Though he is not the only Mormon in the GOP 2012 field (former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman also practices the faith), former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's association with the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints has become a hot topic after some controversial remarks made by the ally of one of Romney's rivals. Robert Jeffress, a senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas and a prominent supporter of Texas Gov. Rick Perry slammed Mormonism while speaking to reporters at a Perry event. "As evangelical Christians, we understand that Mormonism is not Christianity," he said. "The decision for evangelical Christians right now is going to be do we prefer someone who is truly a believer in Jesus Christ or someone…who is a part of a cult." The comments came Friday after Jeffress had introduced Perry at the Values Voters Summit.
Reporters questioned Romney on the issue Monday, but the Republican presidential candidate stayed mum on his religion. Perry himself has not brought up Romney's religion. Jeffress clarified his remarks, telling Talking Points Memo, "I did not talk about my Mormon views [with Perry], and I'm not insinuating that the governor shares those at all—he may not share them at all." Instead, Perry focused his attacks on Romney's policy record, releasing a new ad Sunday comparing Romney's Massachusetts healthcare program to President Obama's own national program. Perry did, however, tell the crowd at the Values Voters Summit, "America is going to be guided by some set of values. The question is, whose values?" So the question of religion may continue to be a talking point, if not by Perry, than at least by his supporters.
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