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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. yagman

    Lagrophyn and others are great examples of folks not worth arguing with. A google search on his name reveals pretty quickly where he stands on most any issue he feels he must condemn. Does anyone really want his views on Mormonism. Try
    mormon. org..or Lds.org for the facts on what Mormons really believe. You will see that their are no secrets and you can decide for yourself what a restoration means.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:17 am |
    • LaGryphon

      yagman.....No secrets? then tell everyone right now what goes on in that temple. Don't say it's sacred either.. because it's secret combinations. Here's the thing....you can call me whatever you want....a loudmouth....I don't care. People have the right to know information regarding your cult......and not from lds.org. Milk before meat is the cult's way of drawing converts in then slamming with the hard core nasty stuff.

      August 30, 2010 at 3:35 am |
  2. Scrape

    If people like Beck are Christian, then I don't want to be a Christian. The modern day Christian is not a label I want...at all. Has nothing to do with what I believe and what I believe shouldn't really matter to anyone. I don't really care what ones beliefs happen to be, I judge people on character.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:17 am |
  3. Cindy

    WHy is anyone questining anybodies religion?? Worry about your own faith, I don't understand why people feel the need to worry about ANYONES religion, you should be asking yourself, are they are good person. That would be the better question.
    A persons religion should be only relevant to them.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:16 am |
  4. Jim Mortenson

    This article is just CNN – which is hostile to Christianity and conservatives but in love with Islam – trying to divide conservatives form each other. They know that the Dems are going to go down in disastrous defeat in November and that Obama is going to go down as one of the worst and most incompetent presidents in history and CNN can't deal with the emotional trauma. They hate Palin, Beck, Rush, and anyone else who doesn't want to give this country over to socialists, muslims, and illegal immigrant criminals.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:15 am |
    • DonnieH. Bay St. Louis Ms

      That is a moronic asinine statement which just proves the point I was making in my comment. I can see your kool aid mustache...

      August 27, 2010 at 11:23 am |
  5. Justin Edward Williams

    Fruits? Hmmm...I guess all of the Bible thumpers skip through the parts about loving your enemies, turning the other cheek, separating God and money....you know all of the things Jesus talked about...but hey, I guess we all need enemies right...so Glenn Beck, I love you, even though you are a hateful person and a megalomaniac, I love you.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:14 am |
  6. senseicg

    efinition of Christianity: the belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:14 am |
  7. senseicg

    Definition of Christianity: the belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:13 am |
  8. Josh M

    I had no idea he was Mormon. That explains a lot about him now that I do though.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:11 am |
  9. JBR

    Glen Beck's message is that this country is in severe trouble, like never before in the history of this great land. We are being attacked by people from other parts of the world who want desperately to see us destroyed and put under their rule. We have elected officials in Washington D.C. who are as corrupt and evil as never before in our history. Our elected officials are supposed to represent us – "WE THE PEOPLE". Yet they forget that they were elected to bid our will. Instead they look out for themselves by voting themselves "perks" for life that we will never enjoy. I can't believe what I am seeing in this once great country. People, why are you wasting your time disputing who is a Christian or is not. The point is that this country is in real trouble and clear thinking men and women of all faiths must unite and come up with real solutions. We need to hold our corrupt leaders accountable for their reckless and money driven decisions. WAKE UP!!! You are missing an opportunity to make a difference while we still can. The goodness of this country is being used against us and we have to for once, stop and say ENOUGH!!

    August 27, 2010 at 11:11 am |
    • DonnieH. Bay St. Louis Ms

      Wow right out of the mouth of Beck almost verbatim . He has taught you well....

      August 27, 2010 at 11:50 am |
  10. Joe C

    FRUIT ...........................of the Devil!

