Does Jeffress Help Romney?

In my most recent bloggingheads episode with Slate’s David Weigel, we debated whether Rick Perry’s pastor-endorser, the self-styled anti-cultist Robert Jeffress, actually helps Mitt Romney. Dave thinks so—he says Jeffress is the outlandish demagogue sent via central casting that will turn off even evangelical opponents of a Mormon candidacy, but I’m not so sure. I think evangelicals will turn not on Jeffress, but rather on his critics, for reacting too harshly to what they believe is his truth-telling. 

Via Erik Eckholm at the New York Times, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president Albert Mohler, whose views are considered a barometer of the denomination’s positioning, wrote yesterday that evangelicals indeed do not consider Mormonism to be true Christianity:

“Mormonism rejects the Bible as the sole and sufficient authority for the faith, and insists that The Book of Mormon and other authoritative Latter-Day Saints writings constitute God’s final revelation,” he wrote. “By its very nature, Mormonism borrows Christian themes, personalities, and narratives. Nevertheless, it rejects what orthodox Christianity affirms and it affirms what orthodox Christianity rejects.”

Dr. Mohler conspicuously did not use the term “cult” and he said: “It is neither slander nor condescension to state clearly that Mormonism is not Christianity.”

Weigel and I didn’t spend all our time together debating Values Voters and Mormonism—we also talked about Occupy Wall Street. Watch: