Just this week, Franklin Graham published an editorial entitled “Can An Evangelical Christian Vote for a Mormon?” The answer was an enthusiastic yes.
Several conservative Christian bloggers, including Scott, note that the BGEA, Franklin Graham and his Christian aid group, Samaritan’s Purse, are all longtime clients of public relations executive Mark DeMoss, a Romney campaign adviser.
DeMoss said he knew nothing about removing the “cult” language until he read media stories last week. In fact, DeMoss said, for the last six years — since Romney’s first White House run — he has urged evangelicals to forget about candidates’ theology and focus on their values.
‘’I am not advising anyone about how they discuss or treat theological differences in a political context,” DeMoss said, “and there is no evidence I have done so with Franklin Graham or his father.”
The BGEA did not respond to a request for comment.
In a recent article in Christianity Today, a magazine founded by Billy Graham, several evangelical leaders supported the BGEA’s cult declassification.
‘’One very good thing about the Romney candidacy is that it is causing both evangelicals and Mormons to clarify terminology in civil dialogue — as among friends,” Jerry Root, director of an evangelism institute at Wheaton College in Illinois, told the magazine. Other evangelicals quoted in the article disagreed with the decision.
In the end, the Grahams’ endeavors to ease evangelical consciences about voting for a Mormon may backfire.
Bart Barber, pastor of First Baptist Church in Farmersville, Texas, said he had been prepared to vote for Romney — until last week.
‘’The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association probably cost Mitt Romney my November ballot when it stopped calling Mormonism a cult explicitly because of this election,” Barber wrote on his blog.
‘’For the sake of my congregation, when Billy Graham is muddying the waters of the gospel, I have an obligation to provide clarity,” Barber continued.
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