Can Mitt Romney’s evangelical ambassador seal the deal before Election Day?
Mark DeMoss and Mitt Romney at Liberty University, where Romney delivered the commencement address in May.
September 1st, 2012
10:00 PM ET

Can Mitt Romney’s evangelical ambassador seal the deal before Election Day?

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Tampa, Florida (CNN) – The task of selling a Mormon presidential candidate to evangelical America has fallen to a public relations man who’s not even getting paid for what may be the toughest sales job of his career.

For six years, Mark DeMoss has served as Mitt Romney’s unofficial evangelical ambassador, making the case that born-again Christians should help elect the first Mormon to the White House.

It has often been a lonely job.

During this year’s primaries, DeMoss found himself addressing audiences of evangelical leaders in which nearly everyone was rooting for another candidate: Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry – anybody but Romney.

“It would have been tough for anyone other than Mark,” says Richard Land, the public policy chief for the Southern Baptist Convention, remembering how DeMoss performed in one hostile setting last January. “The audience was stacked for Santorum and Gingrich.

“But he has a lot of street cred with evangelicals,” Land says of DeMoss. “He understands us because he’s one of us. So he did great.”

CNN Explains: What’s Mormonism?

Now that Romney has outlasted the other candidates to become the Republican nominee for president, DeMoss is using that street cred to help the candidate close the deal with evangelical voters in the weeks before Election Day.

It’s unclear whether he will succeed.

Polls show that although most evangelicals have come around to Romney, there’s a sizable chunk who have not. With those voters making up a huge part of the GOP base in swing states like Ohio, Iowa and Virginia, whether DeMoss’ gambit works could mean the difference between an Obama or a Romney White House.

For DeMoss, who is officially a senior adviser to the Romney campaign, the stakes of his work go well beyond electoral politics. He’s trying to open the American evangelical mind.

“I took this on to tackle prejudicial attitudes,” DeMoss says, explaining how he approached Romney about running for president in 2006, convinced that the then-Massachusetts governor was the most qualified man for the presidency that he’d ever seen.

How Mormonism shaped Mitt Romney

“I discussed it with Romney the first time we met,” he continues, sitting in his room at the elegant Vinoy Resort and Golf Club in St. Petersburg, his home during the convention. “It bothered me that some evangelicals said they couldn’t support a Mormon for president. As a public relations guy, I wanted to change that mindset.”

Which is why DeMoss was in front of the North Carolina delegation at the convention Monday morning, arguing that it’s unfair for some Republicans to insist on a presidential nominee with whom they agree about everything.

“My advice to those folks is perhaps you should run yourself the next time,” DeMoss told the evangelical-heavy delegation in a Hilton Hotel ballroom, still abuzz about a powerhouse speech that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had delivered a few minutes earlier.

“My wife and I have been married for 24 years,” DeMoss said, “and I don’t agree with her on everything.”

Looking professorial in tortoiseshell glasses, a blue blazer and a white polo shirt tucked into khakis, DeMoss never mentioned religion or Romney’s Mormonism.

But you could tell it was a big part of what he was talking about.

It’s why he told the delegation that he has prayed with Mitt Romney and shared scripture with him and has even sought parenting advice from Romney and his wife, Ann.

After years of traveling and visiting with the Romney, DeMoss told the crowd, “I trust his values - for I’m fully convinced they mirror my own.”

It might not sound like much, but an evangelical Christian vouching for a Mormon’s values in front of ballroom full of fellow believers can be a powerful thing.

At least that’s the hope.

Lessons from the Moral Majority

DeMoss developed an appreciation for Mormons from a somewhat unlikely source: the evangelical giant Jerry Falwell.

He enrolled at Liberty University, Falwell’s school, in 1980, the year after his father died of a heart attack. Falwell, a fundamentalist preacher, would become like a second father.

DeMoss’s dad had been friends with Falwell – DeMoss says it’s unclear if the insurance marketing company his father founded, National Liberty Corp., helped give Liberty University its name – and Mark found work in Falwell’s office after graduation.

