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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. LaGryphon

    Is anyone else getting "your comment is awaitng moderation"? What?

    August 27, 2010 at 2:48 am |
    • Kate

      @LaGryphon

      CNN's blogs on wordpress have an archaic bad word filter built in that will trap on words that are bad, or contain sub-words that are bad (and I do mean archaic). If your post has words that match the filtered words, or part of the word does, it gets blocked from posting and is held for moderation.

      Except they never go through and approve posts that are held, so forget it ever showing up.

      August 27, 2010 at 2:52 am |
    • SumDumGuy

      @Kate

      I have had "moderated" posts that were later approved. Usually quickly, but sometimes it took an hour or two.

      August 27, 2010 at 3:03 am |
    • Frogist

      @LaGryphon – if you hyphenate or edit words that contain t-it (like const-ituion), c-um (circ-umstance) or s-ex (hom-ose-xuality) your post will go through. This is not the full list though.

      August 27, 2010 at 1:04 pm |
    • Kate

      I really wish there was a way to get hold of the actual people who decided to move the blogs over to wordpress MU and point out to them that they're making their own jobs harder using this regexp based POS instead of something like Intense Debate, but there isn't 🙁

      My biggest worry is that they'll finally get around to noticing they're reinventing the wheel every post and decide to switch to that Facebook system they're using on other CNN blogs, which will be a total mess 🙁

      August 27, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
  2. Renee Sterling

    I was raised Mormon, but I have been a practicing Muslim now for 24 years. My Mormon family loves Glenn Beck, while I do not hold his views. Promoting hateful speech and actions is counter to all five of the major world's religions, and I am greatly concerned that Glenn Beck's passionate rhetoric will insight ignorant people to violence. Meanwhile, I love my family, attend church with them when I visit, participate in interfaith groups when I can, and remain content with my life as a Muslim. Treating others as I would like to be treated remains a core belief in my faith. Peace, Namaste, Shalom, As-Salaamu Alaikum.

    August 27, 2010 at 2:47 am |
    • Nomad27

      And as a Muslim you truly know what hate is all about.

      August 27, 2010 at 2:50 am |
    • Kate

      @Nomad27

      Muslims get to read examples of it on here every day. And no-one's scheduled a Book of Mormon Burning day ... although going by the comments on this thread so far, I'm amazed no-one's come up with the idea yet.

      Just sayin'

      August 27, 2010 at 2:59 am |
    • travis

      Nothing in his comment alluded to any form of hate in his beliefs, yet you make the leap that his faith aligns him with hate. You are the person who knows about hate, like most christians. You hate gay people, liberal people, non-christian people, non-American people, probably minority people. People like you are the bane of this country.

      August 27, 2010 at 3:00 am |
    • Gardeness

      @ nomad

      YOU are the hate-filled horrible person. How dare you?! That has got to be the most ignorant vitrolic statement I have seen. AND it was a non-sequitor. Disgusting.

      August 27, 2010 at 4:49 am |
    • Ryan

      I was gonna comment to nomad again, but it looks like you all got to it first. Those are the words of a BIGOT.

      August 27, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
  3. FRANK MURAR

    I think that right thinking Americans believe in freedom of religion, and all this discussion of Mormonism vs Christianity is not appropriate in this context. I admire Glenn for the fruits that he produces for our benefit and at great peril, judgingfrom the stupid vitriolic comments sent his way. For example, he was derided as a hate-spewing bigot. What a glob of "bullpucky" that is!

    August 27, 2010 at 2:46 am |
  4. Pat

    Glenn Beck is an self-professed addict; I know a lot about addiction and for a long time I have become more fearful of Glenn Beck's rantings knowing that addiction is only a sympton of, in many cases, a much deeper problem.

