It’s theology smackdown time as Perry Supporter Robert Jeffress, the lead pastor at First Baptist Church in Dallas, declared, “Mormonism is a "cult" and said Romney is "not a Christian.”
Romney, in remarks to the Values Voters Summit, a gathering of cultural conservatives in Washington, did not directly confront the words of Robert Jeffress who called Romney's Mormon faith a "cult."
Instead, Romney criticizing another speaker at the meeting who is known for anti-Mormon and anti-Muslim rhetoric, and who followed him on stage.
Romney echoed that call in his remarks. "We should remember that decency and civility are values too. One of the speakers who will follow me today has crossed that line, I think," Romney said, referring to Bryan Fischer speaking on behalf of the American Family Association.
During his remarks following Romney, Fischer repeated past statements about homosexuality as a threat to the First Amendment and Islam as a inherently violent faith.
Romney’s cautionary words served as notice that attacks on faiths should, in his view, be off the table. He appealed to the social conservatives to support a presidential candidate who has the best record on the economy.
Until now, Romney's Mormon faith and Perry's evangelical Christianity were secondary to a GOP primary focused on who can best fix the country's economy. Questions about his faith plagued Romney's 2008 presidential run, but he had been able to keep them at bay so far this time.
Mormonism sparks concern among evangelical Christians, a critical bloc of voters in the Republican primary. Many do not believe that Mormons are Christian because they also rely on the Book of Mormon as a holy text, which they view as deviating from the Jesus Christ who is portrayed in the Bible.