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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. lhgc

    So called Christians will flip over specially Becks followers when I tell them that God put president Obama in power, just read Romans chapter 13 first few verses. You all better go back home

    August 27, 2010 at 10:25 am |
  2. Foxisevil

    "No need to de-christianize each says Jim Garlow in the article. Isn't that all the rigtwingers have been doing to the President of these United States of America? Glenn Beck IS a hate monger. The bible warns of "false prophets" in the last days, Beck is such a prophet. To all of my fellow believers in the Lord Jesus Christ I say dont allow yourselves to be decieved by this snake oil salesman- Beck. Tell me... when did Mormons ever become saved by accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior? Joseph Smith is their Lord and Savior, not Jesus. Wake up Christian America. Tell me... have you brought any gold lately? Beck sure has ,with all of your endorsements.Beck is doing what con artist do best... separating a fool, from his money. We have as Americans alway stood behing our President, even when we didn't agreed with where they were taking us. We have never as Americans hinted that they were Muslim or by inference (evil). We have never wished them to "fail", because that would mean America would fall also. So why are we doing this to President Obama? Stop allowing yourselves to be decieved. As a Christian I do not believe that Muslims are evil. On 9-11, a few evil men who listened to the devil, caused the attack on NY and DC. If we continue to let people like Glen Beck and the other "false prophets" like him ,tear this nation apart with their hate doctrine, the 19 murders from 9-11 will have defeated our proud nation. We are begging to feed on ourselves, while the few that mean us harm sit back and "enjoy the show". Stop allowing yourselves to be decieved Christian America. Please wake up. Hate is of the devil, in whichever form it manifest itself. "Perfect Love cast out all fear". Amen.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:24 am |
  3. SamIam

    Here's what members of the LDS faith (Mormon's) believe, of their web site. You decide. Christians have enough "work" to do together without de-Christenizing one another.

    1. We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

    2. We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression.

    3. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

    4. We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    5. We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.

    6. We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.

    7. We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.

    8. We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

    9. We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

    10. We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

    11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

    12. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

    13. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

    Joseph Smith

    August 27, 2010 at 10:24 am |
  4. cmkrvc

    Evangelicals, and even Mormons should not partner with Glenn Beck not because he's a Mormon, but because he's a MORON.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:24 am |
  5. DJH

    I keep seeing the same thing being said over and over again by the liberals and athiests, yet I haven't seen or heard it for myself so I'm curious – can you provide any specific examples, with an accopmanying article or video that isn't from some left wing loon rag, in support of this 'hatred and bigotry' you're speaking of from beck?
    The idea that the tea party's are inherently racist is both a lie and wholly ignorant – it also shows the level of intolerance of the left in a bright and shining light. Are there racists present? Sure, they're also present in the naacp and other places as well. Racism exists everywhere and it will never go completely away – but constantly attacking a large group of people as racist simply because SOME racists happen to attend their rallies is akin to saying all blacks are criminals; it's not true and it serves only to foment more anger but based solely on lies and disinformation. Do you twits really want to start a race war based on lies?????????? The pathetic fact is the constant cries of racism started with the empty suited obama and his minions have used it every time anyone has questioned obama's disastorous policies.
    The simple fact that you disagree with religion, or conservatives isn't proof and only makes you guilty of what you claim others are doing, in other words, you're a hypocrite... and a liar!

    I've seen beck's show a few times, but in general I don't watch it and I have yet to hear a single instance of hate or bigotry, other than hate of terrible, un-American policy. But, then I'm no liberal and I don't see someone who disagrees with me on matters of opinion as ignorant, hate filled, racist or otherwise – though it's quite clear many liberals are the most hate filled and intolerant people in this country and justify every act in silencing or attacking anyone with a conservative view point... so you've got that.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:23 am |
  6. rob

    all religion is false. all religion is wrong. when will people stop lying to themselves and realize they don't have a connection with god. I'm sorry but you don't. The faster people figure out NOT ANY religion is correct the faster we can get rid of dumbasses who are blinded by their "faith"

    August 27, 2010 at 10:22 am |
  7. DownToEarth8

    This article makes Glenn Beck look like a saint, and people keep mentioning how hes the one opening his arms...Only one problem: Glenn Beck has never opened his arms before to anyone thats not a white God-fearing conservative. I'm not the most liberal person, but after watching his show for 5 minutes, its clear he is in no way open to anyone that doesn't share his views. He has a history of making racist comments and jokes on his radio show prior to the TV show on fox. His show is nothing but extremely cynical and paranoid rhetoric that refers to liberals (who people might be surpised by the fact that they're Americans too) as a disease, questions the presidents loyalty to America, twists history into a pretzel, and in this issue, has no regard for the fact that not all people believe in his God. People can bark all they want about him being open and tolerant, but hes really being open and tolerant to christian conservatives.

    I really hope evangelicals put a damper on his day. Not because hes a mormon and I dont like that...I could care less about who practices what religion...I hope he gets shunned so he knows what it feels like to have his beliefs judged. I want him to know what it feels like to have people protest him, when all thinks hes trying to do is spread peace and understanding. I want him to be in the shoes of a Muslim American for a day, and then he can come and talk to me about spirituality and peace.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:22 am |
  8. ART

    I cannot wait till this moron goes blind then walks in front of a moving bus, thats what i would pray for if i did pray

    August 27, 2010 at 10:22 am |
  9. Wiploc

    I am a Mormon and I am embarrassed by Glenn Beck! Please do not consider him any kind of representative of the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints!!

    August 27, 2010 at 10:21 am |
  10. Reality

    History as we know it the 21st century:

    There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:21 am |
  11. Tino

    Only in America! why do we support these fake people? all they want is to become Rich and famous while Americans are getting poorer!! To hell with Glen and others like him!

    August 27, 2010 at 10:20 am |
  12. Michael S

    Nothing warms my heart more than seeing Christians hate each other. If it's any consolation Glenn I consider your brand of Christianity to be just as wacky as all of the other religions.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:20 am |
  13. ep_vet

    I agree with Glenn Beck the Morman. Jesus came to earth on a spaceship, kinda like Superman!

    August 27, 2010 at 10:20 am |
  14. Mike in Montana

    Glenn Beck is a fake and phoney, including your cult religion. Glenn Beck.., go back to your cocktail lounge and have some more drinks with your other drunks and talk about how much you know about everything.., which is nothing.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:18 am |
  15. JayKay

    All I know is that apparently you're supposed to buy gold. So go BUY GOLD EVERYONE, and you shall be saved.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:18 am |
  16. Cheo

    Glenn Beck is an oportunistic demagogue feeding the ignorants,bigots,racists and stupids...and making lots of $$$$$,while doing it...$32,000,000 last year..."What idiots'!!!...ha,ha,ha,ha

    August 27, 2010 at 10:18 am |
  17. KinNYC

    If Christ were alive today, what political party would he support? What type of goverment would he want for his flock? Republican? I think not. Capitalism, I doubt it. I love our democratic goverment but all I'm saying is that all these so called Christians don't act very Christ-like.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:18 am |
    • Doug

      Going by actions and the truth, not the lies and spin, the last thing any Democrat would want is for Jesus to return to earth today.

      Yes, being fair, honest, and compassionate to those around you, not putting their lives at risk due to your own narcisissm and elitism, is what Jesus would support. Therefore he would be proud of how people act and behave in red America, he would see blue America as evil that has been manipulated by the devil himself.

      You don't need to be a religious scholar to figure this out, just spend a week in a very red area then a very blue area. Observe how a majority of the people act and how they treat those around them. Driving while Democrat is the biggest slap in the face to Jesus' teachings, and it is a fact that in red America a man dying on the ground would not have hundreds of people walk by him for over an hour without trying to help as they do in Blue-York City. The genocide that Democrat have commited in our major cities for the last 40+ years leaves no doubt that Jesus would be anything but a liberal Democrat!

      August 27, 2010 at 10:41 am |
  18. ernesto castillo

    Lets see if I have this straight:

    Mormons believe Jesus visited indians in North America and the angel Moroni buried golden tablets in New York.
    Fundamentalist Christians choose a more literal interpretration of iron-age myths rewritten by humans over many centuries. They both claim to know the mind of the invisible man in the sky who pays special attention to all of their selfish wordly pursuits.
    Is this really a newsworthy debate between rational humans in the 21st century? It is the intellectual equivalent of children arguing about santa claus and the easter bunny.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:16 am |
  19. Kris in AL

    FOR ALL YOU MORMON AND BOOK OF MORMON BASHERS......HAVE YOU READ IT? HOW CAN A BOOK WHICH PREACHES CHRIST AND FORETELLS HIS BIRTH, DEATH AND RESURRECTION NOT BE CHRISTIAN?

    ASSUME FOR A MOMENT THAT JOSEPH SMITH WAS A FALSE PROPHET......THE CORE OF THE MORMON CHURCH IS CHRIST BASED AND LIKE THE THOUSANDS OF CHRISTIAN SECTS, DENOMINATIONS AND CONGREGATIONS.......THEY BELIEVE IN CHRIST.

    IT'S .......THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:15 am |
  20. Joshua Ayers

    Mormon?!?!?! Thats what Christians should be worried about?? How about that Glen Beck is a "former" drunk. How about that his only professional credentials are once being a top forty DJ and a college drop-out. How about the fact that he hates immigrants and minorities, that he doesn't want the government helping the poor, sick, and hurt.... Forget that he is a Mormon, as a Christian I don't support Beck because he is arrogant, hateful, and evil. Why does anyone listen to this imbecile?

    August 27, 2010 at 10:15 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.