Jon Hunstman: Pastor Who Criticizied Mormonism Is “A Moron”

One of the advantages of not being the frontrunner in a political race, is they you’re somewhat more free to speak your mind:

Mitt Romney has been reluctant thus far to address controversial comments from a supporter of Rick Perry equating the Mormon religion with a cult. Jon Huntsman — not so much.

In an interview with CNN on Monday afternoon, the former Utah governor, who, like Romney, is a Mormon, called Pastor Robert Jeffress a “moron” (video below).

“The fact that some moron can stand up and make a comment like that … [is] outrageous,” Huntsman told Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room.” “Anyone who is associated with someone willing to make those comments ought to distance themselves in very bold language.”

Huntsman is right, of course, but you won’t hear Mitt Romney or anyone else talking like that lest they offend the powers that be among the evangelicals.

Video:

 

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Quick Takes, Religion, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed for too young in July 2021.

Comments

  1. Fog says:

    I think Huntsman may actually be a real, small-c conservative. He gives us a glimpse of what Republicans might look like if they weren’t forced to wear the ideological straitjacket. Unfortunately, guys like him have no future in national politics, as you have pointed out.

  2. Jay Tea says:

    Jeffress has offered an explanation that satisfies me. He said he was speaking in the theological context, and there Mormonism does qualify as a “cult.” It started about 1800 years after Christianity, and added its own holy book to the scripture. So, by that meaning, it is a “cult.”

    He also said he had great respect for Mormons, and praised the character of the Mormons he’d met. And he said he meant absolutely nothing pejorative in the use of the term “cult,” which has acquired some rather unsavory connotations.

    This is just another attempt by the media and the left (but I repeat myself) to pick fights among conservatives. It’s a tactic that’s served them well in the past.

    J.

  3. J.F. says:

    Jay Tea,

    Sorry, but I have to disagree with you on the use of the word “Cult.” The pastor’s distinction between “theological” and “regular” cults is disingenuous at best, malicious at worst. The vast majority of Americans, and dare I say Republican voters, do not make a distinction between the two types of cults: they hear the word cult and think of devil worshipping, brainwashing, and other unsavory activities. Who cares if the pastor says he personally likes Mormons. After pinning the wacky cult label on them it seems he only brings up their good moral character to save face.

    The pastor’s interview with Anderson Cooper was interesting. He claims that Mormons don’t believe in Christ; Mormons certainly do believe in Christ. He then goes on to say he “accepts Obama’s claims” that he is a Christian. Let’s not get started on the weaseling going on in that statement. . . Why does Jeffress accept Obama’s claim, but not the claims of Mormons?

    Sorry, but this isn’t a media created controversy: this is libel and religious bigotry.

  4. Brian says:

    Jay: If starting later than an established religion and adding a holy book qualifies a religion as a cult, than ipso facto Christianity is also a cult.

  5. I woudl just like to say that when I called Jeffress a douchenozzle, I was speaking in the theological context, and there Jeffress does qualify as a “douchenozzle”. He speaks often about spiritual cleansing and the need to wash away sin. So, by that meaning, he is a “douchnozzle.”

    I have a great respect for douchenozzles, and I want to praise the character of the douchenozzles I’ve met. I meant absolutely nothing perjorative in the use of the term “douchenozzle,” which has acquired some rather unsavory connotations.

  6. Jay Tea says:

    @Brian: Funny you should mention that. Just this morning I blogged about this at Wizbang, and noted that Christianity started out as a Jewish cult — and was referred to as such.

    J.

  7. @J.F.:

    Mormons certainly do believe in Christ

    Merely “believing in Christ” doesn’t make you Christian. Muslims believe Christ was the messiah. There are atheists who believe Christ existed as a historical figure. It would be strange to claim these as sects of Christianity.

    Mormons have beliefs about Christ that are completely at odds with mainstream Christianity. It’s possible to legitimately argue that these differences are sufficient to make it a sepparate religion without having to disparage it as a cult.

  8. Jay Tea says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I’d ask how you know about the reverend’s fluid direction and regulation abilities, but I’m afraid you’d answer.

    J.

  9. Jay Tea says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Um… no. It’s my understanding that Muslims see Christ as a prophet, but NOT the Messiah. If he was the Messiah, then there wouldn’t be any need for Mohammed to be a prophet.

    J.

  10. michael reynolds says:

    It’s the battle of the crazies. Blood and Body vs. Magic Underwear. Let’s get ready to ruuuuumb-lllllle!

  11. @Jay Tea:

    Jesus in Islam:

    In Islam, Jesus (Arabic: عيسى‎ ʿĪsā) is considered to be a Messenger of God and the Masih (Messiah) who was sent to guide the Children of Israel (banī isrā’īl) with a new scripture, the Injīl or Gospel.[1] The belief in Jesus (and all other messengers of God) is required in Islam, and a requirement of being a Muslim. The Qur’an mentions Jesus twenty-five times, more often, by name, than Muhammad.[2][3] It states that Jesus was born to Mary (Arabic: Maryam) as the result of virginal conception, a miraculous event which occurred by the decree of God (Arabic: Allah). To aid in his ministry to the Jewish people, Jesus was given the ability to perform miracles (such as healing the blind, bringing dead people back to life, etc.), all by the permission of God rather than of his own power. According to the popular opinion and Muslim traditions, Jesus was not crucified but instead, he was raised up by God unto the heavens. This “raising” is understood to mean through bodily ascension.

