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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. Andrew

    "Glenn Beck is being used by God – mightily"

    That is a sick statement. Absolutely sick.

    August 27, 2010 at 7:10 am |
  2. AJ

    I am so tired of people saying that Mormons are not Christians. Most "Christians" aren't even Christian because they do not follow the teachings of Jesus. They have taken the loving words of Christ and made them into hate-filled and bigotted doctrines. As a former Utah Mormon, I still believe that all Mormons are as much Christan as any other "Christian" denomination. There are many LDS-Tradition faiths out there and many people lump us all into the one "Mormon" umbrella. Please stop doing that. Glenn Beck is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Get it right people!

    August 27, 2010 at 7:08 am |
    • LaGryphon

      AJ.....unfortunately the LDS link to the F-LDS will never be diminished. The splinter groups will forever be associated with Mormons due to polygamy. It's a blight that will bind the LDS church to any & all splinter groups. The church headquarters knows that but what can they do? What you are wanting is a separate identity & I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news but that will never happen.

      August 27, 2010 at 7:25 am |
    • LaGryphon

      AJ.....unfortunately the LDS link to the FLDS will never be diminished. The splinter groups will forever be associated with Mormons due to polygamy. It's a blight that will bind the LDS church to any & all splinter groups. The church headquarters knows that but what can they do? What you are wanting is a separate identity & I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news but that will never happen.

      August 27, 2010 at 7:26 am |
    • LaGryphon

      AJ....the Mormon association through plural marriage with splinter groups will never be erased. It's a blight on your scandalous past that can never be re-written. As much you wish for it to all magically disappear with Joseph Smith's peep stones it won't. You have to own up to who you are & who you always will be because you aren't making it into the highest kingdom without being involved in plural marriage. You can put lipstick on our pig but it's still a pig

      August 27, 2010 at 7:30 am |
  3. Goodstuff

    Silly people arguing about their invisible cloud genies again.

    August 27, 2010 at 7:08 am |
  4. Goodstuff

    Hehe, silly people arguing about their invisible cloud genies again.

    August 27, 2010 at 7:07 am |
  5. Jon

    I love the way I see Christians trying to decide who is Christian or not.

    Do you follow Christ? If yes, you are a Christian.

    Its in the name, folks... and armchair, sunday-only Christians playing the defensive card is not only hilarious, but pretty stupid as well.

    Mormons worship Jesus, therefore they are Christian. Deal with it.

    I mean, if we really want to get into it, Catholicism was the first truly organized Christian religion, so it must be the correct one by your logic, which means all the rest of you are blasphemers for following your Protestant religions.

    Funny how that's the kind of childish, arrogant and intellectually void thinking that causes wars and oppression.

    Funny how that kind of behavior is not "what Jesus would do."

    August 27, 2010 at 7:07 am |
    • AJ

      Jon,

      Thank you for getting it!

      August 27, 2010 at 7:09 am |
  6. jfjlksdjdf

    lol u idiots and tards love to be useless and argue politics and religion

    August 27, 2010 at 7:05 am |
  7. jfjlksdjdf

    why is this mfer important?

    August 27, 2010 at 7:03 am |
  8. Kris in AL

    THERE IS A STRONG ARGUEMENT THAT MORMONS ARE THE MOST CHRISTIAN OF ANY DENOMINATION.

    READ IN THE NEW TESTAMENT AND COMPARE "MODERN CHRISTIANITY" VS. MAINSTREAM CHRISTIANITY.

    THE TOUGHEST QUESTION FOR MODERN CHRISTIANS IS....."WHAT HAPPENS TO ALL THOSE PEOPLE BORN WITHOUT A KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST?" THE MORMONS HAVE THE ANSWER TO THAT. NO OTHER CHRISTIAN CHURCH DOES....AND IT DRIVES THOSE OTHER CHURCHES TO CLAIM MORMONS ARE NOT CHRISTIAN BECAUSE OF THEIR ANSWER.

    August 27, 2010 at 7:01 am |
    • LaGryphon

      Kris in AL......what Bible are you reading from? If it's a Mormom bible you do realize it has been altered by the church leaders just like the Catholic Bible has been altered by their church leaders. "The toughest question" is "what happens to all those people born without a knowledge of Christ"? No offense but I think there are as tough or tougher questions out there. And it does not drive those other churches to claim mormons are not christian because of your church's answer. Who's waging the strong argument that Mormons are more christian than any other denomination? The Mormons? of course they would wage that argument, if it even existed in the first place. What you're saying then is christianity is now poised to play the game of "I'm better than you"? That's the Mo's mantra....."We're the one & only true church".....own it

      August 27, 2010 at 7:12 am |
    • Ed

      Jesus sai he is THE WAY, THE TRUTH and THE LIFE, NO MAN COMES TO THE FATHER BY HIM. He paid the price, and he made the way. All those people in other religions, their forefathers chose that false religion.

      August 27, 2010 at 7:33 am |
    • Kris in AL

      AND HOW ARE ALL THOSE WHO LIVED & DIED BEFORE CHRIST GOING TO BE "SAVED?"

      August 28, 2010 at 9:01 am |
  9. TheBossIsOut

    Mormonism is not Christianity. It is a sect with Christian attributes.

    August 27, 2010 at 6:58 am |
    • Kris in AL

      Which church is Christianity?

      August 27, 2010 at 7:04 am |
  10. Ken

    Isn't Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a Mormon like Beck and Romney?
    Of those who "despise" Glenn Beck, I wonder how many listen to his program or even actually watch FOX News?
    I don't always agree Glenn, but I support he right to express himself.

