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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. MP

    I am a Mormon who can’t stand Glenn Beck. But to the point of the article that is so laughable to me is the arrogance that evangelicals have in claiming to know whether a person is “saved”. Are you serious? No one on earth can hand out such an assessment- only Jesus Christ. Evangelicals hate Mormons because we’ve been stealing their flock for over a hundred years- all they can do in defense is hate on us and encourage their followers to do likewise. Sit down with a Mormon and see what we believe (if you dare!) How easy it would be to say “I’m saved” and call it good. How about a life of sacrifice and discipleship? Everything about this article is ridiculous. It belongs in the news of the absurd.

    August 27, 2010 at 2:02 pm |
    • bblack

      Why should it not be that easy .......I did not earn salvation nor can i possible be required to work in order to keep it ...... The Gift is not a reward but rather an undeserved mercy given to those whom He choses. The thief on the cross did not have to come down and complete a task to qualify for his salvation , no the Lord chose him and that is all that is necessary. Faith is our work.
      It's excruciating work to maintain your faith in a world so appose to it......lol .

      August 27, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
  2. Common Sense Chic

    I'm confused by all the "ratings" comments.

    Don't ratings go up on shows that people like to watch? No one forces people to watch particular shows.

    I would think more networks should pay attention to their content if it isn't what "the people want."

    After all, if other networks had higher ratings they would be claiming it was because they offered superior content.

    Just sayin...

    August 27, 2010 at 1:56 pm |
  3. The Deep Toucher

    The Deep Toucher
    Who cares whether Mormons are Christians other than people who are in the midst of their own spiritual crisis? With respect to accurately describing Mormonism, the only predicate that matters is Bat-Guano crazy. They believe, and by they I mean the men, that when they die, they get their own planet. In outer space. Have you ever hiked through the valleys in Utah? Giant locked vaults are dug into the sides of mountains there. What are they for? What manner of crazy drills numerous giant vaults as big as my house into the side a mountain, knowing full well that they are going to eventually get their own outer space timeshare? If you want to get rid of Beck, ask him on live television whether he personally believes that he will receive his own planet.

    August 27, 2010 at 1:40 pm |
  4. Really

    Glenn Beck = Anti-Christ
    Interesting that he tells all his viewers about History, yet said he is was never good at history. This is how history repeats itself. Fact check his "claims" they are for the most part unfounded.

    August 27, 2010 at 1:36 pm |
    • alf

      What Beck says is that he was never good at history but now as an adult recognizes how important the study of history is. He says that he is now devoting a large part of his life in that study. Is there some kind of timer on life that says it is too late to learn? His shows on history are about sharing what new things he has learned . Is there really anything wrong with that?

      August 27, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
  5. RB

    I know this is a simple logical expansion...but if we are American's, thus denoting that we live/born in America, then we must acknowledge the presence of the laws of America. When did the seperation of Church and State become optional?

    August 27, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
  6. T Diemer

    This controversy just shows how bigoted this T party Conservative bisiness is. Beck is supposedly one of their heroes and the movement is castigsting him because of his religion.Beck is getting what he deserves. If he had any sense he would see this as a bigoted action from a bigoted movement.

    August 27, 2010 at 1:33 pm |
  7. jeff

    Glenn beck must be putting to much starch in his magic underwear lately.

    August 27, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
  8. TFParker

    What Christan sect would claim this lying hypocrrite, who is only in it for the persoanl glory, power and money.

    August 27, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
  9. mimsie

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

    August 27, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
  10. TFParker

    Why would any Christian sect claim this lying hypocrite, who is only in it for the glory and $$$$?

    August 27, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
  11. LMH

    I'm LDS (Mormon) and I admire Glenn Beck. He is very courageous. He speaks out on issues that no one else is brave enough to tackle in this politically correct world. I have seen commentators here many times criticize Glenn for his "hate." Just who, exactly, does he claim to hate? It is obvious that those who claim he is full of hate, do not watch his show. (OK, Ok, he does 'hate" Woodrow Wilson...but other than that...?)

