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. Scared of all of you!

    Wow, the posts related to this article are more frightening than Glen Beck. Religious intolerance, bigotry, ignorance, and misinformation on many levels. Mormons aren't any stranger than they crazy stuff those who choose to worship believe in. Liberals, Conservatives, Atheists, and Believers, or whatever BOX you want to put around yourself – stop your "I'm open minded and tolerant as long as you believe exactly as I do BS." Grow up people, can't we all just get along?

    August 27, 2010 at 11:37 am |
  2. mr.bigs

    the more you try to scratch that itch.......

    THE more Glenn Beck will come back to haunt you

    August 27, 2010 at 11:37 am |
  3. Alek

    Who cares if he's Christian? Hitler was Christian. Being Christian doesn't mean you're necessarily good.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:37 am |
  4. SueZque

    Wow! The one thing that comes through all this chatter with blazing clarity is that hatred, judglmentalism and intolerance are well and thriving among religious and non-religious alike, conservative and liberal groups. I think we all inherently know how we should treat others. How about we do it?

    August 27, 2010 at 11:36 am |
  5. Paul

    Things Mormons believe that directly contradict Biblical teaching:

    1. God (the father) has a physical body.
    2. Jesus was created and was a brother of Satan.
    3. There is a "heavenly mother" (i.e., God's wife) who gives birth to spirit babies.
    4. There are multiple levels of heaven.
    5. If you are good enough and reach the celestial kingdom, you will become a god of your own planet.
    6. God lives on or near a planet called Kolob
    7. God was once man and was elevated to godhood.

    Brigham Young taught that Adam was God although that belief is glossed over these days. Now couple all of that with the Book of Mormon saying that ancient Native Americans were an Israeli tribe (they aren't, they're Asian not Semitic) and the fact that the Book of Mormon describes animals in the ancient Americas that did not exist here (chickens, cows, elephants) then Mormonism becomes completely laughable along with downright un-Christian.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:35 am |
  6. StopIt

    The Chinese and Indian are coming... And American still bickering about religions. I through I will not live to the day to see the US Empire ends like that, but the signs are quite clear and obvious.

    If a high school educated person such Glenn Beck and Sara Palin make a significant affect in America, it open a door for intelligent and opportunist to drive this used great nation off the cliff.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:35 am |
  7. Douglas

    Fascism will arrive in America wrapped in the flag and holding a cross. Organized religion is the opiate of the masses.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:35 am |
  8. Jeremy

    Char – you're post was quite ignorant. Mormons believing Jesus and Satan are brothers is a loaded question. We believe that God created all and we are all his children. All the haters love to ask "so then if we are all his children then that means that Jesus and Satan are brothers right?" Well...I suppose. I don't think they ever sat down to family dinners or played catch though. And the Bible says nothing more can be added? WRONG! In the Book of Revelations John writes that nothing is to be added or taken away from this book. Guess what, that is centuries before the Bible as we know it was thrown together. He wasn't speaking for the Bible as a whole as it did not yet exist.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:35 am |
  9. justcurious1

    Mormonism is polytheistic.

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

    While all of you argue over who is or is not Christian, us non-religious folks will continue to accept all of you based on your actions, not your beliefs.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:33 am |
  11. NoneOFus

    Is it me or does LaGryphon have a bug up her A**. Every story i've read on CNN so far she's posting comments and none are positive, or at least contribute nothing to the conversation. It almost seems like she wants people to fire back at her and acknowledge her existence. Anyway thats my opion not a proven fact by any stretch of the imagination.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:32 am |
    • LaGryphon

      Are you stalking me? creepy don't you think?

