Billy Graham, who endorsed Mitt Romney for president last week, then scrubbed his website of all references calling the Mormon faith a “cult,” still believes Mormonism is a cult. The New Civil Rights Movement, which was the first news outlet to discover and report that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association had removed pages from its website referring to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as a cult, explained why they removed the pages from their website, but refused to alter their judgment.
Noting that the “removal of the post from the Graham group’s website was first noted by the New Civil Rights Movement website,” CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor Eric Marrapodi reported yesterday that Ken Barun, chief of staff for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, told CNN, “Our primary focus at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has always been promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
CNN noted Barun added, “We removed the information from the website because we do not wish to participate in a theological debate about something that has become politicized during this campaign.”
Actually, what’s fairly shocking is that — despite polls that find 18% to 35% of Americans would not vote for a Mormon for president — Romney’s faith has had far less discussion this year than Barack Obama’s always has, even though Obama is a Christian, and there are many, like Billy Graham, who do not believe Mitt Romney is a Christian.
“The removal came after a gay rights group reported that the ‘cult’ reference remained online even after Graham all but endorsed Romney, a Mormon, last Thursday (Oct. 11),” Christianity Today, via the Religion News Service, reported, adding:
Meanwhile, however, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s website continued to call Mormons members of a “cult” along with Unitarians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Scientologists, Spiritists, and members of the Unification Church.
The features of a cult, according to website, are acceptance of revelations outside the Bible, a belief in salvation through good works and unorthodox doctrines on the Trinity.
The cult reference, which was later removed, was first reported by the New Civil Rights Movement, a gay rights advocacy group.
CNN also added:
When asked about Graham’s beliefs about Mormonism, Graham spokesman A. Larry Ross said in a statement that “Through an inclusive evangelistic ministry spanning more than 60 years, Mr. Graham was called to preach the transformative message of the Gospel to the whole world, regardless of one’s religious background, affiliation or none. As such, he never proselytized, targeted or labeled specific people, groups, faiths or denominations.
“Neither did Mr. Graham attempt to divide his audience before he had opportunity to preach to them. He has a genuine love for all people, and faithfully proclaimed the love of God to everyone, providing opportunity for them to respond by making a faith commitment.
“Mr. Graham’s calling is not to pass judgment, but to proclaim the biblical truth that Jesus is the only way to heaven, allowing every individual and group to fall along that plumb line,” the statement went on.
“He further stressed that salvation is the work of Almighty God, and that only He knows what is in each human heart,” the statement said.
It’s important to state at this point that there never should be a litmus test on a presidential candidate’s religion, faith, or lack thereof. America, despite the ravings of faux historians like David Barton, and despite the false claims of the GOP and the Tea Party, was not established as a “Christian nation.”
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