Billy Graham heads Election Day news from the pulpit

The religion beat is generating plenty of election news lately, both locally and elsewhere.

Check out the York Daily Record religion page Thursday as my story this week touches on the many different ways local churches are responding to the presidential election.

After all, it is a big one.

Mitt Romney asks Billy Graham to pray for him in this Associated Press photo.

Nationally, I found this mounting controversy surrounding the great Billy Graham interesting. Of course, Graham has ties to York County, having preached here very early on in his career.

At issues is Graham’s recent endorsement of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and the ensuing decision by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association to remove language on its website calling Mormonism a “cult.”

The language was removed after the Oct. 11 meeting between the two men. Graham, nearly 94 and frail, pledged to “do all I can to help” Romney, according to a campaign aide.

The Religion News Service boiled down the issue: “Evangelicals berating Billy Graham is like Catholics dissing the pope. Through his world-crossing crusades and passionate preaching, the nearly 94-year-old evangelist has converted countless Christians and almost single-handedly ushered evangelicalism into the modern age.”

But Graham embracing Mormonism confirms conservative evangelicals’ worst fears about the 2012 election: That Romney’s rise would lift his Mormon church to cultural prominence and acceptance within mainstream Christianity.

Most evangelicals do not consider Mormons Christian because Latter-day Saints revere Joseph Smith as a prophet, consider the Book of Mormon on par with the Bible and conceive of the Christian Trinity as three separate gods. Mormons acknowledge those differences but insist they are Christians.

We’ll have to see how this one pans out. Thoughts? Is it time to drop the differences and consider Mormons as good Christians?

About John Hilton

I grew up in Susquehanna County, Pa. and graduated Syracuse University with a dual degree in journalism/political science in 1998. After working for nearly three years for a weekly paper in upstate New York, I came to southcentral Pennsylvania. I spent 13 years as a reporter and editor for The Sentinel in Carlisle and joined the York Daily Record as religion reporter in September 2011.
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One Response to Billy Graham heads Election Day news from the pulpit

  1. Liz says:

    This is in response to your question in yesterday’s paper about considering Mormons as good Christians.
    I would like to recommend to you a book I first read years ago. It was written by two excellent journalists, Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith after they investigated a case in Salt Lake City. The book unfortunately has the sensationalist title of MORMON MURDERS (in an effort to sell more books I imagine). In the process of investigating the crime they uncovered quite a bit about the Mormon religion that most people do not know. I was completely shocked that anyone would consider these people Christian. Frankly I am surprised that more of a fuss hasn’t been made during this campaign. Please read it. I can lend you my copy if you can’t find one. Then tell me you still consider them Christian. Christians do not baptize people after they are dead!

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