    August 27, 2010 at 11:11 am |
  11. Joe from Ohio

    Beck has found a ratings bonanza. After a failed stint at being a morning shock jock, he tapped into his inner weepy American and found a hidden "jackpot". Now he has to keep topping himself with increasingly wilder accusations tying the current administration to everything "bad" in the world using pretzel logic. Ca-ching$$$.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:09 am |
  12. Joe

    He's a Mormon. Mormons, no matter what they believe, aren't Christian. They say they believe in the Trinity, but their version is three different gods. They believe you can become a God. This is not Christianity. It is a cult and Beck is just a cult leader who wants you to be scammed by Goldline. It's all a false prophet deal and conservative America is falling for it. It's sad.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:09 am |
  13. Joe C

    FRUIT.............................of the DEVIL

    August 27, 2010 at 11:09 am |
  14. marym

    I'm a Mormon...and Christ knows I'm a Christian.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:07 am |
  15. ISeeThruU

    Phony Christians–using their alleged superior "faith" not to exalt God, but THEMSELVES, above mankind. Their blatant self-aggrandizing is nothing more than a tool used to judge others and in doing so gain power over them. They are deceivers and Glenn Beck is their King. If Americans can't see through this, and the "BAD FRUITS" reaped from the last administration didn't serve as enough of a warning TO ENOUGH PEOPLE (obviously at least half of the population understands what FREEDOM and the constitution REALLY mean and not the conservatives' bastardized interpretation of it); then America will reap what it sows. I for one will NEVER accept the MAGGOT-RIDDEN FRUIT these hatemongering charlatans are selling. My ancestors have been here since the country's founding, fought in EVERY war from the American Revolution to Iraq and I'M NOT LEAVING.

    "The Lord uses the Good Ones. The Bad Ones use the Lord." ~Michael Stanley

    August 27, 2010 at 11:07 am |
  16. NEON whip

    this post is unorganized. i thought mine hadn't posted because of moderation but it appears randomly. oh well, read it =]

    August 27, 2010 at 11:04 am |
  17. lance

    Evangelicals shouldn't care if he's mormon... they should care that he lacks character, isn't a quality human being, and is radically different than Christ on his social commentary.

    Beck is an idiot. HIs opinions are unchristian. and I hope that the right wing church figures this out.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:04 am |
  18. NEON whip

    it's horrible to have same s-ex marry same s-ex, but it's perfectly alright to have multiple same s-ex wives..?? deluded boxhead.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:03 am |
  19. waterman

    It is surprising that anyone would WANT to be considered Christian, as if it was a good thing.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:03 am |
  20. DownToEarth8

    Ive seen some republicans refuting claims from liberals about how theyre racist. I agree that there are clowns on both sides, and that not all GOP/teabaggers are racist. I think the racist card gets pulled by liberals largley due to the people that the GOP feels comfortable with giving a microphone and some power. Look at the main voices in the conservative movement now:

    Rush Limbaugh
    Glenn Beck
    ---–
    These two have a history of making racist comments and jokes on their shows. Limbaugh seems to make a living off poor headlines. Glenn Becks rederick has toned down since he moved to fox, and now most of his paranoia is preached through the subtlties and subtext of his monologues. I don't think calling the President, his president who is doing a better job than people give him credit for, a marxist and a socialist is a very likeable notion. Beck constantly makes claims and bends history, blaming liberals for literally everything that has gone wrong in our history. He constantly refernces the founding fathers and blindly implies that they'd all agree with him on every issue against the liberals.

    Sarah Palin
    -----
    She can say as many dumb statements as she wants, make up as many words she wants, and make America look as stupid as she wants, but as long as its cute its ok! Maybe she'd be taken more seriously if she didnt support blind rederic that Muslim Americans are terrorists. And I dunno if tolerance is her game when on her website recently, she had an image of a map in which the swing states that turned blue in the last election had targets and crosshairs on them

    Michelle Bachmann
    ------
    Not the biggest of names, but she seemingly became a folk hero in the tea party movement when she said that the President was going to put kids in "re-education camps". She was also noticably provoking angry protestors who ended up spitting racist/sexist slurs and venom at black and gay members of congress.

    Yes..Not all republicans are represented by these people, but they are the ones with the biggest voices in the republican party. Until the GOP stops being complacent about letting messages of fear and intolerance fill their party, then these claims will keep being made. Maybe itll teach some of them a lesson about not judging a book by its cover, which they like to do when it comes to things like the Islamic center.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:02 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.