      August 30, 2010 at 4:01 am |
  12. morris2196

    There is something about Glenn Beck's manner that "rubs me the wrong way". Regardless, an argument in favor or opposing a given political view should be judged on its merits, not on what we think we know about the speaker's heart or motivation. Who can read a person's mind, or peer into his heart? Even if we could, that would not necessarily tell us anything about the appropriateness of the political view; good people are sometimes wrong, and bad people are sometimes right.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:32 am |
  13. dontbeadupe

    Glen Beck: is just a sell-out, a modern Benedict Arnold, his religion is power, a complete narcissist; meant to make you believe your fighting the establishment, but then steer you back into the Republican party pen. Beck is a complete agent, steels the work of Alex Jones and others. Cries on cue and these supposed Christian pastors have sold out themselves, promoting false doctrine to dupe and pacify their flocks, can you say ecumenical movement. Don't get me started with Morons, I mean Mormons, I live down the road from where they're encampment is each summer, In Palmyra, NY, look it up, its a hole.. Beck is just another charlatan, a fraud. Beck is and has already sold you and this country out, he’s been paid his 30 pieces, I mean $52 million plus. Be careful, Beck is a tool of Rupert Murdoch.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:32 am |
  14. Griswold

    Why can't the christians just go away?

    August 27, 2010 at 11:31 am |
  15. Joann

    Wasn't Glen Beck originally a Christian? Well, until he married his Stepford Wife Mormon Goddess Sent from the Divine Providence!!! So maybe he considers himself "Christian" by birth.........and have it both ways!!

    But we have to remember that the Mormons follow a belief that began with a young man named Joe, who got high one night, went out into the woods near his home in New York, and thought he saw "gold" there. He then began having "conversations" with the shadows of the trees thinking they were "god". That seems to be it! And what followed became a "cultic" group who followed the Snake Oil he began to verbally produce! Now, do we see any parallel with this "Cultic Leader" on FOX, Mr. Beck, and his legions of followers? Hey, he's got his "gold" to prove it........but it's in the form of paper and its in the bank!

    And one more thought on this topic! If Mormons proclaim to be so "Christian", where are all the crosses atop their mammoth stakes and "Temples", or in their houses???!!!! No, all one can see is the Angel Macaroni with her trumpet beckoning all the converts to come in and join their nonsense!


    August 27, 2010 at 11:31 am |
  16. Lance

    I believe that Christ was hung on the cross and died for our sins. I also believe the words of the bible and believe that it is the most holy book in our possession. Therefor I am a Christian but, I am also a Mormon. I don't judge you please do not judge us.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:31 am |
  17. Marc999

    What fruit does his tree yield, you ask? Well, goldmine.com of course. I'm sure Jesus would approve of being co-opted to make money for Glenn's bank accounts and certainly, all evangelicals can relate to this having spawned the "Cash for Jesus" business model. Jimmy Swaggart, Ted Haggard, Bozo & Tammy Faye, etc. This snake oil side show is nothing new. This morning zoo keeper is just a better marketer....mixing in politics with his religoious fear mongering to make him stand out from the crowd.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:31 am |
  18. Eric

    It's always funny to watch different religious groups argue over which version of their fantasy world is "real." From my point of view, magic underwear and the Angel moroni are just as loopy as talking snakes and bushes. All religions cannot be right, but all religions could be wrong!

    August 27, 2010 at 11:31 am |
  19. john316

    Ah yes.....all the great intolerant will be in DC for their brain washing festival..... I hope they will be handing out white sheets and clown attire for alll. After all..... Fox is the Comedy channel.......and remember....the Russians did partner with the Germans....in the begining.....and so shall the Evangelicals with the Mormons.......

    August 27, 2010 at 11:30 am |
  20. One nation under God

    Though some of Glenn’s views are derisive of some of mine, I am grateful for his efforts. He is dedicating all his might, mind and strength to awaken people to their need to: learn the principles of freedom as understood by the Founding Fathers who gave us the Constitution, to reconcile themselves with God, to get closer to their families and prepare for troubles to come. If each person, regardless of the name of their faith, will focus on being the kindest, most loving individual they can be and will edify all others who care about what is happening to our country and link arms with them in working to preserve this nation under God, the Holy Spirit will unite us and our efforts will prosper. Without such unity, we can do very little if anything.

    August 27, 2010 at 11:29 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.