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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. Joe

    And according to Catholics, _none_ of you are Christians. Take that 🙂

    August 27, 2010 at 10:15 am |
  2. brent

    Its just a like a "christian pastor" to say Glenn Beck is saved even though he is mormon, it is not the authority of a pastor to indicate who is and who is not saved, that would be God's job. The pastor's job is to guide....like a shepard. but these days pastor's carry a big stick and can rationalize any statement they make with scripture. But I will ask the question again, who the hell is Garlow to be handing out a free passes to eternal life as liberally as they condemn others to hell. If there is a heaven and if there is a hell, It seems to me, it should be left to a "higher authority". Not the politically motivated Garlow.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:14 am |
  3. Marc L from NY

    CNN sure does like to go after Glenn Beck. I wonder why? They don't talk to much about other guys like O'Reilly, or Olberman. But they do seem to focus negatively on Beck. Perhaps CNN feels Beck is a threat?

    August 27, 2010 at 10:14 am |
  4. tet1953

    I think that what Beck is doing in DC is horrible. First, I do not believe that he "did not realize" the date was King's. Even if that is true, he could have and should have changed it. He is reclaiming what? The Civil Rights movement? From whom? Or is he simply trying to steal thunder from a dead icon?

    August 27, 2010 at 10:14 am |
  5. ParkerNC

    @Loubo

    "Mormons are not christians. Read Revelations. It says it all. You cannot make any changes in the Bible. Mormons have made changes.'

    Here we are on the attack again. Why so brutal? By the way, the bible has been edited numerous times. Scriptures changed, books added/deleted. Looks like you should do some reading to see what changes our own church has made for their good before attacking the Mormons. Your sweet book of Revelation wasn’t even added to the bible until around 353 A.D. How’s that for an edit?

    August 27, 2010 at 10:13 am |
    • dsldex

      The same passage is also in in the old testament in the 4th book! Who cares to research and look it up?

      August 27, 2010 at 10:38 am |
    • Reality

      Nineteenth-century agnostic Robert G. Ingersoll branded Revelation "the insanest of all books".[81] Thomas Jefferson omitted it along with most of the Biblical canon, from the Jefferson Bible, and wrote that at one time, he considered it as "merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams."[82] George Bernard Shaw described it as "a peculiar record of the visions of a drug addict".[

      Martin Luther changed his perspective on Revelation over time. In the preface to the German translation of Revelation that he composed in 1522, he said that he did not consider the book prophetic or apostolic, since "Christ is neither taught nor known in it." But in the completely new preface that he composed in 1530, he reversed his position and concluded that Christ was central to the book. He concluded, "As we see here in this book, that through and beyond all plagues, beasts, and evil angels, Christ is nonetheless with the saints and wins the final victory."[84] John Calvin "had grave doubts about its value."

      August 27, 2010 at 10:42 am |
  6. LMD

    "Glenn Beck is being used by God – mightily," I think they have written this backwards. Should it not read "Glen Beck uses "God" mightily? The only "God" Beck and his ilk worship is the mighty dollar. So many of his Cult leaders minions will have a revelation of sorts when they discover this down the line.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:13 am |
  7. jc

    Once again, progressive nation-building discourse has now been hijacked by a stone-age era gibberish feuded by malcontents from the extreme wings of both political parties. The only motive for shouting down a political opponent’s point-of-view is to hurt that person. For a group to launch angry, hurtful tirades against another group and call it freedom of speech or christian faith-spreading or "language evangelicals understand" is nothing short of cowardly. Regardless of your political affiliations, go right ahead; rant and rave. Like the saying goes, “empty barrels make the loudest of noise.”

    August 27, 2010 at 10:12 am |
  8. John

    CNN, you just don't get it. But like most in the MSM, you report on Christianity like it's some ancient ancient druid sect, or an alien race (oh, but of course Islam is perfectly wonderful and we would never question its practice). Hands off both.

    And worse still, you feel the need to ravish a man whom you don't understand or agree with his –political views–, and do so by by way of his –religious views– using that nasty little "Some say..." MSM trick.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:11 am |
    • RbnLegnd101

      I applaud you use use of irony. "Some say" that Glenn invented that trick, but it's not new.

      August 27, 2010 at 10:15 am |
  9. Howard

    What a collection of complete delusional morons. Let's have an argument over who is the true representative of Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. If aliens ever come here, they will certainly leave with the impression that out planet is devoid of intellegent life. On the one hand, we have a pathetic charlatan named Glen Beck, a member of a cult founded by the pedophile and fraud, Joesph Smith who god told to bed and wed any women he was attracted to. On the other hand we have the Jesus god squaders who believe they will get a great condo in the clouds and that anyone who doesn't do what they say or believe what they believe is doomed to be tormented by a guy in a red suit with horns. How many idiots fit on the head of a pin?

