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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. tim

    religion is a fairy tale.

    i dont believe in fairy tales.

    religion kills

    August 27, 2010 at 5:33 am |
  2. Dr. Cat

    He said leaders from "all faiths" would be there? Has he got a rabbi, a buddhist monk, or a muslim imam? Or does he think "all faiths" just means christians and those other faiths... Aren't faiths?

    August 27, 2010 at 5:32 am |
  3. Ricardo

    Interesting that so many right-wing zealots are willing to overlook Beck's apostasy because they like his brand of politics, while at the same time refusing to accept Obama's Christianity because they disagree with his politics.
    Can you say hypocrite?

    August 27, 2010 at 5:31 am |
    • Frogist

      @Ricardo: Yes. Yes, we can!

      August 27, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
  4. therealbluenote

    Gleen Beck is a fake. A Fraud. When he had his FIRST solo show (on CNN Headline News), he was a lot more Liberal, and leaned quite a bit further toward the Center.... Bot Rupert called, and offered him a gig with Faux News, on the condition that he spew Right Wing vitriol all day, and bring the tears and whining a little more often. Beck is also a Revisionist, who has absolutely no qualms about going on National television, and telling little historical stories that have been both fictionalized and told out of context, in order to further his insane agenda. As if THAT weren't enough, he's also a recovering alcoholic (Which I applaud, by the way) and a Mormon. Now, I don't have a problem with either of these things (except the Mormon one, lol), but I have to say- This man will say ANYTHING if he' is paid enough. He will tell you that Joseph Smith was a fictional character created by Hemingway, if the highest bidder bids high enough. Do we really want THIS guy to rewrite history? And have we really become so lazy that literally NO ONE will fact check him? Glenn Beck- an American success story, and one of the very few arguments against Capitalism that I can see,

    August 27, 2010 at 5:26 am |
  5. V Saxena

    You're awesome! You should be working for the Onion, man!

    August 27, 2010 at 5:25 am |
  6. LaGryphon

    Kristy & Schulz.....I don't hate Mormons....not at all....I'm stating facts that you find unpalatable....facts that have been hidden from you. I don't know that you will ever question what you have been taught & that's ok. But know this, when you go out into the public you automatically open yourself & your church up to scrutiny. If you don't like your church under scrutiny then my suggestion is to not visit these threads. BTW....google cult

    August 27, 2010 at 5:22 am |
  7. Brains

    Glenn Beck is not a Christian. He is the same jerk who said on air that he hates the victims families of 911. He is going straight to hell for that one.

    August 27, 2010 at 5:18 am |
  8. Paul in Long Beach CA

    Haha!!!

    Glenn is Catholic now? LOL!

    Hey all you christians, how does it feel to pray to the air and know that your prayer will never be answered? I know how it feels. It feels like crap because I was there at one point, and the ones at the top are laughing all the way to the bank while making you believe that they actually believe what they are saying. Please do not deceive yourself, the only way your prayer was ever answered was because you wanted it to be answered so badly, your brain actually tricked yourself into believe that things happened a certain way...a divine way! LOL!

    Kind of like Glenn Beck. What the heck Mr. Beck?

    August 27, 2010 at 5:16 am |
  9. Kristy

    How can anyone who puts down a religion call themselves Christian at all? Those of you who refer to Mormons as being part of a cult, obviously have done NO research on the religion itself. Before you spout off some nonsense, look into it. Those who believe in marrying several partners are not the true Mormons. They are a different group of people. Mormons are Christian just like anyone else, except they do not insult other religions like so many do. Stop putting others down!!! Just believe what you want to believe and leave everyone else alone! Fools!!!

    August 27, 2010 at 5:09 am |
    • LaGryphon

      Kristy.....I once was a Mormon....lived it & finally found it to be a farce from the beginnig & I know that I was duped. Mormons do in fact insult other religions....hence the term "The Catholic Church is the wh0000000re of all churches". In the temple members are told all religions are an abomination in the site of the Lord & they are lead by Satan. The thing is, when you come on these threads, you come up against former Mo's who left willingly armed with the knowledge the Mormon cult doesn't want people to know including their members.

      August 27, 2010 at 5:15 am |
    • LaGryphon

      Kristy & Schulz.....I don't hate Mormons....not at all....I'm stating facts that aren't palatable to you that you find unbelievable that have been hidden from you. I don't know that you will ever question what you are being spoon fed & that's ok. But know this, when you go out into the public world you lay yourself & your church/cult open to scrutiny. If you don't like then don't visit these threads. Google "cult".....just for fun

      August 27, 2010 at 5:18 am |
    • dalis

      Oh, heck, the Catholics themselves throw that chestnut around. St. Thomas Aquinas first said, "The Church is a whore, but she is also our Mother." And it's been reiterated many times since. Still, completely unacceptable coming from anyone other than our own. Glass houses, etc. etc.

      August 27, 2010 at 5:20 am |
    • dsldex

      LaGryphon..
      This so much reminds me of you! "oh yea blind guile's who swat at a gnat but yet swallow a camel" a verse from matthew...your arguments are specious at best.