    It is hard to maintain your integrity when you are in a position of power, as Glenn finds himself in. I worry sometimes that he will be tempted to lose his spiritual focus in the rush of power. However, just yesterday, he said on his show that he would give up his life, he would give up his fortune, but he would never give up his "sacred honor." I don't always agree with everything he says or does, but I do believe he is a man of honor. I see his "fruits" and I believe he is doing what he sincerely believes is the right thing to do.

    As far as ratings go, Glenn has said many times that if he wanted ratings/money he wouldn't talk about things people don't want to hear-such as the idea that they should repent and return to God, and the idea that the future looks bleak unless we each take personal responsibiltiy and change ourselves. Sounds like the recipe for a ratings bonanza!

    One final note... we (Mormons) are defintely Christians! I love Jesus Christ and strive to follow His teachings everyday. My family is reading the book of John everyday right now. Thanks for reading and have a nice day! 😉

    August 27, 2010 at 1:04 pm |
  12. Reagan

    Instead of wasting all your time on this stuff...watch this video and learn what's really wrong with America:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNUc8nuo7HI

    August 27, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
    • Common Sense Chic

      Wow. This guy is impressive.

      August 27, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
  13. VA97207

    Thank you Jim Garlow! As a "Saint" and an individual with a dual-citizenship in the kingdom of heaven already, I will use your name anytime another protestant questions my "being saved" and understanding the "receiving of Christ as Saviour".

    'Glenn is saved,' " Garlow said in his memo, which was dated Wednesday. "He understands receiving Christ as savior."
    -Jim Garlow

    August 27, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
  14. Robert

    Let's not pretend the issues addressed in this story have anything to do with religion. Like many parts in our society, this all boils down to one thing, money. Money for Beck, for Fox, and for the churches who will most assuredly be claiming tax exempt status. I was given a piece of advice once; never trust a church with cushioned seats and is considering building a gymnasium. Please don't take this too literally, the point is if a church has a high priority of making money, then how can they effectively serve the spiritual needs of the congregation? Too often I see Christians wearing the "WWJD" bracelets while NOT doing what Jesus would do. For those who actually follow the teachings of Christ (ie. unconditional kindness and patience), regardless of their religion or beliefs, they are the people who are doing what Jesus would do. I can't imagine Christ condoning most of what Beck does or says, only forgiving him for it. It is for this reason I don't believe Beck is a Christian, and not because he's a Mormon.

    August 27, 2010 at 12:37 pm |
  15. This is not religion

    I am a believer but not in organized religion. I don't need anyone or any book to tell me what is right or wrong and those who do are the problem. If you can't understand that wrong, evil, sin or whatever you call it is when your actions hurt others than you are truly soulless and no book or TV mad man can help you. Organized religion is for weak people who don't have the strength within themselves to choose a good and just path. Mad men like Beck and FOX use this weakness as a tool to control these weak people. I don't have a problem with people who have different views but when you feel others must be hurt so your views can prevail than you are truly Godless no matter how many times you call his name or pretend to be working on the behalf of good. All of you who worship at the feet of your God Glen Beck need to realize his God is money he makes lots of it every time he beats up on another weaker group to the cheers of his crazed follows. The proof of this is him taking his pay from a network at which one of the major investors is in fox reporting own words tied to terrorist extremest. Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal owns a huge chunk of Fox he is also a major investor in the Ground Zero mosque so if Beck and his friends at fox where truly so righteous how can they take money from a man who is funding something they say is so wrong! It only shows that money is Beck's religion and he will do anything for it. FOX News it all about rating and market share. Give the people what they want and they will give you what you want MONEY.

    August 27, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
  16. JB

    Let's change the word Christian to Christlike and see how many show up. In the end, many will be deceived. When the little "c" christians aren't part of the few who will enter they will be told that they were worshiping a nation not the kingdom and spending all their time building a political base and not building up their neighbor. There are 2 commands...Love God and love your neighbor. I've read Jesus' words many times and never once did he attempt to change the Roman government. To the contrary, He submitted himself to their laws even unto death. You may believe that you are a compassionate conservative but eternally you are a theologically forever separate from God liberal.

