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. ShowyourFace

    They are ALL cults. Not one is any more "spiritual" than the other. Currently isalm seems to be the most dangerous as they are about as tolerant of others as the christians 600 years ago. At least christians have evolved a bit, however, due to the enormous amount of judgemental and catty behavior that I've witnessed in various churches over the years, I avoid them. I can find friendlier people in the real world and it doesn't cost me any money. When religion treats women as true equals and actually practices what it preaches then maybe I'll ... oh nevermind, that will NEVER happen

    August 27, 2010 at 10:04 am |
  2. johnnyhouse

    Read history beginning in 1946 with the bombing of the KIng David Hotel and then read through 1948 and the Truman decisions and find out that these wars we are in started then and came to a head on 9-11.Decisions in 1948 decided our fate and your children's future. It is up to you to decide whether decisions made then have been a benefit to America. Religion is one thing, with thousands of them .Does the one God,all of them agree on, support all of these differences?

    August 27, 2010 at 10:04 am |
  3. Doug

    Not a single person right of center has ever expressed such hate and anger for Islam as a majority of Democrats are expressing here for Christianity.

    Most of you can't claim ignorance. You see people living out the teaching of Jesus in the red areas of America, they exhibit kindness, respect, love, and compassion for all the people around them. The best test is on the roads, that is where you don't face the person and you truly show who you are and the values you live by.

    Compare that to how they act in the blue areas. Go drive around the DC, Chicago or NYC area. You will see the devil has consummed the souls of all these evil Democrats. They will put your life at risk for no reason, their Democrat narcisissm, hate, and elitism makes their actions behind the wheel of an automobile the #1 killer in America, driving while democrat!

    There is a reason why libs must go through believing there is no god. All religions are against the liberal Democrat way of treating other people. Compare how people act in red vs blue areas, check the murder, rape, and crime rates per person in the blue cities and counties compared to the red towns and counties. You are correct that it is about color, but those colors are blue and red.

    These days you cannot be a Democrat unless your core values are hate, lies, and selfishness. Just observe a liberal, in a nation of millions you can count the exceptions on one hand.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:01 am |
  4. Ray

    The answer to David Barton's question, "What fruits do you see produced by Beck", is hate and bigotry. He twists history to his own ends. Good can not come from lies.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:00 am |
  5. CNN Watch

    CNN is a bunch of Bigots!!!

    August 27, 2010 at 10:00 am |
  6. saganhill

    This is really scary that grown adults actually beleive that there is a grey haired old man who lives in the sky and yet these people also want to have power over us. That will be the day when these religious nuts make me follow chrisitan DOGMA. I will take up arms to protect the take over of this Country by any religious sect.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:59 am |
  7. Rabbi David

    I think most of this is off target.Who cares what Beck believes? The guy is a walking public safety hazzard.The things he says are from the perspective of a lay person and often without foundation or credibility even by the "media mafia's" progressive standards.If John Stewart can take what you do in parody form and show your a crack pot-you've got a problem WAY outside of the bounds of religion or sanity for that matter.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:57 am |
  8. Jan

    I'm in favor of Glenn Beck's endeavors. I think he is sincere in reuniting America spiritually and getting us back to where we should be. Things in America are out of control. It boggles my mind sometimes when i think of how far away we've gotten from good moral standards, pride in our country, and accountability. It doesn't matter which day he chose to hold the ralley, it would have stepped on someone's toes. You can't please everybody. Besides, MLK, Jr. has a birthday and death commemoration. I think it should have been planned to coincide with the anniversary of the speech anyway. The subject matter is somewhat related. You go, Glen Beck!

    August 27, 2010 at 9:56 am |
  9. Temple East

    Go away Glenn your nuts

    August 27, 2010 at 9:55 am |
  10. BeVeryAfraid

    "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?"


    August 27, 2010 at 9:55 am |
  11. DoctorV

    I am a Mormon and yes, I assure you we are Christians.

    I do, however, sincerely hope people don't think we are all like that nut-job Glenn Beck. I voted for Obama and happen to think he's doing a reasonably good job.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:54 am |
  12. Temple East

    Glenn Beck is a crazy nut that is a professional lier and he needs to be taken off television and radio and go get a real education. Anyone who likes him is a nut

    August 27, 2010 at 9:54 am |
    • johnnyhouse

      Come back in about 2 years and see if you have changed your mind.

      August 27, 2010 at 9:56 am |
  13. johnnyhouse

    We are in the mess we are in now because of religious beliefs.We could end all the problems if we bowed to the Muslim threat as our President finds is the easiest way.Keep preaching religious freedom and find your self in Muslim bondage.You who voted this government in deserves all the good things you are about to receive.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:54 am |
  14. Liz


    August 27, 2010 at 9:54 am |
  15. Gwen

    Mormonism is a cult......Paul warns in the bible about false teachers and mormonism falls into this category...Instead of calling it LDS, it should be called LSD because some of their beliefs are out of this world...Moroni must have been a demoic angel...Glen Beck is going to take a lot of so called Christians to hell with him because of his beliefs and actions..Mormons used top believe that black people were cursed and was not even allowed in their religion..Now since they couldn't seem to get many converts, they have started allowing some misguided blacks to become members...The bible is the word of God and it has already said, if you add or take away from it, you are damned....Glen Beck and all of his imps are going to self destruct..

    August 27, 2010 at 9:54 am |
  16. Sam

    bigots vs. bigots, how entertaining!

    August 27, 2010 at 9:53 am |
    • melissa

      I'm reading all of this and the above. It;s just ?!! totally . For all of us ..look at yourselves. Ought to be a shamed. You all sound like a bunch of Saturday night closet boozers go too Church Sunday, and all is well. He see's us all as we are.

      January 19, 2012 at 2:06 am |
  17. branson

    The "fruits" of Glenn Beck are better than Clinton or Nancy Pelosi? WTF?? For some reason, I think if I invited Bill or Nancy to a party, they would be gracious people who, even if they didn't go to church, would act and speak consistently with Christian principles. If I invited Beck, he'd gather a crowd around him while he spews hate speech. No wonder Christianity is losing membership. With the "fruits" of Beck, Limbaugh and other hate-mongers, it's no wonder.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:53 am |
  18. Bill

    I for one think he's muslim 😉

    August 27, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  19. Matthew

    "I don't care if rains or freezes long as I got my plastic jesus riding on the dashboard of my car"

    August 27, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  20. Kyle

    What a STUPID fukcin story

    August 27, 2010 at 9:49 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.