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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. read my lips

    When you continue to be professionally paid to invent lies, all proudly funded by Fox, for years and years – eventually all your lies fit together, if you're good, like a puzzle and the story becomes a Novel called "Fantasyland: How to re-Invent American History"

    August 27, 2010 at 7:34 am |
    • Ed

      I'd rather have fantasies about this great land vs. the spewed garbage of the left that destroys this great nation. Puke on you.

      August 27, 2010 at 7:38 am |
    • read my lips

      OMG, you are insulting yourself and don't even know it!?

      Do you get serious Medical advise from a Guy with 0 actual medical education, experience or skills?
      That would be extremely dangerous and stupid, correct – hence, the collapse of the World economies asfter 8 years of Republican looting and control.

      But you swallow whole all the spew from Heck with 0 qualifications but reject our great President with a Masters and Doctorate from Harvard in actual Politics..!?

      August 27, 2010 at 7:44 am |
  2. Don Beal

    Among the many things I find puzzling about Beck's appeal is the obvious PT Barnum aspect of his career. Beck's supporters are incensed over a few hundred dollars in taxes and the perceived opulence of politicians. Beck makes $35 million a year with his 'empire', and his supporters pay it. We all pay it, indirectly, but we pay. But then as PT Barnum is supposed to have said, "There's a sucker born every minute".

    August 27, 2010 at 7:34 am |
    • read my lips

      So Glen Beck is the new ML King. Maybe we should go to DC and hear his "dream".

      His dream came true already: Make mega mega $ millions by frosting your hair, getting spastic, spewing unqualified false facts, reinventing reality and get goons to line up and pay pay for empty worthless fantasy novels that should cost $10 bucks.

      August 27, 2010 at 7:35 am |
  3. read my lips

    Beck Show Outline (every one):

    * While sounding annoyed, frightened and hysterical and while fully invoking my prev experience and degree in dog grooming; pretend that everything the Doctorate of Politics President is doing to be politically wrong and scary.

    * Repeat talking points; spin, lie or invent the max negatives possible of anything the President or any Democratic person may do.

    * Continue to froth up the unsuspecting willing payers to reach peak emotions which open their wallets, then ask for money or sell something for money.

    * Bigger, richer and richer by spreading barrels of increasingly toxic lies upon lies

    August 27, 2010 at 7:32 am |
  4. Ralph

    The hypocricy of modern Christianity: Tayloring the religion to suit your personal needs and desires or your churches specific needs or desires. If so called "Christians" truly followed the teachings of Jesus Christ instead of making rediculous assumptions of what Jesus, wants, likes, or dislikes based on the interpretation by some often bizarre and offesnsive religous leaders based on ancient scripture written by mortals, there would be so much more harmony within the religion.

    August 27, 2010 at 7:32 am |
  5. read my lips

    Heck, Lush, Palin are laughing their way to the Banks off you people paying big bucks for unqualified, non-educated, zero experienced "Political Rightness" exactly opposed to anything from our Masters, Doctorate in Politics Harvard President..!?

    Do Y'All take serious Medical advise from the non qualified, educated or experienced too.?

    August 27, 2010 at 7:31 am |
  6. just bob

    Maybe Beck should be forced to get a Hawaiian Birth Certificate to prove his faith?

    August 27, 2010 at 7:26 am |
  7. Ed

    Come on folks, there very existence of LDS is predicated that ALL other churches are apostates. That the church failed and needed to be restored. So, LDS said we were not Christians first. Their Jesus is a created being and they too will become gods some day. Also, Beck would say America was founded as a Christian nation, so with a little reason an LDS should ask does not 1776 come before 1836 (Joseph Smith)? So what had to be "restored" with the apostae founding father's religion???? Jesus is God and there is ONE God. Jesus said if you see me, you have seen the Father.

    August 27, 2010 at 7:24 am |
  8. Common Misconception

    I guess this just goes to show you, no matter how crazy you think someone is, there is always a crazier alternative.

    August 27, 2010 at 7:24 am |
  9. jfive

    Glen Beck's fruits don't concern me as much as the nuts that follow blindly in his path.

    August 27, 2010 at 7:22 am |
  10. RTS

    EWWWW! A Mormon? Gross!

    August 27, 2010 at 7:21 am |
  11. JETinJAXFL

    Each persons relationship with GOD is personnal. Who are you people to judge another? I am convinced that most young people today will just never get it. Some will, and thank GOD for that. For the alleged Christians posting here, everyone thinks their religion is the best. Man, is your ego bloated. Better do some praying on it lest you be judged porrly by GOD himself.

    August 27, 2010 at 7:21 am |
    • Ed

      Each relationship is personal, but you better have it with the right one and only Lord God. God is not what we each think he is, God is who he is period. The Lord God is a jealous God.

      August 27, 2010 at 7:27 am |
  12. John

    There's whatever deity you believe in, and there's you. Your personal beliefs are a matter between you and the divine.

    Why muddy the waters with Bibles and Korans and Upanishads and preachers and pastors and priests and rabbis and imams? Religion came about as a way for man to try to understand his place in a world where he understood little. Organized religion came about as a way for priest-kings to easily control the masses by holding the power of life and death over them, not only in this world, but in an afterlife. You might be willing to die in revolt to a king, an emperor, a pharaoh, but are you willing to jeopardize your eternity? This practice continues still, with Catholic religious leaders in the U.S. frequently threatening to refuse communion to politicians who don't do what they want.

    Why buy into the charlatans and snake oil salesmen? Cut religious "leaders" out of your spiritual life. Keep your relationship with the divine between you and the divine.

    August 27, 2010 at 7:20 am |
    • Judith

      To put it in "religious terms"–"amen" John. I too deplore the power structures of organized religion–enriching themselves at the expense of guillible sheep. I don't need the middle man of a self-righteous preacher to show me the way to God. Excellent post!

      August 27, 2010 at 8:56 am |
    • Gunnar

      John, you hit the nail PERFECTLY on the head when you typed "Keep your relationship with the divine between you and the divine."
      John 1:9 states that the Light is given to everyone that enters this world.
      It's up to us as individual souls to seek that Light, and adhering to doctrine, dogma, rituals & traditions instead of seeking that inner light is just a waste of time.

      August 27, 2010 at 9:53 am |
  13. danny

    The Mormon church is one of the most generous donors world wide during humanitarian and disaster relief efforts giving hundreds of millions of dollars and countless hours. Without publicizing it I might add.

    August 27, 2010 at 7:19 am |
  14. john

    America offers the freedom to worship as one pleases. If Beck wants to be part of a church that only allows males to be missionaries, formerly refused blacks membership, denys females leqdership roles (like the Catholics), and believes that Christ Jesus preached in America, so be it. To me, Christ Jesus espoused love and compassion to A L L and urged people to "love thy neighbor as thyself." Beck spouts constant criticism and table pounding, strident anger and has been quoted as hating families of 9-11 victims "because they are always complaining."

    I don't care what "religion" Beck professes. To me, he is N O T Christian.

    August 27, 2010 at 7:17 am |
  15. Enough

    I could swear I remember him saying on his show, he was a born again christian, not a mormon. This was a couple of years ago.

    August 27, 2010 at 7:16 am |
  16. Dennis

    For those who don't know the difference between a Christian and a Mormon: While they might share some beliefs, Christians believe in the atonement of the blood of Jesus. This was the complete price that needed to be paid. Mormons historically, do not believe this. It is as if the blood of Christ was not enough. There is a belief that more needs to be done. In regards to the fruit of the spirit I offer up what the Bible says in Galatians 5:22-23 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 2gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Joseph Smith described the Angel of Light that appeared to him. 2 Corinthians 11:14 states, "And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light." There is a big difference between Christians and Mormons. By the way, as a Christian, I can say with absolute confidence, that I am not infallible and I do not consider myself better than others. My only hope lies in Jesus. I do not stand in judgement. When it all comes down to it, God will be the judge of it all.

    August 27, 2010 at 7:14 am |
    • LDSinSC

      Huh? I am saved through the Atonement of Christ. He paid for my sins and shed His blood for me. However, I don't use this wonderful gift as thinking that I can sin all I want and still be saved. I have a responsibility in that. I need to repent when I sin, I need to call on the name of Christ to be forgiven. I need to care for those around me and care for their souls. I need to take the name of Christ upon me. I did that by being baptized in His name. In the book of James it says "Faith, if it hath not works is dead". I think I missquoted that...

      August 27, 2010 at 10:38 am |
  17. dani23

    If Jesus was alive today, which he is not, because he is dead. He would have been called a communist and a left wing radical of the highest order. The man was even worse than Karl Marx. What is all this thing about selling all your possessions and giving it to the poor in order to follow him.

    Do you actually think that if someone like that was in charge of our government they would have sided with the free market or the wealth fare state? That they would have sided with lower taxes for the rich or providing good social services to the poor?

    Tell me which part of these policies do Sarah Palin and Glen Beck support? No they are not Christians, but they do need to read the New Testament in order to get some inspiration of how to be Christ like and think more about the poor rather than to increase and protect the worldly possessions of the already rich.

    August 27, 2010 at 7:14 am |
  18. Lance

    "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,"

    America's "earliest days" were characterized by brutality and genocide. People keep talking about going back to a time when people of this nation had "Christian" values, but from the beginning of the invasion, "Christian values" has meant violent destruction for anyone who has disagreed or opposed their religious views.

    The tragedy is that all of this is so opposite from what Jesus really taught. The evangelicals attending Glenn Beck's party miss the whole point. Jesus didn't teach politics or live politics.

    August 27, 2010 at 7:12 am |
  19. No way Joe

    Thus far I'm not aware of any honor ki11ings or wife beatings in association with Beck. Beats the he11 outta the Muslims.

    August 27, 2010 at 7:11 am |
  20. BVKinGA

    It is amazing that so many 'Christians' are so ignorant in the area of christianity. I have been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Siants (LDS) for 10 years. I joined because it was the only church that actually practiced what it preached. I have been a Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, and even attended the Calvery Chaple church. Each had it's own agenda and practiced thier beliefs in a different way. All of them however did have one thing in common, they all believed in Christ as the savior. They just did it in a ddiffernt way. LDS members believe in the very same thing .. that there is one God and one Jesus Christ. The very same ones all the other churches believe in and worship. Some of the things that make us 'different' is the fact that (1) our church does not believe in slaming other religions, (2) nobody gets paid one dime for serving in any capacity, and (3) we stress the family unit and caring for EVERYONE regardless of their faith. You will never be turned away from this church. It isn't called "The Church of Jesus Christ" by accident. And no... we don't believe in plural marriages. 🙂 Who in their right mind would want more than one wife??? One is plenty... belive me.

    August 27, 2010 at 7:10 am |
    • Dan

      You cant deny that there are several doctrines and practices of the LDS Church that are unique within Christianity. Differences between the LDS Church and most of traditional Christianity include disagreement with aspects of the Nicene Creed, belief in a unique theory of human salvation that includes three heavens (referred to as "degrees of glory"), a doctrine of "exaltation" which includes the ability of humans to become gods and goddesses in the afterlife, a dietary code called the Word of Wisdom, and unique sacramental ceremonies performed privately in LDS temples, such as the Endowment and sealing ceremonies. Officially, major Christian denominations view the LDS Church as standing apart from creedal Christianity, a point the LDS Church itself does not dispute.

      August 27, 2010 at 11:17 am |
      • SamIam

        Agreed, but if 90% of being a Christian is believing is Jesus Christ, then members of the Church of Jesus Christ are Christian. If you believe in Jesus Christ and follow his teachings you are Christian.

