Cain, Bachmann sidestep questions about Mormon faith

WASHINGTON Sun Oct 9, 2011 5:46pm EDT

1 of 2. Republican U.S. presidential candidate Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN) makes remarks during the Family Research Council's Values Voters Summit in Washington, October 7, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican presidential contenders Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann refused on Sunday to wade into a controversy over a Texas pastor's comments about rival Mitt Romney's Mormon faith.

"I am not running for theologian in chief," Cain, a former pizza executive who is rising fast in polls, said on CNN's "State of the Union" show when asked about the views of Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress.

"I am not going to get into an analysis of Mormonism versus Christianity. I'm not getting into that," said Cain, who noted he was a lifelong Christian.

Jeffress, who backs Texas Governor Rick Perry in the 2012 presidential race, said at a conference of conservative voters on Friday that Mormons were a cult and were not Christians.

The pastor of the 10,000-member First Baptist Church in Dallas, Jeffress introduced Perry at the conference. Perry, who is an evangelical Christian, rejected Jeffress's comments and said he did not believe Mormons were a cult.

But Jeffress told his congregants on Sunday he welcomed the opportunity to warn people about a "false religion."

"I have not changed my position," Jeffress told about 2,000 people attending the early service at First Baptist Church.

He reiterated his conviction after the service.

"Absolutely, Mormonism is a false religion," he told Reuters. "It was invented 1800 years after the establishment of Christianity."

Jeffress, who earned degrees at Baylor University in Waco and the Dallas Theological Seminary, said he has known Perry for several years but that they are not close.

Bachmann, also a conservative Christian, called the controversy "inconsequential" and said jobs and the economy were the topics of concern to voters.

"We have religious tolerance in this country," said the congresswoman from Minnesota.

"I don't think that I'll be judged based on my faith as president of the United States, I think I'll be judged based upon the good ideas that I have to turn the economy around and have job creation."

(Reporting by John Whitesides and Judy Wiley; editing by Doina Chiacu and Chris Wilson)

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Comments (26)
triper57 wrote:
Seems that Cain and Bachman learned something from the Founders. Religious Doctrine has no place in our Government. But religious values play an important role in the maintenance of our freedoms and our government.

Oct 09, 2011 12:09pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Jaayy wrote:
Ron Paul actually defended Mitt Romney concerning this swipe from the Rick Perry camp.

Why didn’t Herman Cain or Michelle Bachmann do so? They are politicians. Paul is a leader.

Oct 09, 2011 12:23pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
USAPragmatist wrote:
Ok Pastor Jeffress, let us compare Christianity and Mormonism….

Yes, the Morman ideas of Jesus are a little whacky, but are they any less whacky then the Christian version?

Also, I do not see large oppressive, borderline genocide history in Mormonism like you do in Christianity aka Crusades and Inquisitions.

I mean all religions are basically hoaxes so what makes your hoax better then all the other hoaxes. Religion served a useful role in the evolution of Human Civilization, but that role has been marginalized/made extinct with the advent of scientific thought/technology. Religion is an attempt to satisfy the basic human quest for the understanding of the unknown, while science and technology actually satisfy this instinct while religion merely pays lip service to it by saying ‘God did it’.

Oct 09, 2011 1:42pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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