I've watched this interview with Anderson Cooper -- who, if I had to switch jobs with anyone in the world, I would switch with him, because he's awesome -- in which he tries to argue with Jeffress. It's difficult, because Jeffress is illogical and effective argument is primarily logical.
But I'll just hit a few high -- er, low -- points on this particular subject.
First, the idea that because some Southern Baptist convention, which is the largest group of Christians in the United States, does not recognize LDS people as Christian, they cannot be Christian.
Really? Does this convention have a charter signed by God to delineate who can be called a Christian? I'm going to need to see that, and I'm going to need it notarized. If 50% of the world's people said the sky was leopard print, that doesn't change that the sky is blue.
Then there was this quote:
"A lot of people call themselves Christian and they're not."
I'm on board with that. Like, people who judge others. People who devalue the faith of others. Pat Robertson calls himself a Christian and then says God's judgment on the Haitians of a century ago caused the earthquake and ensuing extreme devastation on today's Haitians. I'm not sure Jesus Christ would recognize many of the Christians of today.
Then he said that while Catholicism is not a cult, it certainly is not in keeping with historic Christian values. Does he even understand the history of modern Protestantism? Every Christian church, with the exception of the Catholic and the LDS, is an offshoot of the Catholic Church. That's why they're called Protestants; they protested the Catholics. Remember Martin Luther, Mr. Jeffress? If the Catholic Church, which is the basis of Protestantism, is not properly Christian, then by default no derivation of it can be.
He also argues that Joseph Smith founding the LDS Church makes it a cult. If that is the case, the religion that Moses practiced would be a cult. The Lutheran Church would be a cult. The megachurches that are based solely on one man, which I'm pretty sure includes this guy's church, would be cults. None of them are. It's either all or nothing, folks.
Here's the take from a Mormon who, first off, cannot figure out why so many Mormons identify as Republican when incidents like this, which are not isolated, make clear the reality that Republicans don't like Mormons. Yeah, they'll take our money, and they'll take our votes if it means they don't go to the Democrat, but to the Republican base us Mormons are going to hell right along with the Democrats.
Secondly, and far more importantly, religion still has no place in this debate, just like it never has since the dawn of the new world, when the revolutionary heroes who were far less Christian than the "Christians" of today would like to believe.
Thirdly, and what I think is the most critical issue highlighted by the bigot Anderson Cooper is interviewing, is this: I am a Mormon. I believe in Jesus Christ. I recognize him as my Savior and the only means whereby I can gain exaltation. I have faith in him. I believe that faith should be evident not only in my words but also in my actions, and if all I do is say I believe in him but do things that are Jesus would not do, or not do the things he has told us to do, that is not true faith. The New Testament the good Christians of the world quote include scriptures about faith and works, about taking care of the poor, about not judging. I fail to see how living my faith diminishes it.
I am a Christian. No one can take that away from me. No man who doesn't like my church can take away the reality that I have faith in and know Jesus Christ. No amount of posturing and name-calling can change the fact that I am a Christian.
You may be a Christian, Mr. Jeffress, but you have a long way to go before becoming Christlike.