Evangelical leader endorses Rick Perry, ‘a follower of Christ’

Michael Nagle GETTY IMAGES Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, said Texas Gov. Rick Perry is “a … Continued

Michael Nagle


Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, said Texas Gov. Rick Perry is “a born-again follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

An influential evangelical pastor threw his support behind Texas governor and GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry during the Values Voter Summit Friday, drawing a distinction between Perry, a “follower of Christ,” and that other candidate, Mormon Mitt Romney.

As he introduced Perry, Robert Jeffress, pastor of the 10,000-member First Baptist Church in Dallas, said:

Jeffress never mentioned Romney’s name or said the word Mormon, but he did not have to.

During Romney’s 2008 run for the GOP nomination, Jeffress preached against Mormonism in a sermon: “Mitt Romney is a Mormon, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. Even though he talks about Jesus as his Lord and Savior, he is not a Christian. Mormonism is not Christianity. Mormonism is a cult.”

Romney’s Mormonism may be one of his greatest political liabilities. Religion pollster and On Faith blogger Robert P. Jones noted this week:

Still, there is some hope for the Latter-day Saint candidate for the nation’s highest office. More Republicans than Democrats support Mormons in the role of presidency, and although Jeffress and other Christian leaders have criticized Romney’s faith, in recent months other Christian organizations and conservative activists have made the case for supporting a Mormon candidate. Earlier this week, Pat Robertson called Mitt Romney an “outstanding Christian,” which Jones said “signals (to conservatives) that Romney’s faith is not so different from that of the white evangelical Protestants who form a strong core of the Republican base.”


Elizabeth Tenety Elizabeth Tenety is the former editor of On Faith, where she produced "Divine Impulses," On Faith’s video interview series. She studied Theology and Government at Georgetown University and received her master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. A New York native, Elizabeth grew up in the home of Catholic news junkies where, somewhere in between watching the nightly news and participating in parish life, she learned to ponder both the superficial and the sacred.
  • tommyh9999yahoocom

    Evangelical leaders need to stop following the “confessions” and start following the actions.

    It was reported that Romney paid tithing AND many percentages of his income to charity.

    yet, Rick Perry didn’t even tithe. His giving amounted to just 1/1000th of his income.

    That does that favorite Bible verse say:
    “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.”

    Rick Perry’s fruits seem to be a bit spoiled.

  • JoeT1

    If it bothers enough in the GOP for them to nominate anyone else running, Obama gets my vote, otherwise, Romney has mine. Not only does his religion not matter to me, he has made it clear, in contrast to the rest, that his religion does not affect his political behavior.

  • thebobbob

    Jeffries said, “just because somebody talks about Jesus does not make them a believer.”

    That’s how many real Christians feel about the radical right wing Christianists. Jeffries is saying out loud what most right wingnut Christianists believe. They’ll stay home before they vote for Romney. For some reason they insist that their made-up religion is better than his made-up religion.

  • curwood12

    ‘Rick Perry is a proven leader,a true conservative and a committed follower of Christ.”…” They both better clean up and stop taking the Lord’s Name in Vain!

    Perry, like the snake-oil salesman he is trys to wiggle saying that he doesn’t believe Mormanism = cult … but he keeps kissing up to Jeffreess! Is he the “pastor” that called the Statue of Liberty a “demonic idol” or is he the one that preaches hate against Catholics?

    Hey Ricky … now that you’ve got the Mormons and Catholics voting against you – the real conservatives fear education- especially education for non-white people … who do you think will vote for you?

    Parents who fear you might mandate shots for their children?

  • david6

    Jeffress seems to be a good example of someone who talks the talk but shows that he has rejected what Jesus teaches.

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