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Televangelist says Romney's Mormonism 'no longer an issue'

Published: Friday, May 18 2012 9:06 a.m. MDT

In this Nov. 9, 2011, photo, Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, speaks during a Republican presidential debate at Oakland University in Auburn Hills, Mich. The U.S. Constitution forbids setting a religious test for public officials, but, as Romney can testify, political realities can override that guiding principle when evangelical Christians step into the voting booth. Romney is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the mainline Mormon denomination. He had to fight back against conservative Christian rejection of his religious beliefs when he unsuccessfully ran for the White House in 2008 and faces the same struggle in his bid to challenge President Barack Obama in 2012.

Paul Sancya, Associated Press

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Add televangelist Pat Robertson to the list of evangelical Christians who don't believe Mitt Romney's Mormonism is an election issue.

According to BuzzFeed reporter McKay Coppins, Robertson said this week on his "700 Club" television program, "It looks like the people who were worried about his Mormonism … at least, that crowd is diminishing somewhat."

"The question is," Robertson continued, "if you have two candidates, you don't have Jesus running against someone else. You have Obama running against Romney."

Coppins reported that Chris Rosian, a spokesperson for Robertson, said Robertson's remarks should not be construed as an actual endorsement of Romney's candidacy.

"What he's saying there is that Romney's Mormonism is no longer an issue, so it's a fairly level playing field," said Rosian, who also pointed out that since CBN (the television home of Robertson's "700 Club") is a non-profit organization, it is not allowed to air an endorsement from one of its hosts.

Robertson was not the only evangelical Christian leader who gave Romney a non-endorsement lift recently. Prior to Romney's commencement speech at Liberty University last weekend, Jerry Falwell Jr., son of the university's founder and currently the school's chancellor, made it clear that the invitation to speak should not be construed as an endorsement of the Romney candidacy by Liberty University. Then he introduced Romney as "the next president of the United States."

Of course, there are still some evangelical Christian leaders who are unwilling to embrace either Romney or incumbent President Barack Obama as their presidential choice. Bill Keller, self-described as "the world's leading Internet Evangelist," is encouraging Christians around the country to refuse to vote for either candidate this November. Instead, he's urging them to vote for Jesus.

"I was praying about (this) three or four weeks ago, and said, 'God, there has to be an answer,'" Keller told reporter Stoyan Zaimov of the Christian Post. "And God replied, 'Listen — say no to Satan for Obama; say no to Satan for Romney; vote for Jesus.''

Although both Obama and Romney are "confessing Christians," Keller said choosing between the two is like "flipping a coin where Satan is on both sides.

"How can anyone who claims to be a follower of Christ vote for our current president who in every word and deed has proven to be a true enemy of God on every major spiritual issue of the day?" Keller asked during an interview with the Christian Post.

Romney isn't any better, says Keller, because Romney is a Mormon and "the Mormon church will lead millions of souls into hell."

"The Bible clearly teaches Mormon doctrine is 100 percent inconsistent with biblical Christianity, and those who buy into what Paul calls 'another Gospel' will die and their soul be lost for all eternity," Keller said.

Keller harbors no illusion that Jesus will actually win the election. "But if we can get a million people writing in the name 'Jesus,' it is not only going to impact the election, it is going to make a statement that Christians aren't going to just take whoever they are offered anymore," he said.

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