Entries in Cult (2)


Will Romney's Mormon Faith Hurt His Chances at Election?

James Devaney/WireImage(WASHINGTON) -- “Cult” is the word most Americans used when asked in a new poll to describe how they view Mormons, a view that could hurt GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the primaries.

In a new survey by the Pew Research Center, about a third of Americans -- and the same proportion of Republican voters -- say they don’t believe Mormons are Christians.  That number expands even further when specific religious groups are questioned.  More than half of white evangelical Protestants say Mormons aren’t part of the Christian faith.

That viewpoint could hurt Mitt Romney in the Republican primary, but it is likely to come into play in the general election, according to Pew.  The voters most likely to see Romney’s faith as a negative might still vote for him regardless of religion because they staunchly oppose President Obama.  In the general election, Romney does better in a head-to-head matchup with Obama than any of the other top-tier Republican candidates.

“Republicans who say Mormonism is not a Christian religion are less likely to support Romney for the GOP nomination and offer a less favorable assessment of him generally,” the report states.  “But they seem prepared to overwhelmingly back him in a run against Obama in the general election.”

Americans’ views of Mormons have been virtually unchanged over the past four years.  Just 49 percent say they know a little or a great deal about the Mormon religion.  But their views are heavily shaped by the media.  When asked for a word to describe their impression of Mormons, ”cult,” “polygamy,” “restrictive,” “strange,” or “misguided” topped the list.

Romney’s faith has often come into the spotlight, which is why half of all voters know he is a Mormon, according to Pew.  But it doesn’t reflect his political standing.  Of those polled by Pew, 44 percent of Republican voters said his religion does not make a difference.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rick Perry Clarifies Stance on Mormonism, Says It's Not a 'Cult'

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(TIFFIN, Iowa) -- Hours after a Rick Perry supporter categorized the Mormon religion as a “cult,” the Texas governor said he does not hold the same view.

Asked if he thought Mormonism was a cult as he walked out of the Jefferson County BBQ in Tiffin, Iowa, Perry said, “No, I already answered that.”

Earlier in the day, a Perry supporter, Robert Jeffress, pastor of a Baptist megachurch in Dallas, told reporters at the Values Voters Summit in Washington, D.C., that Mormonism was a “cult,” though he did not mention Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney, a Mormon, by name.

Jeffress expressed similar sentiments in 2007 when he said about Romney, “Even though he talks about Jesus as his Lord and savior, he is not a Christian. Mormonism is not Christianity. Mormonism is a cult.”

The Perry press team told ABC News the organizers of the Values Voters Summit selected Jeffress to introduce the Texas governor. But Politico reported that the Perry campaign did approve him as a speaker.

Perry’s speech to the Jefferson County GOP touched on his normal themes of the economic success of Texas, but he also shared his views on “class warfare” being thrown around in politics.

“The idea of class warfare is, on its face, very resentful to America,” Perry said before a crowd of around 250 Iowa voters. “Americans want, they don’t want a handout. They want to be able to work and take care of their family. There’s nothing more important than having the dignity of a job, and I happen to think that anyone who tries to draw or create a wedge between Americans using class warfare really doesn’t understand how Americans think and feel.”

Perry discussed the need to institute stronger economic standards in the country in order to ensure other nations, such as China, know the United States is capable of and willing to engage in competition.

Perry attempted to make his case on immigration and border security, never mentioning controversial legislation he approved that provides in-state tuition to illegal immigrants in Texas. He touted Texas’ efforts in securing the border and passing a voter ID law during the last legislative session.

Perry, who is on his fourth trip to Iowa since announcing his candidacy, reminded the crowd of the importance Iowans hold in electing the next president.

“I’m kind of reminded that pundits don’t choose presidents,” he said. “People of Iowa do.”

The Texas governor will continue to campaign in Iowa this weekend, making stops in Sioux City, Orange City and Spencer.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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