    Muslims believe that Jesus will return to earth near the day of judgment to restore justice and to defeat Masih ad-Dajjal (“the false messiah”, also known as the Antichrist).[4][5]

    But see, I learned about Islam when I took a religious studies course in college, rather then by listening to talk radio.

  12. sam says:

    @Jay Tea:

    Jeffress has offered an explanation that satisfies me. He said he was speaking in the theological context, and there Mormonism does qualify as a “cult.”

    Sure. And I’m equally sure most of America is tuned into the theological niceties when it hears the word ‘cult’.

    This is just another attempt by the media and the left (but I repeat myself) to pick fights among conservatives. It’s a tactic that’s served them well in the past.

    That going to be your dodge every time somebody in your pew section steps into some shit? “It’s all the librul media’s fault.” That’s pretty weak.

  13. BleevK says:

    A crazy calling another crazy, crazy. That is just crazy.

  14. mantis says:

    This is just another attempt by the media and the left (but I repeat myself) to pick fights among conservatives.

    Oh, did “the media and the left” make Bill Keller say this?

    Bill Keller, the self-styled “world’s leading Internet Evangelist and the founder of LivePrayer.com,” in 2007 famously said “a vote for Romney is a vote for Satan!”

    On Monday, Keller called the faith “satanically inspired” and called Smith a “racist, pedophile, polygamist and murderer!” (Exclamation points his.) Moreover, he says, “those who believe in a false Gospel like the Mormon’s [sic] teach will die and be in hell for all eternity.”

    Or perhaps it was “the media and the left” who made Bryan Fischer claim that the 1st Amendment doesn’t apply to Mormons.

    Gee, the left sure does control a lot of religious rightwingers, doesn’t it? How devious!

    By the way, while your “media and the left (but I repeat myself),” which you obviously think is quite clever since you keep using it over and over again, is cute, I wonder how you deal with the cognitive dissonance. After all, there are a lot of prominent right wing media outlets, including the most watched cable news channel, and they are talking about Mormonism also. I guess Fox is just another example of the liberal media, right Jay?

    Um… no. It’s my understanding that Muslims see Christ as a prophet, but NOT the Messiah. If he was the Messiah, then there wouldn’t be any need for Mohammed to be a prophet.

    Muslims believe Jesus was the messiah, and that he will return to destroy the Antichrist. Their concept of messiah is slightly different from that of Christians, and both are slightly different from that of Jews, but the fact remains.

  15. PD Shaw says:

    @Stormy Dragon: “According to the popular opinion and Muslim traditions, Jesus was not crucified”

    But there’s the rub. Muslims believe Jesus faked his own crucifiction (someone else was subsituted in his stead) and Christians are dupes. For a Mulsim to say he/she believes in Jesus, is akin to Michael Reynolds saying he believes in Jesus and he plays catcher for the New York Yankees.

  16. @PD Shaw:

    Again, this was my point. Merely holding some sort of belief about Jesus does not make you a Christian, as there are groups that clearly aren’t Christian that still maintain some sort of belief about Jesus.

    What distinguishes Christianity is a very specific belief about Jesus: that he was God incarnate. While Muslims do believe Jesus was the Messiah, they clearly don’t think he was God incarnate. Mormons also do not believe Jesus was God incarnate, although they do believe he inherited God’s divinity. Whether that is close enough to countas Christian is a legitimate point of argument, although I don’t see how it’s relevant to temporal politics.

  17. PD Shaw says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I accidentally overlooked that post where you made that point.

  18. Kylopod says:

    >The pastor’s distinction between “theological” and “regular” cults is disingenuous at best, malicious at worst.

    @J.F.,

    I think you do not go far enough in striking down Jeffress’s argument. The distinction he is invoking is not esoteric but utterly meaningless. It’s true that the word “cult” has not always meant “religious group that engages in mind control against its followers.” But what it did mean has precious little to do with what Jeffress is talking about. It came from the word “worship,” and until the 20th century was a learned, academic term generally applied only to ancient sects like the Cult of Isis. Only in relatively recent times did it start to become a negative way of describing contemporary religious groups. But even the modern definition is hard to pin down. I don’t remember who said it first, but one expression that sums it up is, “The difference between a cult and a religion is a hundred years.” “Cult” is often thoughtlessly applied to just about any group that hasn’t yet acquired mainstream respectability in American culture, and sometimes it’s just a way of suggesting that one’s co-religionists have flown off the handle (like mainstream Judaism’s reponse to Lubavitcher Hasidim who have come to see their late leader as the Messiah, even though similar events led to the creation of the world’s biggest religion). I once was reading a book that was allegedly about “cults,” and it turned out to be an evangelical treatise attacking mostly Christian groups like J.’s Witnesses, Mormons, Christian Scientists, etc. for having deviated from orthodox Christian doctrine. This book was doing exactly what Jeffress is doing: hijacking the word “cult” to mean “heretic/infidel,” while trying to give the attacks a pseudo-academic veneer of respectability.