    August 27, 2010 at 6:55 am |
  11. Jim

    Yesterday, I saw a young (college age) person wearing a t-shirt that had an empty cross on it (so I assumed non-catholic Christian) and the message? 'If you don't like this – GO TO HELL!' So typically 'christian!' I told him that Jesus would never have worn that shirt, so he was insulting his master. Let me conclude with a prayer: 'Dear Lord, please save me from your followers!'

    August 27, 2010 at 6:54 am |
    • Ed

      He made the point didn't he? And you told thousands unbeknownst. Jesus spoke of hell more than anyone else in the Bible. That is why he went tot the cross so you and I do not have to go there. BTW, Jesus does not send us to hell, we send our selves by denying him. Jim, stop looking at people and come to the Lord.

      August 27, 2010 at 7:31 am |
    • Frogist

      @ Ed: It's all about the people. The wingnuts and radicals are why a lot of us want nothing to do with religion. And quite frankly, if you believe in a god that is so jealous you can only get to heaven by bowing to him, I'll be enjoying my hell with the rest of the thinkers.

      August 27, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  12. Jersey George

    Christianity, the biggest hoax played on mankind!!!!!

    August 27, 2010 at 6:53 am |
  13. NashJeff

    "What fruit do you see produced by Glenn?"

    FRUIT CAKES & NUTS is what I see!!!! And PLENTY OF THEM !!!!

    August 27, 2010 at 6:53 am |
  14. Sparky

    He's a slimy lowlife, nothing more

    August 27, 2010 at 6:46 am |
  15. Carol

    To Paul in Long Beach:
    You say, "....I was there at one point..." Evidently, you were not meeting the requirements to have your prayers answered in the first place.......faith and belief are major parts of the equation to answered prayer, or your prayers were "amiss".
    Try again!

    August 27, 2010 at 6:46 am |
    • LaGryphon

      Carol.....NEVER NEVER NEVER insinuate to someone that they were not meeting the requirements to have their prayers answered. His prayers were not amiss. Cold, cold, cold hearted response to someone who prayed in earnest. Have you ever prayed to God to save your child & your prayers were not answered & your child died? NO......I have & my prayers went unanswered.....NEVER EVER say that to someone again

      August 27, 2010 at 6:51 am |
  16. fuhues

    religion is for psychos. 121 million dead and counting

    August 27, 2010 at 6:44 am |
  17. notdrinkingyerdamkoolaid

    @"Jerry" in "Florida"

    I don't hate the man, I absolutely despise the things he does and the people he works for who pay him to do those things.
    I would guess that you're one of his co-workers.
    Well, I think you can figure out how I probably feel about YOU.

    August 27, 2010 at 6:43 am |
    • pointyears

      Who can be held responsible for the insanity of another?

      August 27, 2010 at 7:00 am |
  18. SpyderGirl

    I have always wondered why so many Mormons are Republican and allied with Evangelicals on Social issues. Once they rid the country of Muslims and all other non-Christians, they'll try to finish what they started at Haun's Mill. I wondered how long it was going to take for one of these Nutballs to start complaining about him being LDS. Beck is not a very good Mormon anyway.

    August 27, 2010 at 6:40 am |
    • LaGryphon

      SpyderGirl......do some research.....real research & find out why Haun's Mill took place. Find out what the Mormon's did when they moved into each new town. Even Cleon Skousen will attest to the fact that the Mormon's brought a lot of the so called persecution on themselves.

      August 27, 2010 at 6:46 am |
    • mary

      Well let's see w/o Christians you'd have no schools, hospitals, the Salvation Army, the nation, etc etc. It was Christians that built these establishments and those of you that want to criticize have absolutely no historical education. Do some homework and you just might understand that w/o the Christians you'd look a lot like North Korea.

      August 27, 2010 at 7:48 am |
  19. Jerry - Florida

    To all you Glen Beck haters: Is your hateful absurdity due to the fact that he always looks out for America and is not intimidated by all the nay sayers, particularly, the moronic administration in Washington. You may want to to take a chill pill, sit down comfortably and REALLY listen to what this man is saying.

    You don't have to take my advise. This is only a healthy suggestion. Hate, particularly misplaced hate, can be very unhealthful.

    August 27, 2010 at 6:33 am |
    • LaGryphon

      Jerry, maybe Beck might have some good points but his delivery can be & is unpalatable to some people. Let me ask you a question. If you were talking to someone & in the midst of the discussion he ranted, raved, cried, name called then told you God talks to him what would be your response?

      August 27, 2010 at 6:39 am |
    • Hugo

      Jerry, I don't hate Mr. Beck. However, I'm saddened with his failure to live up to his responsibility to define terms when the term in question means different things to different people. (I'll grant that perhaps he did define his use of "social justice" somewhere but it wasn't in the article I read.) I'll also grant that other leaders fail in the same way. But as my father said, when I was seven, and in trouble – "two wrongs don't make a right."

      August 27, 2010 at 6:51 am |
    • PATRIOT322

      Beck is the worst kind of bigot. I remember before he took himself seriously, he would say on his radio show " if you take what I say seriously, you are crazy". Somewhere along the way he neglected to take his own advice and now has gone over the edge. It's probably a combination of power drunk and money but the man in not qualified to give anyone moral advice. He is really wound up about the founding fathers because before he started reading and following the crazy history distorter s like Skousen, he didn't know our history. My guess is he never even voted until he became the right wing hero. Don't be fooled by his enthusiasm for history it is mostly half true and lies. Our country changed after the civil war and it can never go back we now have a government truely based on equal rights and Beck's quoting the founding fathers will not change that.

      August 27, 2010 at 7:17 am |
  20. Hugo

    Paul in Long Beach CA said "...and know that your prayer will never be answered?" That's a pretty absurd claim unless you are God or otherwise have the ability to read minds. Please justify your claim (using math this time).

    August 27, 2010 at 6:31 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.