    August 27, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
  17. JCC

    Interesting article who's purpose is to 'divide' those who support Glen Beck. CNN is crafty, placing the initial title of the article on the front page as "Evangelicals question Beck's Christianity", then when you actually go to the link, the tile is "TRENDING: Some evangelicals on defensive over partnering with Glenn Beck, a Mormon". So right there is the first zing at the supporters – "Evangelicals question Beck", yet in the article the only 'Evangelical' even sited is a single "conservative writer".

    I don't believe that Mr. Howse speaks for the majority of 'Evangelicals' in the United States, yet the article states "Evangelicals" question Beck's Christianity. Then the bring argument that Mormonism isn't considered "Christian" by "many Christians".

    All I see throughout the article is an attempt to 'divide and conquer' from this CNN writer.

    I am not a journalist, I wonder what this writer's credentials really are. I thought that journalism was all about Who, What, When, Where, Why and How?

    A. "Who" are the Evangelicals that are questioning Beck's Christianity?
    1. "after some Christians complained"
    2. "Christian critics of the event"
    3. "who many evangelicals say is not a Christian"
    4. "Many Christians say"
    5. "Many conservative evangelical activists argue"
    6. "Other evangelical activists have gone further, arguing"

    The only person listed is a 'christian writer'. Who are all these Christian Evangelicals and critics of Beck...list them, name them otherwise, this is all fabricated and 'here say'!

    B. What
    What exactly have all these Evangelicals said or stated. Oh, forgot, the article doesn't state anyone, just states generalities.

    C. When
    When did these people state this information about Beck? Oh, yeah, forgot, there isn't anyone in particular the writer is talking in here say generalities.

    D. Where
    Exactly where were these statements against Beck made by these Evangelicals? Hmm writer doesn't know because he didn't interview anyone other than some two-bit writer.

    E. Why
    Why was it said, oh yes, because he is a Mormon and of course all Christians (sorry, Evangelicals) know that Mormons aren't really 'Christians'.

    F. How
    How was the information obtained? Hmmm...made up, here say or just talked to 2 people, one for and one against Glenn. Hmmm?

    So yes, the article is simply to stir the pot just as it has done here in these comments. So it has done it's job ...thanks liberal left media for stirring the pot. Can't say it's decent journalism but it has done it's job...or has it?

    My kid would have gotten an 'F' on this piece if he had written it in his high school journalism class.

    August 27, 2010 at 12:21 pm |
  18. jeffsmathers

    Hey! My brother and sister Christians ..... uhhh, you have a splinter in your eye! It's your type of religeosity that will divide our nation into hypocrites ..... We already have the Republicans and Democrats, are you going to add to them?

    I hope that this changes the hearts of Americans who have fallen fallow and impassionate, and have been filled with apathy for the chance and choice of freedom and liberty from a growing tyrannical government of which we yet still have a chance to keep whole and viable, yet only by a thread.

    Ladies and Gentlemen.... You have the chance to change the syndrome that gave you this. Get rid of EVERY politician who has been in office longer than one term. And elect people who are not lawyers or lobbiests or have a net worth greater than $1M. Preferably they may own a small business and have a good grasp of the constitution and what individual liberty and soverignty means....Purge the cancer! It's our only hope.

    August 27, 2010 at 12:17 pm |
  19. Wade

    I am surprised in our generation of information technology that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or any religion for that matter can be so misunderstood. It is sad that that church is always the target; either way Glen Beck is trying to stand up for the FREEDOM of United States; including the right to worship just like anyone else. If you are confused, I invite you to check out mormon.org, lds.org to learn Mormons are Christian. While you pursue this, Glen is doing a good thing hear if you believe what he is standing up for.

    August 27, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
  20. Average Dude

    Beck is a mormon? I was actually quite sure he was a MORON.

    Oh well, nevermind...

    August 27, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
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About this blog

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.