    I am not a professional, just thoughtful and worried because I think he could be a dangerously angry man or stimulate dangerous actions by others; undoubtedly, he is not in recovery and is fully unleashed. I wish Fox News or whoever lets him rant would censor him. He may be free of whatever his addiction was or is, but that means nothing; he is into hate and extremism. I don't know what our blessed country is coming to. Let's pray he stops being allowed to express his hateful view. I don't pray, but I am going to start.

    My moment of clarity and fear of him came when I heard the tone of his voice "mocking our President's daughter knocking on the door to her Father's bathroom". It was eerily creepy and scary.

    The media is responsible in many ways for what and how they cover the days' news.

    August 27, 2010 at 2:45 am |
  5. Vince

    If Clinton and Nancy have the wrong fruit does that mean the right has all the fruits?

    August 27, 2010 at 2:44 am |
    • Nomad27

      As a Conservative I must say that was a funny and witty comeback....well played.

      August 27, 2010 at 2:49 am |
    • travis

      They certainly have all the nuts. And I am not making a reference to the symbolic kind symbolizing courage.

      August 27, 2010 at 3:02 am |
    • CC

      Yeah they are bananas.

      August 27, 2010 at 3:07 am |
    • David

      derp

      August 27, 2010 at 5:14 am |
  6. Derron

    Bullocks!!!!!!!!!!!!! This stinks of hypocrisy and right wing dung. All of a sudden Glenn Beck faith is not to matter where as Obama's does. It is such a pity that this racial matter is so embeded into the hearts of these men and women that they believe their own hype. By no means does Becks religion plays a role when they are allowed to have multiple wives and pretty much rape young girls before they truly mature and call it marriage. Sounds more like criminal than it does religion. Where was Glenn Beck and all of this crap before this African AMERICAN male took office.

    There is one thing that I can agree upon...Denomination does not matter if hate is the main religion. In the words of Ghandi, " I would be a Christian, if it were not for Christians." As a Christian and an African American male, God is not pleased with this hatred. Get over it...HE WON! Your time will come and there will be no such rallies because the sane people gets it. There should be Psychiatrist on hand for this rally with straight jackets locking all that attends in a room that is not padded, yet lined with barbed wire and shock therapy.

    GET A LIFE AND STOP TRYING TO HIGHJACK AMERICA!!!!!!!!

    August 27, 2010 at 2:43 am |
  7. aklr

    It does not fit my idea of logical sane and unbiased people (which most of you claim you are) to attack the LDS faith as a cult. Nor does it make sense to judge every one of its members based solely on the examples (quite a lot of which are bad ones at that) of the members that you see in the media. Do you know who we are? What we believe? What we stand for? Before you condemn us for being bigots, take the time to figure that out. Because until you do, you are no better than what you accuse us of being.

    On the topic of our Christianity... While our faith does not conform to Orthodox Christianity, that is not entirely what the label means, nor is it what we claim it means. We accept, without reservation, Jesus Christ as our Savior and the head of our church. That would, I believe, make us Christian.

    August 27, 2010 at 2:42 am |
    • LaGryphon

      I do know what you believe in....blood oaths in the temple.....being disemboweled if you break the oaths in the temple. That all black people are descendants of Cain. You cannot enter into the celestial kingdom unless you live the law of polygamy. Brigham Young stated that mixing the blood between a black person & a white person is punishable by death. Brigham Young was & is a prophet of God according to your religion/cult & that "when the prophet speaks the thinking is done". You believe that if you are not a Mormon you cannot enter Heaven, hence the "dead dunking" of all people that ever lived on this earth. Do you really want me to proceed?

      August 27, 2010 at 2:54 am |
    • LaGryphon

      CNN reported that Beck is rewriting history & he learned if from the Master at it.....the Mormon's. Their history is so scandalous that is has to be re-written to be palatable for it's members & new prospects.

      August 27, 2010 at 2:57 am |
    • dsldex

      la la la....r u gay? is this why you have so much hatred to the LDS faith? do you not realize that hating others is only going to affect you? get a life la la man!

      August 27, 2010 at 5:30 am |
    • LaGryphon

      dsldex.....I'm not gay & that's another homophobic response which you use when you have no other way of defense. You haven't answered my questions have you?

      August 27, 2010 at 6:18 am |
    • LaGryphon

      dsldex....being cornered & having no response other than to insinuate I am gay is typical. Are you gay? Is that all you've got?

      August 27, 2010 at 6:28 am |
    • Ryan

      Dsldex- wow man you just got owned. Do you care to explain why lala is wrong in what he said? Im not saying either of you is right or wrong, but with a feeble comment like "r u gay" because someone questioned you makes you look weak. Why not come back with some proof or thought.

      August 27, 2010 at 12:15 pm |
    • alf

      ryan: didn't you tell me in a previous post that asking for proof is just a game that should not be played? It's kind of difficult to just let ignorant declarations go by without some sort of challenge , isn't it?

      August 28, 2010 at 1:10 am |
  8. wanna2know

    What would Jesus say about Mr. Beck? Sounds like Christians are not supporting their brother.

    August 27, 2010 at 2:42 am |
  9. Esmeralda

    God bless Glenn Beck. Wish I could attend the rally.

    August 27, 2010 at 2:42 am |
    • Jim X

      Why do you expect and wish God to bless the spreading of fear, hate and intolerance? Is your God created in your own image?

      August 27, 2010 at 2:51 am |
    • John

      I figure it's like the American Civil War, where both sides thought they had God on their team.

      August 27, 2010 at 8:38 am |
    • Ryan

      Thats a good thought John. Its also like the baseball game tonight, where both teams pray to God for a win. Well, is God a Cardinal or Cubs fan?

      August 27, 2010 at 12:10 pm |
  10. KJ

    Stop already! You're all brainwashed. Open your minds and really think about it. What happens to the infection that dies when you take an antibiotic? Does it go to "heaven"? What happens to the mosquito that you swat? Does it go to heaven? What happens to the deer you shoot? Does it go to heaven? What happens to the dog you love and then dies? Does it go to heaven? What happens to the serial killer when he dies? Does he go to heaven or hell? What will happen to you when you die? The same thing that happens to ALL LIVING THINGS. They quit living and are no longer part of our living world or any imaginary place (e.g. heaven). "Heaven" was created as a control over society and as a coping mechanism for those who cannot accept death. Religion gobbled up "heaven" when they found it very lucrative. Politicians cannot resist the $ attached to these religions and propagate the lie. Open your minds and think about it. We are on this earth for a finite period of time. Live your life as if it's your last because it is. Think about it.

    August 27, 2010 at 2:41 am |
    • Ryan

      KJ....come on dude. Dogs go to a seperate heaven when they die. Havent you ever seen the movie All Dogs Go To Heaven? Obviously not.
      Funny post. I wonder myself.

      August 27, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
  11. Al

    "What fruit do you see produced by Glenn?" Uh, I don't know, never seen him sit on a commode...only that he goes potty on his show.

    August 27, 2010 at 2:40 am |
  12. Chris

    michael,

    If you had ever compared the two works then you would have realized that they actually complete each other.

    August 27, 2010 at 2:36 am |
  13. Dave

    Mormons believe their church is the true church of Jesus Christ, with the correct Christian doctrine and authority. (I.e. They are most definitely Christians.) Still, with that conviction, THEY don't go around saying all the other Christian denominations with their differing beliefs are 'not Christians.' They recognize that despite their differences, all the Christian denominations ARE Christian. Saying otherwise would be spreading misinformation. Unfortunately, this is exactly what some groups do when they falsely claim Mormons are not Christians.