      August 27, 2010 at 5:49 am |
  10. John

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Why does it matter?! Whydoes anyone care? What relevance does this have on anyone but Beck's life? It'd just like putting religon into politics, where it has not place or relevance to it.

    August 27, 2010 at 5:01 am |
    • Sobey

      John, I only care because extremism is a threat to liberty. Now that sounds like the opener for some tea bagging christian wacko or koran thumping sharia numbnut or even a card carrying libertarian. But it's not. Everyone should consider a few simple ideas and realize that they are as old, if not older, than the foundation of democracy:

      – The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins.

      – They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

      – A church is a place in which gentlemen who have never been to heaven brag about it to persons who will never get there.

      – A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.

      (Sorry, I went to Mencken twice.)

      August 27, 2010 at 5:17 am |
    • Frogist

      Well it has relevance on all the people who will be there and their influence on the political future of our country... that's why it matters.

      August 27, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
  11. Josh

    For the wicked find the truth to be hard for it cut deep into the souls of the unbelievers.

    August 27, 2010 at 5:01 am |
  12. Schulz

    LaGryphon,
    You know your being dishonest with yourself. There are not any ordinances that even remotely resemble what you just narrated for us, or have there ever been.

    August 27, 2010 at 4:58 am |
    • LaGryphon

      Ask the older people in your church who took out their endowments before 1990....ask your bishop....ask your stake president....if they will even tell you the truth....if not read under the banner of heaven. To insinuate that I am being dishonest with myself is your only mechanism to reject the horrors of what went on in that temple before 1990. On my dead son Beau's, grave I am being more honest with you than anyone has ever been in your life.

      August 27, 2010 at 5:02 am |
  13. USMC4Ever

    If there is a god (and there isn't), how do you explain all the hate-spewing imbeciles like Beck and others who thrive on the stupidity of the religious right?

    This country is turning into Iran with all the religious morons claiming to do the bidding of their all-seeing sky-fairy.

    Beck is an embarrassment to this country, to journalism and to broadcasting. And anyone who takes him seriously needs a therapist!

    August 27, 2010 at 4:56 am |
    • dreyfus1.0

      YUT!! Not exactly behind you with the Iran comment but I've got your back on the rest. S/F, brother!

      August 27, 2010 at 9:45 am |
  14. rudy

    hes just a guy with a big ego, interest in furthering his income and stature in popular entertainment. the mormon/christian thing is just his adopted leverage. we are all humans first of all and some rise to the top of the sludge more prominently than others.

    August 27, 2010 at 4:52 am |
  15. DenMark

    The real story for me has little to do with whether or not a group of evangelicals will support Glen Beck because of his Mormon faith. It has to do with how Christianity in the U.S. has largely become hijacked by extreme elements of the Republican party. Why Christians in great numbers are convinced that the message of the Bible and the agenda of political conservatives are coterminous is a sad commentary on religious life in America.

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

      Remember it was the Republican Party that was hijacked first. This used to be the party of abolitionism (13th/15th amendments), birthright citizenship (14th amendment), women's suffrage (19th amendment), conservation (National Parks System), infrastructure (Transcontinental Railroad, Interstate System), etc. Far cry from today, isn't it?

      August 27, 2010 at 5:15 am |
  16. DLT

    HAHA Glenn always good for 2 million lulz

    August 27, 2010 at 4:48 am |
  17. LaGryphon

    yeah, it's pretty funny. Beck has painted a gigantic bull's eye on his chest with his own chalk from his own blackboard. In regards to his religion...Beck's been proudly saying he's a Mormon & now the media is going to have a field day with it.....same thing happend to Mitt Romney....that didn't work out to well for Mitt did it?

    August 27, 2010 at 4:46 am |
    • Rebart

      LaGryphon,
      No, Mitt Romney didn't win, thanks to bigots and hate-mongers like you. Most of this country treated Catholic polilticians the same way until JFK finally broke the barrier. Is there anything else you like to hate?

      October 7, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  18. Josh

    @Blair Please show me where it states that science has proven the book of Mormon is fake. I bet you have not even read it. For those of you who don't know much about "mormons" or "latter day saints" They are christians. The Mormon church is actually called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints. This organisation believes in GOD and JESUS CHRIST. Thus being christian. The book of Mormon actually goes hand in hand with the Bible so to speak. The Bible is a testament of the people from the middle east and the Book of Mormon is a testament of the people in the Americas. The mormons are a strong faithed organisation that focuses on family and living right. The Latter day saints have dontate more food, clothing, medicine.clean water, to more nations than any other religious organisation. During the depression in the 20's the government actually approached the mormon church on how their welfare program worked. This program fed tens of thousands of families during that horrible period. The Mormons are ofter ridiculed because of the stricked life styles that the families live. ie Abstain from Alcohol, tabacco. drugs. etc. Most people find that a hard life to live because they need these substances to get through hard times.

    So just to set things straight... Mormons are Christians, They do Donate to organisations most of the time without any recognition. We are a family oriented religions with great moral values! The book of Mormon is a testament of Jesus Christ. Also a side note for Blair, In Time magazine there was an article about the LDS church about 2 or 3 years ago. The Mormon Church was Audited by the IRS. During the investigation every single penny was accounted for. The LDS church donated of 100 million dollars last year alone to down and our family who were member and Non members. So please before you bad mouth this organisation you need to do more research than to go and google and believe the first negative thing you read about Mormonism.

    August 27, 2010 at 4:46 am |
    • Sobey

      Damn, Josh, if it will make you feel better science has proven that the traditional christian god is fake, too. Shall we start a debate about whether The Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe is more real than The Big, Bad Wolf?

      August 27, 2010 at 4:59 am |
    • David

      "science has proven that the traditional christian god is fake, too"

      looool! Your ignorant arrogance amuses me. Even an atheist scientist would tell you that is a stupid and false statement. You have a bit to learn about science. And about religion, for that matter (and its relationship/relevance re science).

      August 27, 2010 at 5:12 am |
    • Josh

      @sobey
      Please show me. How many times has science come up with answers only to be proven wrong later? Gosh was it science that stated the sun revolved around the earth? Or what about pluto being a planet? Aristotle's dynamic motion?, flat earth hypothosis?. Classic elementary theory? shall I go on?,

      August 27, 2010 at 5:15 am |
    • Sobey

      @David

      Disregarding your "loooool" since that's a good way to get ignored as a crackpot and/or a teenager, "science has proven that the traditional christian god is fake" is a provocative statement but if you have an open mind you can start by considering the omniscient/omnipresent/belevolent contradiction. This is proof against the god described in the bible. That's the "traditional christian" one I'm talking about. I'm quoting...

      If god is all powerful (omnipotent) he able to do away with evil.

      If god is all knowing (omniscient) he knows there is evil in the world.

      If god is love (benevolent) he would see the evil and defeat it.

      Therefore if god is omnipotent and does not defeat evil he is not omniscient or not benevolent. If he is omniscient and does not defeat evil he is not omnipotent or not benevolent. If he is benevolent and does not defeat evil he is not omnipotent or not omniscient.

      August 27, 2010 at 5:47 am |
    • Sobey

      @Josh

      Did I make a blanket statement about science being infallible? No. But science done properly is the only way to ultimately reach truth. Faith is not an alternative. People thought earth was flat for a while. Proper scientists posited their evidence for why it was so. Then other scientists countered their arguments and evidence with better arguments and evidence. Eventually we went to space and observed the curvature of the earth and only the insane could discount the science at that point.

      Fundamental faith, which is what I'm arguing against, is completely counter to this notion. You believe it or you don't.

      August 27, 2010 at 6:03 am |
  19. Deanna

    First off, I'm a former Republican. The reason I've pulled away from the party is that I abhore how my faith is being used as a political tool. A weapon to, for lack of a better way of phrasing, lead the sheep to slaughter.
    Faith and politics should never share the same room. Faith is to emotional of an issue and belongs in hearts and churches.
    The bible speaks of this day and what we see taking place now. The day when our faith in God is used by those seeking power for reasons unrelated.
    I'm saddened. I'm apalled. But more, I'm terrified at how many people aren't seeing the wolf beneath these sheep's clothing.
    The Christian faith is NOT a political tool. Republican's have an agenmda which has nothing to do with Christianity.
    I'm also a Mormon, rather was. I was taught we are not Christians. Christians are following the wrong path. Christians don't hold the true beliefs. They are not members of the LDS.
    The Mormon church is growing by leaps and bounds and has become more powerful in this country than most Americans can imagine. Both in numbers and in wealth. Imagine if you will, the largest corporation in North America and you have a glimpse.
    Their power is why they are welcomed at this event. Not their Christianity. The votes they represent is why Glenn Beck is allowed to participate.
    Glenn Beck , to me, is one of the perfect examples of all that fails with the LDS church. He speaks the elements of truth which suit his agenda and leaves out those which don't.

    August 27, 2010 at 4:45 am |
  20. Schulz

    Blair,

    You are wrong on many accounts and if your story is true you are a sad person. Firstly, your account of Joesph Smith is a complete untruth. Secondly, there are many native legends that refer to a visit by a deity, Graham Hancock's (not LDS so it isn't a conspiracy) book Finger Prints of the Gods offers numerous accounts of different tribes telling of a God who visited them. Tithing money goes towards maintaining meeting places and building new ones, and no one is forced to pay.

    Lastly, the Church of Jesus Christ is the best emergency response organization in the world, even better than the Red Cross. After Katrina the church was the first private organization with boots on the ground, they had sent shipments of supplies needed for living weeks before the hurricane hit. We were repairing houses almost immediately, and did so with out discrimination, and has been doing so for more than half a decade until the work was done.

    August 27, 2010 at 4:33 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.