By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN) -- Shortly after Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney enjoyed cookies and soft drinks with the Rev. Billy Graham and his son Franklin Graham on Thursday at the elder Graham's mountaintop retreat, a reference to Mormonism as a cult was scrubbed from the website of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
In a section of the website called Billy Graham's…
When asked about Graham's beliefs about Mormonism, Graham spokesman A. Larry Ross said in a statement that "Through an inclusive evangelistic ministry spanning more than 60 years, Mr. Graham was called to preach the transformative message of the Gospel to the whole world, regardless of one’s religious background, affiliation or none. As such, he never proselytized, targeted or labeled specific people, groups, faiths or denominations. "Neither did Mr. Graham attempt to divide his audience before he had opportunity to preach to them. He has a genuine love for all people, and faithfully proclaimed the love of God to everyone, providing opportunity for them to respond by making a faith commitment. "Mr. Graham’s calling is not to pass judgment, but to proclaim the biblical truth that Jesus is the only way to heaven, allowing every individual and group to fall along that plumb line," the statement went on. "He further stressed that salvation is the work of Almighty God, and that only He knows what is in each human heart," the statement said.The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is slowly being recognized as a Christian Religion, and many heavy hitter evangelical Christian leaders are starting to recognize some of the bigotry that the Latter-day Saint members have faced - to include the criticism and prejudicial motivations of others. On June 16, 2012, Richard Mouw, President of Fuller Theological Seminary, published this article about Mitt Romney and his own experience with Anti-Mormonism that seems to run deep within the political hot bed of Romney/Ryan vs. Obama/Biden. Previous to this, Richard Mouw discussed his book Talking with Mormons: An Invitation to Evangelicals on his own blog. Religious differences are common place in the marketplace. Many Protestant and Catholic Christians engage in similar discussions where they find common ground and have accepted one another as fellow Christians with a common cause - to reach the world and preach the Atonement of Jesus Christ. This was not so during the times of the Reformation where the Reformers separated themselves from the Roman Catholic Church and declared them an apostate faith. Since then, there are many Christians who possess a hodge-podge doctrinal view of what the Bible says. In the end, they accept one another as fellow Christians because of the agreement to the core essentials and the non-essentials are merely discussed. Despite this effort to increase a civil discussion about what Latter-day Saint Christians and fellow Catholic, Protestant and Evangelical Christians have in common, many continue to flaunt their disdain for the Church. In light of this, because of the Mormon Moment, one of the things that have come to the lime light (besides the Church and what we believe) but the religious intolerant bigotry known as Anti-Mormonism. In his FRAM Report (Free Republic Anti-Mormon), columnist Greg West describes how the web-owner, James Robinson, allowed the proliferation of Anti-Mormon sentiment to occur on the Free Republican website/discussion forum:
Back in January 2011, Jim Robinson initiated what amounted to a purge of pro-Mormon voices on Free Republic. This was regarded as unfortunate by conservatives on the site who recognize that Mormons are typically among the most conservative of voters. From that time until August of this year, anti-Mormons have posted daily threads, sometimes several daily threads, to voice prejudiced, bigoted remarks about Mormons and—because of the “purge—they have gone unopposed. However, there have been some recent developments. Some religion moderators of the site quit in protest several weeks ago because Robinson would not “rein-in” the voices of intolerance against Mormons. Since Romney’s nomination in August, the anti-Mormon threads had dwindled on Free Republic, which is something latter-day saints welcomed.As we close in on the most important election of American history, there seems to be more and more ugliness coming from the Anti-Mormon encampment where their sole purpose is to do all they can to bring into question the Church, the doctrines of the Church, and even insult and personally attack vocal LDS Apologists. It seems that the tide is starting to turn against the diminishing Anti-Mormon and Apostates who are bent on trying to bring down the faith of millions of people who have come to find hope and change through the efficacy of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the blessings of the Restored Gospel in these last days.