    August 27, 2010 at 2:35 am |
    • LaGryphon

      I guess you havent' heard the Mormons call the Catholic Church the wh0000re of all churches have you? having been a former Mo I can state that is indeed what they call the Catholic Church

      August 27, 2010 at 4:35 am |
    • dsldex

      la la la! man you are so blind! many other religions call the catholic church the whore of all churches. Many other religions have spun off the Catholic church! get a life dude

      August 27, 2010 at 5:26 am |
    • Brady

      Mormons do not call the Catholics that. In fairness, some misinformed Mormons have, but that is certainly not church theology. The Mormon church partners with the Catholics (and many other christian and non-christian denominations for that matter) to strengthen the family, reduce the spread of pornography, give aid to the poor, etc.

      August 27, 2010 at 9:30 am |
  14. blaaaah

    so an almost high school drop-out- drug addled junkie alcoholic- failed top-40 radio host "zoo-keeper" disc jockey figures out the way to the $$$$ and fame is by acting like a slightly twisted and tweaked rush limbo clone....and neo-cons every where instantly love him??? this is the type of guy you wouldn't want dating your daughter 2 years ago but NOW you buy his snake oil in spades....pathetic

    August 27, 2010 at 2:35 am |
    • Nomad27

      Busted! I saw this line on HuffPo today. Get an original thought you Troll.

      August 27, 2010 at 2:47 am |
    • Crispin

      I humbly suggest you enquire as to the meaning of "neo-con" ?

      August 27, 2010 at 3:17 am |
    • Robin

      Glenn's hot! I'd date him and roll through the sheets with him anytime despite his religion and you know what? He could spout out whatever he wanted while we did. You people are ignorant liberals...just sayin'

      January 27, 2012 at 11:27 am |
  15. Proud to be Christian & NOT Republican or Conservative

    Wow, Evangelical leaders following blindly behind (and throwing a religious spin on) people like glenn beck? I have to say this: Christian does not equal crazy, conservative republicans. I'm tired of people assuming one means the other, although I freely admit that often times it does. Would you believe someone told me they doubted my Christianity because I voted for Obama? Wow. When I read/hear about people like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, etc, I really get irritated. You don't check your reason at the door because you have faith. ***God gave us a brain to use it***. I have to say something about the "judge a tree by it's fruit" comment, too. It's total and utter BS. There's a lot of "good", solid citizens out there who probably have great "fruit". That doesn't mean our beliefs are aligned. When someone is a leader of a congregation they wield a certain amount of power. These church leaders need to be sensitive to that. Whatever happened to separation of church and state? I hope someone calls into question their non-profit status.

    August 27, 2010 at 2:34 am |
    • Arietta

      P2bC&NRoC – What, are you an Episcopalian (like me) or something? Never mind the "Like" feature, I'm looking for an "Amen, brother!" button to click.

      August 27, 2010 at 9:51 am |
    • sue

      AMEN, BROTHER! LOL!

      August 27, 2010 at 10:59 am |
  16. anelokin

    Being a Mormon is not what stops Glenn Beck from being a Christian, it's all the other stuff.

    August 27, 2010 at 2:32 am |
  17. LaGryphon

    Question....if any of you on this thread were having a conversation with someone & he started ranting, raving, name calling, crying & saying God talks to him what would your response be? Be honest now

    August 27, 2010 at 2:32 am |
  18. newsreally?

    Ahhhh, we are so advanced in the US. I mean, look at our president...we have come so far! Who brought the tar and feathers for Beck!....Bigots!

    August 27, 2010 at 2:30 am |
  19. lydiaokg

    Jesus said that if they are not against us, they are for us. Enough said for me.

    August 27, 2010 at 2:29 am |
    • Martin

      Define "us".

