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. Punk

    All of the religious nut jobs are hypocrites. All of them manipulate the "word of the bible" for their own agendas. It's all a bunch of B.S.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:28 am |
  2. Matteo

    Could Beck be the anit-christ, just puttin it out there

    August 27, 2010 at 11:28 am |
  3. Jeremy

    As a Mormon, I don't care if you call me Christian or not. I certainly care that Jesus Christ Atoned for the sins of mankind. I care about the Jesus of the New Testament, and Jehovah of the Old Testament and hold that as the standard of perfection that I should strive for.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:28 am |
  4. trixen

    I think all these religious nuts are wacko.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:26 am |
  5. Tim Doogan

    I thought Beck converted to the Mormon faith. Geez, this guy can't finish anything he starts. 😉

    August 27, 2010 at 11:26 am |
  6. Craig Duckett

    Evangelicals would do well to question their own Christian beliefs, since I suspect very few have devoted any real time to dedicated research, historical analysis, or critical study, all of which demand more than unthinking compliance to the hidebound status quo or ability to quote the same few preselected passages. It's easier and safer to permit someone else to explain how and what one ought to believe than to step out on one's own and forge a path through the brambles of unknown territory.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:26 am |
  7. C'mon Son

    I don't have a problem with them gathering.... I have a problem with the day and place they picked to assemble. Why pick there when you can still hear the echoes of people calling out that the tea party and FoxNews are a racist organizations. it may not be racist but it's highly insensitive to say the least.

    Although the klan's new philosophy is to hide in plain sight (hmmmmm). Religion should not be taken so seriously and should not involve its self in politics period.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:25 am |
  8. Born Again Sammi

    One of the major areas where the Mormon religion differs with Judeo-Christian teachings is the fact that they are polytheists; believers in multiple gods. This is in direct contradiction to the first commandment delivered directly from God through Moses. The Mormon religion teaches that the men can become gods when they die.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:25 am |
  9. Mezzo

    It is all well and good that Glenn Beck has accepted Jesus as his personal savior, because Mormons believe that mortals can become gods and be on the same plane as Jesus. They will then rule their own "world" and be god over it, continuing to procreate in their other world. Personally, I would not want want to worship a being that is no better than I am! I'm afraid that this sect affects all its members to the point of warping their prospective of religion. For this sect to refer to itself as "christian" is just totally wrong!

    August 27, 2010 at 11:25 am |
  10. Char

    If Mormons are Christians why no cross on the church? They have some crazy story about Jesus and Satan being brothers? Even though the Bible strictly condemns any additions to the book they come up with the Book of Mormon. Many of their "beliefs" come straight from the Masons and their mystical beliefs.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:24 am |
  11. Bend it like Beck

    Well, I'll add my two cents. Beck is irrelevant and nothing more than a hate monger. I can't wait for the 'Rush like" scandal that will befall him. I don't typically take pleasure in someone else's pain, but I will gladly do so here. As for his religion. I don't care, but Christians are so divisive, that this will only help marginalize him and take some of his followers (lemmings) away as the become conflicted over whether to follow him or their church.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:24 am |
  12. Jeremy

    want to hear something scary? Harry Reid is a Mormon! Why aren't people up in arms about it? Come on! Beck seems to get all the negative press about it because of his conservative views.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:24 am |
  13. Jersey George

    I don't know about you, but these God and Jesus freaks on the board are a scary bunch!

    August 27, 2010 at 11:24 am |
  14. NorCalMojo

    hahaha, this should give the rabid left their morning dose of hate.


    August 27, 2010 at 11:22 am |
  15. jack

    Extremely funny story about Glenn Beck at http://newspile.weebly.com/

    August 27, 2010 at 11:21 am |
  16. Clare

    "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."

    HA HA HA HA HA....one could argue so are the terrorists in the name of their "GOD". All these religious folks are nothing but hypocrital morons. And Glen Beck being one of the biggest (both literally and figuratively)

    August 27, 2010 at 11:21 am |
  17. TerryG

    I'd think they'd do better to question his sanity????

    August 27, 2010 at 11:19 am |
    • DonnieH. Bay St. Louis Ms

      His magic underwear will save us all...All that agree with him and his really dumb patronizing view on things that is...

      August 27, 2010 at 11:55 am |
  18. Karen Awad

    first the one thing that would give me the most pleasure would be not to see or ever hear from Glen Beck again. Romney may be Mormon but he doesn't spew the hate and devisiveness that Beck does daily. It's disgusting. I don't watch Fox at all due to Beck, Hannity and O'reilly and their lies and deceitfulness..even their guests are nasty and disgusting. I see what these guys say and I shake my head at the gall and the patent delliberate lies..All of these guys are gutless cowards. They just sit back daily and spit out their horrendous opinions and dispicable lies and get away with it...that's the media of the USA. No regulations and all about the hype. ai thinnk people who listen to these guys are pathetic and have no sense of self worth or intelligence. it's pure sick that's the bottom line. any product that advertises on Fox, I don't buy period!

    August 27, 2010 at 11:19 am |
  19. Ken in Florida

    I personally don't care whether Glenn Beck is Christian, Mormon, Baptist or any other religion. When it comes down to it, I don't believe his religion (or lack thereof) has anything to do with his public political views. The only thing that fuels his ideas is celebrity. I think he would say that Jesus and Buddha drink beer together every friday if he thought it would get him ratings and that peope would believe it. He has no regard for the harm he is doing to the unity of the country or the divisive nature of his inflammatory message. If he wants to really help this country get back to it's former glory, quit spouting skewed versions of history and retire.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:18 am |
  20. WesternNYguy

    What has Beck said that's mean. He believes people have the right to be who they are, as long as they don't infringe on others. Alas, Dem's just hate all successful, rich, well to do people. So, guys like Glenn (and Rush) are bullseyes for their anger. So sad...

    August 27, 2010 at 11:18 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.