By the time he was 23, DeMoss was serving as Falwell’s chief of staff and spokesman, helping his boss run a growing evangelical empire that included the Lynchburg, Virginia, university and a new organization Falwell had helped found: the Moral Majority.

The organization aimed to bring evangelicals back into the political fold, after millions of them had spent decades sitting out elections, convinced that politics were a dirty, ungodly business.

“We traveled the country, challenging pastors to get involved. He outworked staff  that were half his age” DeMoss says of Falwell, who died at 73 in 2007.

Mark DeMoss with Jerry Falwell at 1992 Republican Convention in San Diego, California.

Falwell taught him how political organizing works, from the grassroots to the very top. He took him to meetings with President Ronald Reagan, whom the Moral Majority had helped elect, and President George H.W. Bush.

Among the most important lessons Falwell taught, DeMoss says, is that politics is the art of the possible.

“You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who was more politically conservative than Falwell, but he became increasingly pragmatic,” DeMoss says, eating blueberries from a plastic cup in his hotel room. “He was more practical and open-minded than a lot of people saw.”

As he waged crusades against abortion and for prayer in schools, Falwell proudly linked arms with non-evangelicals. While others in the burgeoning Christian Right wanted to organize only among their own flocks, the Moral Majority chief pushed an idea called co-belligerency: people of different religious backgrounds setting aside theological differences to pursue common political goals.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

“A lot of people forget this or didn’t know it to begin with, but the Moral Majority was a coalition of evangelicals, Catholics, Jews and Mormons,” DeMoss says. “It was not an evangelical organization.”

Mormons consider themselves to be Christians, but some evangelicals and other traditional Christians disagree. While Mormons treat the Bible as Scripture, they also consider the Book of Mormon to be a holy book

There are other big differences between Mormonism and traditional Christianity, including the Mormon belief that the modern prophets of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can receive revelations from God. Traditional Christians believe that the period for such revelations is over.

But Falwell’s insistence on coalition building with Mormons and others stuck with DeMoss long after he left the Lynchburg in 1991 to start his own Christian PR firm in Atlanta.

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The firm, called the DeMoss Group, took Falwell as its first client and quickly added business from big Christian groups like Chuck Colson’s Prison Ministries, Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse and Christian Crusade for Christ.

More than 20 years later, those groups are still with DeMoss.

“What makes Mark different than a lot other guys in this business is that he’s independently wealthy,” says Graham, who notes that DeMoss’ wife, April, is also from a family that started an insurance company.

“I find him to shoot straight because he’s not trying to keep my business,” Graham says. “I think he’s more concerned with trying to be honest. He will bill you and then at the same time he’ll make a big contribution back to you.”

Mark DeMoss with the Rev. Franklin Graham, a client since 1991.

Though DeMoss has kept his work for Romney, which is unpaid, separate from the DeMoss Group, the relationships he built over decades through his PR work are key to selling Romney to evangelical leaders.

Graham had never met Romney before DeMoss arranged for 15 conservative Christian leaders to visit Romney’s Massachusetts home in 2007, when he was preparing to make his first run for president.

As the leaders took turns introducing themselves, many volunteered that they had traveled to Romney’s home mostly because DeMoss had asked them.

By the end of the meeting, Romney had made some new friends.

“Sometimes on TV someone can appear one way but when you meet them face to face you see the personal side of him,” says Graham, recalling the meeting. “After I met Governor Romney I liked him very much and even more l liked his wife and his marriage and his commitment to family.”

As for theological issues that interested some of the evangelicals, Graham says Romney “answered those questions extremely well.”

Since then, DeMoss has helped evangelical leaders not only become more comfortable with the idea of a Mormon in the White House but also with Romney’s evolving position on issues like gay marriage and abortion.

“He’s absolutely trusted as a pro-life person,” Land says of DeMoss. “When he says Governor Romney is pro-life, that means something. That helps.”

Land is among the many evangelical leaders who use DeMoss to relay concerns or advice to the governor.

“Mark’s a trusted negotiator,” says Land, who had dinner with Romney and DeMoss last year.

