issues facing the regular people in this country; not some story about a clown who putting on a dog and pony show. This empty, selfish, meanless clown should be in the circus not the front page of a news paper.

    But good try, Glen- the true story is what is the Republicans agenda for Americans? Ship the rest of the jobs to other countries, move social security over to the private companies so they can invest it in the stock market, cut Medicare and Medicaid, let the corporations make the laws, do away with tuition assistance, abolish the education system, no health care for Americans, and treat the people like they treated the Katrina victims. You know the Katrina victims – the ones that Bush and Brown called refugees. This is what matters and should be the headliners for your front page. Not some story about a clown whose only purpose is to make more money, more money, more money!

    August 27, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  7. larkin1974

    God... He is just a "Santa Claus" for adults. A fairly tale told to the explaining historical and scientific concepts to the gullible and ignorant .

    August 27, 2010 at 9:47 am |
    • Luke

      Yes, and you have infinite knowledge of the Universe; you KNOW there is know God because you have been to the end and back again.

      August 27, 2010 at 9:51 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'Yes, and you have infinite knowledge of the Universe; you KNOW there is know God because you have been to the end and back again'
      And you know there is no flying spaghetti monster or invisible pink unicorn for the same reason huh?

      August 27, 2010 at 10:00 am |
  8. Coexistance

    Where does this hatred and intolerence come from. To belittle and berate someone just because they don't beleive as you do is not only unlike christ like but also unamerican. The first amendment should mean something to true americans. Mormons are good people I have known many in my life. A belief in Christ is a personal matter, between the individual and the master himself. Let the master determine who the true believers are. If mormons are wrong they will learn about that on Judgement day. Don't assume that you have the right to pass God's Judgement.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  9. John N

    To somewhat answer Barton's question in the article, I see Glenn Beck as a fruit all right!

    August 27, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  10. Squeezebox

    It's not that fact that Beck is a Mormon that he's not a Christian. It's the fact that he "worships" money and thinks Ayn Rand's selfishness is okay that condemns him. In case you haven't noticed, Jesus was of a socialistic bent. "Let him who has two cloaks give one to the person who has none."

    August 27, 2010 at 9:47 am |
    • svp

      I'm a big fan of Ayn Rand. I'm also a big fan of giving up my extra coat. I just don't want the government to TAKE my extra coat.

      August 27, 2010 at 10:14 am |
  11. Mormon

    Definition – Christian

    noun

    1. a religious person who believes Jesus is the Christ

    August 27, 2010 at 9:46 am |
  12. Dave

    Didn't realize Beck was a Mormon. I always thought he was a devil worshipper.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:46 am |
  13. Luke

    CNN taking part in the effort against Glenn Beck. You have to ask yourself what the point of this article is. Is this News? No, it's just another ploy to get as many people as possible to hate Beck. I disagree with his spiritual beliefs, but that's not what this whole thing is about. It's about restoring the initial purpose of America.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:46 am |
  14. Evilyn

    Some evangelicals aren't as stupid as the rest of the evangelicals.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:45 am |
  15. larkin1974

    God... He is just a "Santa Claus" for adults. A fairly tale told to the explaining historical and scientific concepts to the gullible and ignorant.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:45 am |
  16. ReligionIsFcukingCrap

    I like Becks radio show, but when he get's all Jesus-y I have to turn it off before I puke. If I want religion I'll go listen to some child-molesitng preacher in a church somewhere.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:43 am |
  17. Mormon

    noun

    1. a religious person who believes Jesus is the Christ.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:43 am |
  18. All the muslim ladies (as song by Beyonce)

    Why are these "christians" nothing more than infantile, under-educated school yard bullies who cry foul everytime someone exposes their hypocrisy?

    According to some versions of the bible (all of which were manipulated by said christians, i.e man, not god), there is a special place in hell for people who misrepresent the lord. I hope they have a big bottle of SPF when they die, because they are gonna burn!

    August 27, 2010 at 9:42 am |
  19. OLJ

    Ladies and Gentle men it is all about Money. Now it is Glen Beck's moment to make money so he is using the opportunity to make as much as he can. Same goes to Rush Limbaugh , Palin....( I say, good for them) 🙂

    August 27, 2010 at 9:42 am |
  20. LouAz

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." Sinclair Lewis 1935.
    Coming around again. Goebbels would be proud of Beck.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:41 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.