TV-radio talker Glenn Beck, a Mormon who has endorsed Ted Cruz and spoken on his behalf at numerous rallies around the country, has really gone off the deep end.
First Beck proclaimed that Ted Cruz — who so respects the U.S. Constitution that he ran for (and won) the U.S. Senate while still a Canadian citizen — would be the fulfillment of a Mormon end-days prophecy by saving the tattered Constitution.
Then, at a rally in Utah last Monday, March 21, 2016, Beck scolded evangelical Christians that if they don’t vote for Cruz, they’re not listening to God: “All throughout the South the Evangelicals are not listening to their God.”
Now, rightfully, Beck’s outrageous scold is blowing back.
Michael Patrick Leahy reports for Breitbart, March 23, 2016, that Robert Jeffress, pastor of the 12,000 member First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, tells Breitbart News, “Beck’s wacko comment speaks for itself. However, by using the phrase ‘their God’ to refer to the God we evangelical Christians worship, Beck is finally admitting that the true God of the Bible is different than the god of the Book of Mormon. I congratulate Beck for his honesty in differentiating between the two. However, I am somewhat puzzled that Beck claims to know how the God Christians worship would vote in the Republican primaries.”
Jeffress has introduced GOP frontrunner Donald Trump at many events, though as a pastor he is not officially endorsing any candidate.
Dr. Thomas S. Kidd, Distinguished Professor of History and Associate Director of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, also takes exception to Beck’s comments: “Assuming that Mr. Beck is referring to evangelicals who vote for Trump, I would make a distinction that Beck does not: The Bible certainly offers principles on how to think about government and politics. The Bible does not, however, tell us which individual candidates to vote for. If other Christians don’t vote for our preferred candidate, we should not say that they are not listening to God. None of us has special access to God’s opinions about candidates. There are many reasons why devout Christians should hesitate to vote for Donald Trump, but God has not revealed Ted Cruz as the divinely anointed alternative, either.”
Criticisms of Beck’s attack on evangelical Christians who live in the South and are not supporting Cruz were echoed by several participants in the February 25 Breitbart focus groups conducted of evangelical Christians in Tennessee.
Among them is Elizabeth, who now regrets having voted for Cruz in the Tennessee GOP primary. She says: “It has been very disconcerting to see Beck traveling with Cruz. I have had a nagging concern about Cruz’s integrity. His association with Beck confirms this. Beck is not reticent about pushing his Mormon faith, which from an evangelical perspective is heretical. Apparently Cruz has no discomfort being called the fulfillment of a false prophecy. The fact that evangelicals have not fully embraced Cruz but Mormons have is troubling to someone who voted for Cruz but now questions the decision.”
Jim, a Trump supporter and small business owner who participated in the focus groups, tells Breitbart News: “I am disgusted by Beck’s comments and he should be ashamed for casting stones. Are we counting sins? Let’s see: Cruz has lied on multiple occasions, smeared Trump horribly, wasn’t tithing while making over $250,000.”
Martha, a Trump alternate delegate and focus group participant, tells Breitbart News: “I tuned Glenn Beck out a long time ago. I think he has issues and is in no position to determine who is or is not listening to anything or anyone, including God. His hysterics do nothing but turn me off, whether it’s this or anything else. I think he has done some good exposing some of those leftist relationships that he has exposed. But, once he starts on opinion, he always seems totally off the wall to me. Have thought this a long time.”
Aime Molina, another focus group participant, tells Breitbart News, “I was offended by Glenn Beck’s comments, as I was by Romney’s speech several weeks ago. ‘My God’ doesn’t tell me how to vote. I believe God expects me to be involved in the political process for the good of His people and the advancement of His Kingdom. I believe I am called to vote according to the morals and teachings of Jesus. I believe we should vote for the candidate who will enforce the expectations of personal accountability for one’s life and actions, and the protection of our Country and its citizens. I don’t believe that God endorses a specific candidate, and Beck’s comments seem judgmental and manipulative to me. I am not anti-Trump; he is my second choice, but for the record I voted for Ted Cruz. And I’m still offended by Glenn Beck.”
The February 25 Breitbart focus groups of evangelical Christians in Tennessee confirmed the polling research of the Barna Group, the leading pollster of evangelical Christians, which found that committed or traditional evangelicals (weekly attendance at church services, weekly attendance at church classes, participation in small Bible study groups, regular prayer, frequent reading of the Bible, participating in musical worship, listening to Christian music, charitable giving) are more supportive of Cruz, whereas cultural evangelicals are more supportive of Trump. For “cultural” evangelicals, their faith is an important, but not necessarily defining, element of their lives. They may or may not regularly attend weekly church services, and express their faith behaviorally in ways that are unique to each individual.
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