When Pastor Robert Jeffress of Dallas’ First Baptist Church stormed into the Values Voter Summit on October 7 and announced to a scrum of reporters that Mormonism was a “cult” and that voting for Mitt Romney meant giving “credibility to a cult,” was he:
A. On a mission from God to defeat an unorthodox strand of Christianity?
B. On a mission from Rick Perry to defeat Mitt Romney?
C. On a mission to pump up his own media profile in advance of the publication of his new book?
Jeffress’ Twilight’s Last Gleaming (featuring a one-page foreword by Mike Huckabee) is due out in January. It predicts the end-times demise of the United States but counsels Christians on how they can make “America’s last days your best days” by being the “light” and “salt” of the world.
Advance publicity for the book describes Jeffress as a media personality, listing a number of appearances he made in the wake of controversy that followed the Values Voter Summit. But guess who Jeffress cites in chapter one, paragraph one as the inspiration for the book? Glenn Beck. Who is, of course, Mormon.
Jeffress recalls watching Beck’s 2010 Restoring Honor rally on the National Mall and wanting to follow Beck’s example. (Jeffress also uses chapter one, by the way, to revel in the controversy he caused after using his pulpit to denounce Islam as a religion that “incites violence” and “promotes pedophilia.”)
So in case anyone was unclear about the opportunism of Jeffress’ Mormon-baiting, let’s get this straight: according to the Pastor, nobody should vote for a Mormon presidential candidate, because he is a “cult” member, but it’s okay to celebrate a Mormon demagogue.
Because that’s how books are sold.