Though Romney’s 2008 campaign was unsuccessful, DeMoss counted it as a victory that no major evangelical figure came out against him over his faith, even if few publicly endorsed his campaign.

Four years later, there still aren’t many prominent evangelicals who’ve come out publicly for Romney.

And there are questions about where Romney stands with rank-and-file evangelicals. A recent Pew poll found that, while most white evangelicals support Romney, a quarter are uncomfortable with his religion. Just one in five in that group are strongly pro-Romney.

Ten weeks before Election Day, it’s not where a Republican nominee wants a key part of his base to be.

Visiting Salt Lake

DeMoss’ case for why evangelicals can enthusiastically support a Mormon candidate echo Falwell’s arguments about why evangelicals and Mormons should be political allies.

It goes like this: If evangelicals are OK with seeing a Mormon doctor or flying with a Mormon pilot, DeMoss reasons, shouldn’t they be OK with a Mormon president? We’re electing a commander-in-chief, not a pastor-in-chief, right?

Plus, fixing the national economy – the No.1 issue in this election – doesn’t really have anything to do with religion.

In fact, DeMoss was drawn to Romney because of the candidate’s unusual breadth of experience as a businessman, governor and Olympics Committee chief with dual degrees from Harvard.

“On a personal level and a spiritual level, I might care a great deal about what somebody believes doctrinally,” he tells NPR during a phone interview from his room at the Vinroy. “In the case of presidential election, I don’t care.”

After hanging up, DeMoss stays on that point: “I hope I’ve shifted a conversation about the religion of a candidate to one about the values of a candidate.”

DeMoss says that voting on the basis of a candidate’s faith is dangerous and inane. He notes that three of the most successful politicians from his own denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, are all Democrats whom many evangelical loathe: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Al Gore.

Since January, DeMoss has spent about half his time making such arguments, stressing to clients that the work is not official firm business. Still, he suspects that some potential clients have skipped signing up with the DeMoss Group because its founder and president is pushing a Mormon candidate.

April, his wife, who’s checking her iPhone on the bed of DeMoss’ hotel room, says they’ve lost a few friends over Romney, too. But they’ve also made new Mormons friends, and have developed a deep appreciation for the Mormon faith.

On the van to the hotel to address the North Carolina delegation, Mark and April trade stories with their Mormon driver, a convention staffer, about their respective visits to Salt Lake City, where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is headquartered.

Later, DeMoss talks about being turned off by the evangelical street preachers he’d seen on the street corners there, preaching to Mormons in town for the church’s annual general assembly. How could such evangelizers hope to convert anybody in the 30 or so seconds it takes to wait for the light to change?

For DeMoss, the episode represents a civility deficit when it comes to the evangelical treatment of Mormons. He sees his work with Romney partly as a corrective.

Whether DeMoss can help soften the evangelical line toward Mormons is an open question. So is whether he can get enough of his brethren to go a giant step further and vote for a Mormon for president.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Christianity • Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Politics

soundoff (1,426 Responses)
  1. To be a Father...


    September 4, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  2. donner

    Go to YouTube and search "Banned Mormon Cartoon" If you can vote for Romney after watching it, God help this country.

    September 4, 2012 at 10:48 am |
  3. c

    The Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Article *8: We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

    Morman founder Joseph Smith told the following tale several different ways in the ADDITIONAL Morman studied doctrinal books which are intrical part Mormon theology. Read the different books where Smith say's he was 14 (most popular among Mormans) other's in which he says he's 16 yrs old. Smith also told different tales about the year this Angel Moroni appread to him in Palmyra , New York ; after which Smith supposedly translated some golden plates supposedly written in "reformed heiroglyphics".
    See: Smtih Doctrine & Covenant, Pearl of Great Price etc. to get a better understanding of the blatant lies and historical discrepance's told by the modern day Morman Apostles which millions of Mormans adhere to.