    August 27, 2010 at 10:11 am |
  10. Josef

    "Glen is saved' 'He understands recieving Christ" Really, so how come he hates that which he dosen't agree with. So how come he expounds racism. I don't think that's what Christ stood for. After all the did say "turn the other cheek" Something the majority of "christians" do not do, or understand.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:11 am |
  11. Reagan

    I have wondered how the Evangelical groups have bonded with the Mormons...as their beliefs are very different. It doesn't take much to understand that it is out of need...that they all bond together to "fight" moral issues. Standing alone, financially and in sheer numbers, neither the Evangelicals or Mormons can seriously engage the left in these moral battles.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:10 am |
  12. Waylon

    All religion is the same. People do not have any self confidence and they use there religion to label themselves and as a crutch to justify their ignorance.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:09 am |
  13. RbnLegnd101

    That's how this plays out. First, "we" hate "them." After a while, "we" have to find new people to hate, so we pick some new group, kick them out of "our" group, and hate on them too. Repeat that until evntually, we've kicked so many people out of "our" group that they outnumber and overpower us, and then we aren't on top, and "they" pick on us.

    It would be amusing to see the far right kick Glenn out of the club, and have the left pick up his contract. He can make money on either side of the fence, I am sure.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:09 am |
  14. 1969er

    Hahahahahaha! This is one of the funniest and most enjoyable pieces I've ready in years. hahahahha!

    August 27, 2010 at 10:08 am |
  15. LMD

    "Glenn Beck is being used by God – mightily,"..LOL..shouldn't this read,"glen Beck uses "God",when it suits him. Another cult leader leading his minions to a majestic fall.The only "God" beck and his ilk worship are the mighty dollar.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:07 am |
  16. Brad

    I feel like there's a "ground zero mosque" argument in here somewhere.

    How is it not a slap in the face of all things civil rights and progression to have such a vitriolic consortium spewing their hatred gathered near such a hallowed space?

    August 27, 2010 at 10:06 am |
  17. Collin

    I have never seen a group of of people more dedicated to Christ or to helping their fellow man than the Mormons. They are the first to respond to any natural disaster that strikes in any part of the world regardless of faith or political leanings. They are the best neighbors. They make the best employees because they are honest and hard working people. I don't know what people use as a definition of what a Christian is, but I would take a Mormon over many of the "so called" Christians that I've met in my life. Glenn Beck has never claimed perfection, in fact he goes overboard to tell you how much he has messed up in his life. He does not have a higher education which makes it more interesting to me that he is where he is today and he knows as much as he does. I don't agree with everything he says, but I find him refreshing and honest. He loves his country and I believe that God is using him to bring all Americans together in preparation for something major......what? I don't know......but these are unsettling times and he's the only one I see and hear that is conneting the dots.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:06 am |
  18. Doug

    Glen Beck is a more loving, honest, caring, and decent human being than any Democrat in all of America, that is a fact.

    Glen believes in helping people, trying to find the truth in every instance, and judging people by their character. Not even 1% of the Democrats in this country can say this about themselves.

    Please, spend a week in an ultra red area and an ultra blue area, see who really does make a positive impact on society. Who has common decency, respect, and integrity. If there is good in your soul, after witnessing the truth, I thank you for your Republican vote this November.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:06 am |
    • Just want to know

      @Doug, you said that Beck is better than ALL Dem in all of America.....will I want you to know that it's people like you that tend to group and put labels on people, it make one wonder about your education level, do you read more then what your party( whatever it may be) put out? Are you still in that bedtime story phase in life where you mother would read to you and you fall off to sleep believing everything you just heard? I think you are a very poor judge of character if you think Beck is everything you said. Maybe you can answer this for me… What are you taking the country back from? Why did you not take it back from a president that took us to war with a person that was not a threat to our boarders, or took a surplus and turned it into a deficit in 2 years for his friends, or made sure that the wealthy would get the very best in tax breaks? On another note do you agree with the Gov’t has the right to tell you what you can build on your private land>

      August 27, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
  19. NonGrata

    Beck is an idiot Mormon, they claim to be Cristian,... whatever, he is an idiot whether he is mormon or catholic.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:06 am |
  20. GMartin

    jesus was not a christian. get it through your thick skulls. all religions are very troubling but christianity is the most ridiculous excuse for a religion there has ever been. it has been more of a political movement than a faith since very soon after it's inception by saul of tarsus. and the apocalyptic proclamations of both saul & jesus proved to be false as soon as both died but their followers were to deep in the muck to pull out and had to rationalize their belief in the most convoluted manner imaginable. three is one? risen from the dead? virgin birth? learn more about your species people. and stop incouraging these people to continue this farce.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:05 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.