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. Brownstain

    People who believe in sky boogiemen are dillusional.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:38 am |
  2. eve

    Glenn Beck, Limbaugh just loud mouthed recovering addicts. When they talk they sound llike bullies. When is the workd going to wake up and stop giving human qualities to this deity named God....That name has been used to instill fear for centuries...We are part of a universal energy....Some good some bad.....

    August 27, 2010 at 10:37 am |
  3. Craig

    Way to allow CNN to throw all of you off from what the rally is about. They have you lemmings arguing religion and Glenn Beck wants to talk to you about restoring honor. If any of you people actually listened to the man, instead of what Ricky Ticky (It's too cold in Iceland for volcanoes) Sanchez tells you about the guy, you'd already know all about him, his faith, and what this rally is really all about.

    But that's okay. Let CNN make you guys argue religion, and with some serious slight of hand, make you people totally lose focus from what's really going on. Please, continue your inane ramblings, revisionist’s history, and totally uninformed opinions about who and what Glenn Beck is all about.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:36 am |
  4. Mormon in Texas

    What I find hilarious, and possibly pretty darn scary, is that so many commentators (especially loud mouth LaGryphon)are asking us to refer to google or youtube or other sites as a backup to their claims of fact concerning Mormonism and it's teachings, Christianity, Glenn Beck, etc. I'll be the first one to tell you that if you belive everything you see on the intenet then I have some ocean front property in Arizona for sale...pretty cheap too! I'm not telling anyone to believe one way or the other, but please do some detailed research of your own from credible resources before you accept as fact anything that is claimed as fact based on these sources. That includes the sites for Mormonism such as LDS.org. Don't believe or not believe just because it's there, rather do some research on your own.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:35 am |
  5. Michael

    I have read many of these comments. It appears that people hate Glenn because of his faith and his politics. I listen to Glenn about once a week and never watch his show on TV. With only once a week of real consideration of his thoughts, I am able to know for myself that most of you do not really listen to him. He obviously loves God, people and this country. His beliefs may be different than yours and mine, but he is honest. I would remind you all of what your mother and father often told you or should have told you. If you can not say anything nice say nothing at all. Also, "he who is without sin cast the first stone". I believe this Man and will not cast stones.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:35 am |
    • Maryanne

      You know, I used to lsiten to Glenna bout 5 years ago. He was not famous, maybe #7 or 8 out of talk shows and I thought he was good and blanced and brought out some important points about inconsistencies in govt. But whne Pres. Obama started campaigning, Glenn changed and now he is like a dog with a bone, he's really a nutjob now!! Who will he vilify if Obama doesn't get a 2nd term? PS–He's converted to Mormonishm, not born into it. I believe he and his wife "shopped around" for a good religon to join.

      August 27, 2010 at 2:03 pm |
  6. Jennifer M

    Apparently, the importance of judging people by the fruits of their life only applies to Christians ... not to Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, agnostics, atheists, Ba Hai's, etc. They are all still going to hell...regardless of how much good they do in the world .... right, evangelical Christians?

    August 27, 2010 at 10:35 am |
  7. PW

    Sorry but organized religion is hyprocritical no matter what the religion is. Jesus did not belong to a church. Jesus did not bad mouth anyone either. I rest my case!

    August 27, 2010 at 10:35 am |
  8. Benji

    I am a Mormon who cannot stomach Glenn Beck. But I am even more fed up with people of my faith trying to align themselves with evangelical Christians. Fellow LDS: can we please stop trying to convince these people that we are like them? Do we really want to be like THEM? I am tired of our servile, insecure little protests about this whole notion of whether or not we are like them. Let's just be ourselves, please, and stop caring what small minded bigots think. And we should end our own bigoted impulses as well.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:34 am |
  9. Reality

    To reiterate, it is all about the founders of the major religions and their favorite "tinker bell(s)" aka angel.

    Joe Smith had his Moroni.

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tinkerer" got around).

    Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented.

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

    Some added references to "tinker bells".

    "Latter-day Saints also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

    Apparently hallucinations did not stop with Joe Smith.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:34 am |
  10. dusty

    Don't drink the Kool Aid.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:33 am |
  11. Reality

    One wonders of G. Beck ever read any non-biased history of Mormonism? Joe Smith getting messages from a mythical angel named Moroni would send rational thinkers to the exit door.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:31 am |
  12. Frank

    Standing in a garage doesn't make you a car, and attending a church doesn't make you a Christian. Beck, Palin, Bush, Cheney, and the rest of the war mongering sickos will be judged by HOW THEY CONDUCTED THEMSELVES as the Christians they claim to be.