        August 27, 2010 at 11:23 am |
        • RKB

          Big difference between believing and receiving Samlam. The bible says even the demons believe and shudder James 2:19. Mormons don't believe in Jesus teachings. They don't believe in a real hell. So, why would anyone need Jesus if there was no hell? What do we need to be saved from if there is no hell? http://www.carm.org/comparison-between-christian-doctrine-and-mormon-doctrine. Quote from mormon "We don’t believe in the traditional view of “hell” as a place of never ending torment for those who don’t accept Jesus in this world. Hell is a temporary state of terrible anguish and pain for the wicked, but with very few exceptions, everyone will eventually accept Jesus Christ and receive some degree of glory. Our belief that everyone eventually gets the same chance to accept the gospel, and that hell doesn’t last forever, makes the Mormon doctrine of the afterlife one of the most hopeful and merciful in all Christianity" Direct opposite of Jesus' teachings in the bible: Matthew 25:46 “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

          August 27, 2010 at 12:11 pm |
        • oneStarman - Walla Walla, WA

          @RKB – Why would we need Jesus if there is no Hell? I'm so sorry – but Hell is the anguish of separation from God. Eternal Life isn't far away; it is right here-now. We need Jesus because: He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. There is no life without God. God IS Love – God IS Life regardless of what the teaching of men tell us. In Truth, God cannot condemn us (why would He – He is Love) we condemn ourselves.

          August 27, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
        • Glen Sucks

          Well if your right, then have fun up in heaven playing your harp forever. Hope your fingers don't hurt after a few trillion years.

          August 27, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
        • Kris in AL

          IF GOD THE FATHER CAST SOME OF HIS CHILDREN INTO A REAL PIT OF FIRE & BRIMSTONE, TO BE BURNED AND TORMENTED FOREVER, HE WOULD BE THE WORST CHILD ABUSER IN THE UNIVERSE!

          August 28, 2010 at 9:06 am |
        • MrNirom

          Jesus Christ himself said:

          4 And surely every man must repent or suffer, for I, God, am endless.
          5 Wherefore, I revoke not the judgments which I shall pass, but woes shall go forth, weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, yea, to those who are found on my left hand.
          6 Nevertheless, it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment.
          7 Again, it is written eternal damnation; wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory.
          8 Wherefore, I will explain unto you this mystery, for it is meet unto you to know even as mine apostles.
          9 I speak unto you that are chosen in this thing, even as one, that you may enter into my rest.
          10 For, behold, the mystery of godliness, how great is it! For, behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name. Wherefore—
          11 Eternal punishment is God’s punishment.
          12 Endless punishment is God’s punishment.

          So.. because Endless is the name of God.. And Eternal is the name of God.. to say Endless and Eternal punishment is to really say it is God's punishment.. not that the punishment is endless or eternal.

          And it is spoken this way in the scriptures so "that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory." If a man believes he will have ETERNAL DAMNATION... then maybe that will motivate him to do what he is suppose to do. But obviously.. it doesn't work for all people.

          August 30, 2010 at 12:17 am |
        • Rebart

          RKB,
          What would your children have to do bad for you to put them in a pit of eternal fire? Would anything they do make you do that. We are the children of God and brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ. Would God actually put us into a pit of fire? He would be the worst genocidal monster in all creation if he did that. "Helll" is a symbolic word for the absence of the presence of God. The Bible is highly symbolic; you should study up on that.

          October 7, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
      • oneStarman - Walla Walla, WA

        Since I can't seem to reply directly – @DAN 'Now we see as through a glass (a poor mirror) ... darkly, then, Face to Face.' We will because of our limited existence in three Spacial dimensions and trapped in the unidirectional vector of Time have a distorted perception of a God; who like the TRUE EXISTENCE which we cannot perceive; is of at LEAST 10 Dimensions and free of temporal fixation in Eternity.

        August 27, 2010 at 11:43 am |
        • Kate

          @oneStarman

          Ummm, did you just say God is a superstring?

          Just askin'

          August 27, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
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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.