by Dan Savage
on Fri, Oct 7, 2011 at 3:44 PM
Hey, it's not just gays who are getting attacked at this weekend's Values Voter Summit! We feel your pain, Mormons, we feel your pain:
Texas evangelical leader Robert Jeffress, the Baptist megachurch pastor who introduced Rick Perry at the Values Voter Summit, said Friday afternoon he does not believe Mitt Romney is a Christian. Jeffress described Romney's Mormon faith as a “cult,” and said evangelicals had only one real option in the 2012 primaries. “That is a mainstream view, that Mormonism is a cult,” Jeffress told reporters here. “Every true, born again follower of Christ ought to embrace a Christian over a non-Christian.” Asked by POLITICO if he believed Romney is a Christian, Jeffress answered: “No.”
Well it's on now. The pastor, Robert Jeffress, who introduced Rick Perry at the Values Voters Summit, has just opened a can of evangelical whup-ass on Mitt Romney.... And I just heard Tony Perkins on CNN refuse to deny that Mormonism is a cult. I have to say the crudeness of this attack, even if Perry had no idea a surrogate would convey this message, is striking. It appears the Perry camp signed off on Jeffress two weeks ahead of time and Jeffress has said this kind of thing before—which makes this even more gob-smacking.
If you wonder why Romney cannot quite seal the deal, Pastor Jeffress has part of the answer. If you turn a political party in a church, as the GOP essentially is, sectarianism will eventually emerge. In all its ugly, bigoted, negative manifestations. Perry is showing he can play a card from the bottom of the deck when he's up against it.