    I am a Lutheran, and we believe in putting "faith into action," as Jesus called upon his followers to do. It seems as though Beck and Palin are only concerned with self-promotion. If Beck and Palin truly want to "restore" to our country the "honor" that Bush & Company squandered, they need to take a good long look in the mirror and restore honor FIRST to themselves.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:30 am |
  13. Jared

    As a Mormon, I'm getting tired of Evangelicals telling me if I'm Christian or not. I believe in Jesus Christ as my Savior and strive to follow His example. If being Christian means going around and judging others on what they do or don't believe, then I guess count me out. I think we need to stop focusing on our differences and focus more on our common ground. We need to reach out to the less fortunate and those in need of service.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:30 am |
  14. mfaphoto

    The big news here is Beck's idiotic convention to "Take Back the Civil Rights Movement". If you were around during the 50's and 60's, let me remind you that it was conservatives, almost all of whom were Christians, who were oppressing blacks and minorities. Some good ole boys even went so far as to bomb churches, lynch innocent people, and shoot people who went down south to make it better. Conservatives, the train left 50 years without you. You were not a part of Civil Rights and never will be. Have your little Teabag, Evangelical, Palin/Beck non event. You are wasting your time and money.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:29 am |
  15. cmkrvc

    What a country! Does anyone else have the likes of Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Bill O'Reilly, Olbermann, Matthews and FOX News as sources of opinion that mold the masses? It may not be PC, but someone should just tell them to shut up.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:29 am |
  16. Reality

    This is one strange blog.

    Some examples:

    The moderators of this blog have set up a secret, forbidden-word filter which unfortunately not only will delete or put your comment in the dreaded "waiting for moderation" category but also will do the same to comments with words having fragments of these words. For example, "t-it" is in the set but the filter will also pick up words like t-itle, beati-tude and const-tution. Then there words like "an-al" thereby flagging words like an-alysis and "c-um" flagging acc-umulate. You would think that the moderators would have corrected this by now considering the number of times this has been commented on but they have not. To be safe, I typically add hyphens in any word that said filter might judge "of-fensive".

    Then there is the chronological problem of placing comments one day earlier than the day you submitted it. Where in the h-ell did CNN get these moderators??????

    August 27, 2010 at 10:28 am |
  17. Gary

    They are all kooks.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:28 am |
  18. E

    Everything he stands for is directly AGAINST the teachings of Jesus. Jesus preached tolerance. Jesus preached love thy neighbor. Jesus said to help the trodden down. Jesus stood for freedom and justice for everyone.

    Glenn Beck and his little friends preach hate, racism, intolerance, and lies. They can call themselves whatever they want, but if they believe that they will be judged in the afterlife, they should be TERRIFIED.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:27 am |
  19. IndepConserv

    @Phred- your comment about God. That's a statement expressing an absolute belief. To add to your sarcasm, allow me to say this about translations. One, such as yourself would probably have no problem believing the the teachings of Plato. Yet, I guarantee there is more evidence of the New Testament than what he wrote. BUt you must understand that the Bible was written by witnesses in the presence of eyewitnesses over 1500 years, by 40 different authors, in 3 different languages, among many different cultures with amazing continuity. This means that if these writers had out forth lies, there would have been contemporaries to refute it. Instead, you have 18 outside sources and 20,000+ archaelogical finds that all which the Bible confirms.

    Now to Beck- The moment I found out he was Mormon, I knew he would use God generically for a while. Eventually, I knew he would start using the guilt trip tactics such as, we don't need to get tied up in religion and denominations, etc. What I mean to say is, religious pluralism. I never actually spoke with, but I contacted a certain Pastor that he has had on his show about Gleen Beck's faith. I hope he adher's to scripture, witnesses the truth to Glenn Beck, but remain aloof until he repents of his idolatry, and accepts the real Jesus.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:27 am |
  20. Lynda

    If we are considered smarter than other species, why do we not act and think for ourselves. Why do we constantly have to relie on charlatan on tv or radio to form our thoughts? Why can we not use our brains to think for ourselves? Why do we need Oprah, Glenn, Rush, Hannity, Stewart, Sharpton...etc ...to tell us how to think and feel? WHY>>>WHY>>>WHY

    August 27, 2010 at 10:27 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.