      August 27, 2010 at 2:35 am |
    • So

      Tell me how this is not against Jesus....
      when LDS says the Holy Bible is "not enough" and additional bookS are needed
      when they refuse to believe salvation is through Christ alone (even though Jesus say so himself)
      and make each member profess Joseph Smith as a prophet
      and have rituals and million dollar temples explaining taht if they don't follow the law they are going to hell
      and believe that they will one day be Gods ...like God ...meaning there is more than one God
      the list goes on and on. and it is all a direct contradiction from the Bible. although they don't see it because they have been raised as a child to ignore it. and embrace what the "prophet" says above the words of the Bible and even Jesus.

      when the mormon Jesus is completely different than the biblical, christian Jesus than yes. they are against us my friend.
      Educate yourselves so as not to be deceived. this is the church of the LDS jesus of later day saints. not the true and only omnipotent Christ

      August 27, 2010 at 2:36 am |
    • Kate

      @Martin

      Not "Them"

      August 27, 2010 at 2:39 am |
    • Martin

      Thanks for the completely new and completely original unbiased report on someone else's faith.

      August 27, 2010 at 2:44 am |
    • Schulz

      So,
      Did not the Israelites in the Old testament profess that Moses, Samuel, Elijah were prophets and they proclaimed the word of God? Did not Christ tell us that we could be "even as I am", meaning, a God? I am an active member of the LDS church, from birth, and I know I have personally read the King James Version of the Bible at least three times cover to cover. I rest my case.

      August 27, 2010 at 2:56 am |
    • LaGryphon

      Schulz....you read the Mormon bible .... a loose intepretation of the King James version after your leaders cleaned it up to their liking

      August 27, 2010 at 3:21 am |
    • LaGryphon

      So.....you've called it like it is. Mo's do believe in more than one God, which was an abomination in the eyes of the Lord, in as much as each and every member can become a God like God who was once a man. And if you study the Islamic religion you will see paralells such as more books of scripture than just the bible. Joseph Smith proclaimed 2 weeks before he died that "he was greater than Jesus Christ because he had kept his members together long than Jesus did".....2 weeks later he was dead in a gun fight....not very Christ like is it to be brandishing a gun?

      August 27, 2010 at 3:27 am |
    • dsldex

      LaGryphon

      So.....you've called it like it is. Mo's do believe in more than one God, which was an abomination in the eyes of the Lord, in as much as each and every member can become a God like God who was once a man. And if you study the Islamic religion you will see paralells such as more books of scripture than just the bible. Joseph Smith proclaimed 2 weeks before he died that "he was greater than Jesus Christ because he had kept his members together long than Jesus did".....2 weeks later he was dead in a gun fight....not very Christ like is it to be brandishing a gun?

      August 27, 2010 at 5:33 am |
    • bblack

      Against has a connotation of meaning an enemy and that would be a wrong understanding.......showing that they are not one of us does not make them an enemy. a non-christian of any faith is not an enemy of a christian . they simply are not christians.....

      August 27, 2010 at 11:10 am |
  20. feather

    Between Prop. 8 and Glenn Beck the last year or so has been an LDS case study in how to attract as much negative publicity as possible.

    August 27, 2010 at 2:28 am |
    • Nomad27

      The truth hurts.....if that comes off as negative than I guess it hurts you as well. It isn't a popularity contest.....the Saviour of the world was hung on a cross and completed the Atonement. I think if he were viewed as popular by the little folks like yourself back then that miraculous event never would've happened.

      August 27, 2010 at 2:45 am |
    • feather

      ...dude, say what?

      Somehow I think you think I said something I didn't actually say.

      Not that that's unheard-of around here, of course.

      August 27, 2010 at 2:50 am |
    • travis

      Nomad- I am sure your savior condones your petulant behavior, but in reality, you are feeble minded. The sooner you go to your heaven, the better off the rest of us will be.

      August 27, 2010 at 3:13 am |
    • Ryan

      Nomad......the Saviour of the world.......how do you know that? Where is the proof? Im not saying you arent right (I dont think so but will keep an open mind), but how would one know that he is infact the saviour? From reading a book written by other humans? If so, do you also believe Zeus lives on top of Mt. Olympus? It was after all written down. Same thing for any other religion.
      It just seems weird to just accept all of that based on what someone else told you.

      August 27, 2010 at 11:59 am |
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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.