    It interesting to me that this very religious guy could stand up for a religion whose fundamental tenant in LDS Article 8 questions the validity of any other christian or non christian religious organization whose fundamental religiosity depends on the Bible & alone as its theological foundation.
    "The task of selling a Mormon presidential candidate to evangelical America has fallen to a public relations man ..." Lord have Mercy.

    September 4, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  4. sam stone

    "I'm a fundamentalist. What hate have I spread?"

    "I'd call it saving their immortal souls from the wrath that is to come"

    You purport to speak for god, Topher

    September 4, 2012 at 8:36 am |
  5. Reality

    Only for new members of this blog:

    Why the Christian Right no longer matters in presidential elections:

    And why Mitt Romney and Mr. Marriott are simply wasting their money:

    Once again, all the conservative votes in the country "ain't" going to help a "pro-life" presidential candidate, i.e Mitt Romney, in 2012 as the "Immoral Majority" rules the country and will be doing so for awhile. The "Immoral Majority" you ask?

    The fastest growing USA voting bloc: In 2008, the 70+ million "Roe vs. Wade mothers and fathers" of aborted womb-babies" whose ranks grow by two million per year i.e. 78+ million "IM" voters in 2012.

    2008 Presidential popular vote results:

    69,456,897 for pro-abortion/choice BO, 59,934,814 for "pro-life" JM.

    And the irony:

    And all because many women fail to take the Pill once a day or men fail to use a condom even though in most cases these men have them in their pockets. (maybe they should be called the "Stupid Majority"?)

    The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions ( one million/yr) and S-TDs (19 million/yr) in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or condoms properly and/or use other safer birth control methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.


    September 4, 2012 at 7:24 am |
  6. mama kindless

    There is nothing good about this DeMoss nutjob nor his old boss Jerry Falwell – one of the most dangerous men this country has ever known. And now he's going to help Mitt? These idiots are just greedy and rotten to the core. I hope people really understand what they are getting themselves into if they are supporting Romney.

    September 4, 2012 at 1:13 am |
  7. We must listen

    Why are we so upset at the thoughts of another? A thought freely expressed and presented as their own heart felt sentiment? To borrow a few words, I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. Now...lately...I admit....that takes a LOT of self-discipline on my part. But if I value my freedom of speech, it is pure hypocrisy to mock the right of anothers. So many people are so very ready to push those with differing opinions over a cliff, under a bus....heck....light the fires, mob rules. Have we really gotten to that point? My faith is ushakeable. I believe in God. Yes I do. If you dont, thats your call, and your right. But in effect...thats between me and my God and you and your belief.
    Of course religion plays a role in what we think and how we see the world. So would Atheism, which is a belief. They are all beliefs, faiths, because we cannot prove them. If we could prove them, then faith would be unnecessary. It would be science.
    So think, believe, discuss and debate.
    But do not deny anyone's right to hold such belief and act according to that. Do not belittle.
    Too many of our best have served and too many died to uphold and respect said right to believe.
    I believe we should respect each other. I will listen. I may not agree, I might agree. But I will guard your right to believe.
    If we stop doing that, then what did all of us who served....defend?
    I believe in us.
    I am not naive. I know the world and work hard to understand what is happening around us in the world.
    Ther are many, many, many reasons to become jaded.
    But I believe in us.
    Winston Churchill said that "the United States invariably does the right thing after having exhausted every other alternative."
    We've never been perfect.
    Say your piece, people. Say it, and respect those who disagree. I'm listening.

    September 3, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
  8. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    September 3, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • hal 9000

      I'm sorry "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but you assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 3, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
  9. migi

    Hey "evangelical"what if that "non abortion"grows up unwanted,,abused,neglected,abandoned, neverhas a chance to learn the skills necessary to be a productive self-sufficient being? Are you going to reach i your pocket and help him out?Are you going to advocate for healthcare for this being if its disabled or too sick too take care of itself!No! You will be screaming about "hand-outs" like the rest of the hipocrite evangelicals.

    September 3, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Topher

      You're right. Let's just kill all the undesirables. (That's sarcasm.)

      September 3, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Evangelical

      If the child is abused, neglected or abandoned, the parents should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.

      September 3, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • Yabba Dabba Don't

      Well, the world is already overpopulated. There are still enough natural resources where we don't feel it as much, but when we run them out and prices start skyrocketing, you will know that the planet cannot support this size population indefinitely, much less let it grow unchecked.

      There is not enough vegetation anymore to scrub the CO2 out of the air. Fisheries such as Shark and Salmon have collapsed. The population is growing but farming is not. Oil supplies will run out in about 40 years, and there is no viable alternative on the horizon.

      I've got news for you: population reduction is going to have to happen. It may look like China's "one child" policy, or whatever, but screaming for the life of every fetus just makes the big problem come quicker.

      And where the hell is Jesus? He should send us an amendment that says "Go forth and procreate is rescinded – it's very bad advice now. Stop."

      September 3, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • billdeacons

      You're taqlking about eugenics. At least we finally have it on the table.

      September 3, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • fredpickles

      what if, what if? A baby born to a regular middle class couple may also turn out the same way later in life. So should we just abort all babies just in case they face hardship later on in life? And to Yabba you think the problems of the world are related to over population? There was no starvation 3000 years ago when the world population was extremely lower?

      September 4, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  10. GayAtheist

    Civil rights are marching on. We shall overcome. One day very soon, liberty and justice for all will wash over the USA, from sea to shining sea because this land is your land, this land is my land. America: land of the free, home of the gay.

    After all, the Pentagon is celebrating Gay Pride, not Christian pride.

    OBAMA 2012...because decency matters.

    September 3, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Evangelical

      Hom.os.exuals are far from decent.

      September 3, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Once again Evanidiot displays a true christian's belief.

      September 3, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Topher

      Who is paying for this celebration?

      September 3, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Probably the same budget that pays for christian celebrations in Washington.

      September 3, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Topher

      What Christian celebrations?

      September 3, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls


      September 3, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Topher

      Ah. Do they still get to call it that in Washington? Or is it now a Holiday Tree and a Holiday Party?

      September 3, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Evangelical

      Atheism becomes hom.os.exual when confronted with Truth. Proven.

      September 3, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Evanidiot, you have no more proven that than you have proven the existence of any god.

      September 3, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      I smell another disgruntled

      September 3, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • sam stone

      Evangelicals are inbred mother mounting cowards

      September 4, 2012 at 8:25 am |
  11. Evangelical

    Romney is our best chance to stem the evil tide of secularism in America. He is not my first choice or even my second (those belong to Bachman and Santorum), but I believe that he will do more to advance the Christian agenda than the current president who has proven himself hostile to the Christian agenda. To those who refuse to vote for Romney because he is Mormon, ask yourselves the question of who will be more favorable to conservative Christianity. He opposes abortion in most cases and opposes hom.os.exual marriage. Those are reasons enough to vote for him.

    September 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Topher

      I certainly can't vote for Obama, but I'm not sure I can vote for Romney, either.

      September 3, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • mige

      Bachman and Santorum are two of the best reasons for abortion.They both have recieved big government hand-outs. I rest my case! Then of course-there's you!

      September 3, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Evangelical

      So, mige, it is clear that you are pro-abortion. Wow! Most "pro-choice" people say that they are not "pro-abortion." Here we have the true face of the "pro-choicers."

      September 3, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • TR6

      " he will do more to advance the Christian agenda than the current president who has proven himself hostile to the Christian agenda"

      Obama is not "hostile to the Christian agenda"
      He is hostile to the fundamentalist/evangelical fruit cakes that want to turn the USA into a theocracy

      September 3, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son


      September 3, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Everyman

      How can he advance the Christian agenda...Mormons aren't Christian...

      September 4, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  12. Tim

    Help us spread the message of Jesus Christ!!!


    September 3, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • GayAtheist

      Didn't you hear?


      September 3, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  13. migi

    Since Romney doesnt think we should pull out of Afghanistan and we should have more troops there, first thing he should do if he wins the election is send his 5 sons over there.Then send his wife in aburka and put her to work for the first time in her life.

    September 3, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Howard

      I am sure we will see the two Obama daughters join the military, when they turn 18 ... just like Barack and Michelle did ... oh, wait a minute ...

      September 3, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • tallulah13

      The difference, Howie, is that President Obama is trying to get us out of Afghanistan, not stay in.

      Sadly, this whole mess would probably be over one way or another if former President Bush hadn't lied us into the second, unnecessary and unprovoked war in Iraq. History has shown over and over that the only people who win wars in Afghanistan are Afghanis. By splitting our resources, Bush made a difficult war impossible, to the detriment of our troops and the finances of our country.

      September 3, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  14. migi

    You religious fanatics are all talk about salvation when in the real world, the only one that can be proven we have people starving,without healthcare,and serving life sentences for stupid drug laws.But dont allow contraception so we can have more of these unwanted so they can live lives of misery obviously without the help okf the so-called reigious right

    September 3, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • teapartybubba

      You Godless liberal! Stop destroying America. http://teapartybubba.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/the-10-commandments-and-american-exceptionalism/

      September 3, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  15. migi

    The Republican party of going backwards.Reverse Roe vs Wade,send the troops back to Iraq,take away medicare and social security,take away womens right to vote.How about going back to slavery,burning witches at the stake and torturing and killing heretics.These people are worse than the Nazis,I don'f care what religion they are.I want to see his tax returns for the last ten years.

    September 3, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  16. on StreetWise

    Can Mitt Romney’s evangelical ambassador "seal" the deal before Election Day? I really believe the word is "steal" the deal... more correctly!

    Jesus said; “You can not serve two masters, you will hate one, and love the other… you can not love God and money both” (the implied word here intent is [equally] In other words, Romney and Ryan are both lovers of power and money and yet spew talk about Jesus’ lordship to the ’true” believers… it’s an impossible mission to love both Ayn Rand and Jesus, but Romney and their company’s disciples believes different.

    September 3, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Andrew

      I'll take Ayn Rand over Jesus every time.

      September 3, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  17. W.G.

    As a born again Christian I could never vote for a mormon or catholic . Especially these two who
    think the poor and the sick an the old and single working moms with children are a liability ! Mr. Obama says
    he´s a Christian , albeit not a conservative Christian but I can pray that GOD Moves him in the right direction .
    Now before any of you start calling me a bigot remember I read the Bible not that comic book the Mormons
    have turned theirs into . And to all of you atheist , if you don´t believe in GOD then why waste your time
    on a Belief blog ? Isn´t that the height of insanity ? Think about it to deny and Blaspheme against the Holy Spirit
    without repenting is the Only way GOD CANNOT FORGIVE YOU .

    September 3, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  18. howart Dao

    Humm ... Mr. Sataan is back at work, pulling the strings behind the curtain again 😉

    September 3, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • sam stone

      oooooh....mister satan.....pretty scary....for those who believe that drivel, that is

      September 4, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  19. John

    Christianity in the US is little more than Political Action Committees (PAC). This is why they should NOT be tax exempt. In churches all across American on Sunday mornings the congregation is told how to vote and who to vote for and their tax exempt dollars fund campaigns.

    September 3, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Topher

      Ridiculous. My pastor has NEVER told me how to vote. And the money I give goes to help pay his salary, fund our missionaries, make repairs to the church and spread the gospel. Not one red cent goes to a politician or his campaign. And neither should the government get their hands on it. It is my business whom I give money to.

      September 3, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • John

      Funding your missionaries and spreading your poison. So your money goes towards distroying other cultures, telling them they are all wrong for believing in their fairy tales and they'd better swap to your fairy tale or roast for all of eternity for not having been bleesed to have been indoctrinated into the correct cult as you have been.

      September 3, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • howart Dao

      Reddiculous. The only time my preacher ever got involved in government is every Sunday when he condems the EVIL of big government and the failure to to put GOD over everthing else.

      September 3, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Topher

      Call it what you want ... I'd call it saving their immortal souls from the wrath that is to come. What does that have to do with politics or tax exempt status?

      September 3, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      Rubbish, Topher and howart Dao,

      Televangelists have been getting away with way too much with regard to their tax exempt status. They speak as representatives of tax-exempt organizations for political purposes. This is a huge slap in the face of the basic ideals of separation of church and state. Although their activity relative to their status may not be presently deemed illegal, it is nevertheless dangerous to the rational-thinking segment of the population that would not like to see the country become a theocracy.

      There are also many, myself included, who would like to see tax-exempt status for religious organizations eliminated or applied in a manner that better serve society – that better takes into account the organization's direct service to society rather than just exemption from earnings that go to nothing more than growing the organization or political activities.

      September 3, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • CalgarySandy

      Generalizations about widely diverging belief systems does no go to the cause of getting rid of the bigots and abusers. You just sound like them. It is only Fundamentalists who spread hatred and influence politics. Not every Christian Church is a Fundamentalist one and few of them would tell anyone who to vote for. You are spewing lies that either you made up or you read a post by an equally ignorant bigot. I am an atheist but not because preachers force you to vote for their candidate. You will never be intelligent on the subject if all you have is trash like this. Get a real education. Read the comments by the moderates. You are a hatemonger.

      September 3, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      Sorry, CalgarySandy, but however you try to soften things up, bigotry was born in the most basic tenets of all religions. The conflicted nature of most religious doctrine just has that problem built-in, and allows the follower to easily become adept at being two-faced for whatever their immediate purpose is – political gain, alleviating a fear, etc. Moderation does help reason with others – I will give you that, but calling someone to task over improper use of tax-exempt status is not hate.

      September 3, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • GayAtheist

      Amen. you are 100% correct. Liberty "university" is a tax shelter / diploma mill.

      September 3, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Topher

      I'm a fundamentalist. What hate have I spread?

      save the world ...

      "Televangelists have been getting away with way too much with regard to their tax exempt status."

      I'd agree they get away with too much, but I think that is in regards to their atrocious theology, not their tax exempt status.

      "They speak as representatives of tax-exempt organizations for political purposes. This is a huge slap in the face of the basic ideals of separation of church and state."

      Separation was insti.tuted to protect religion, not the other way around. There's nothing wrong with religion being involved with politics. Our faith informs our ideals and thus we vote that way. What's wrong with that?

      "Although their activity relative to their status may not be presently deemed illegal, it is nevertheless dangerous to the rational-thinking segment of the population that would not like to see the country become a theocracy."

      While I truly wish the entire population of the US would repent, trust in Christ and be saved, I don't think most Christians want the country to become a theocracy.

      "There are also many, myself included, who would like to see tax-exempt status for religious organizations eliminated or applied in a manner that better serve society..."

      Sigh. Yeah, 'cause I need the government to decide for me who I give my money to. Why can't I decide that for myself?

      September 3, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • sam stone

      "Our faith informs our ideals and thus we vote that way. What's wrong with that?"

      It becomes an issue when your faith involves supporting policies that deny others their civil rights.

      September 4, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • sam stone

      tell us, topher, what other groups do you wish to deny their civil rights? drinkers? adulterers? smokers? are they not all sinners? you want to deny gays their rights, why not other sinners?

      September 5, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • sam stone

      topher: if your faith informs you that you must deny people their civil rights, why stop with one group? why not deny other sinner their rights? take rights away from adulterers, drunkns, obese, judgemental stone casting fvcks?

      if your faith takes precedence over your citizenship, you should not vote.

      render unto caesar.....

      September 6, 2012 at 9:49 am |
  20. bold

    I have a lot of christian friends they have never forced anything on me. Sounds like you have the problem with your own relig. There GrowUp.......What do you think everyones out to get ya....... or that its all about you?

    September 3, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • .o.

      Who in the hell is this nutball talking to??

      September 3, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • John

      Not sure but apparently his Christian friends got to him more than he realizes.

      September 3, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      I suspect he's got his magic underwear strapped on a little oo tight....

      September 3, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.