The Other McCain

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Newt Gingrich Fires Iowa Political Director for Calling Mormonism a ‘Cult’

Posted on | December 13, 2011 | 42 Comments

Warner Todd Huston says Craig Bergman’s “stint with the Gingrich campaign has to be one of the shortest in history” — he was hired five days ago and was fired today for something he said last week:

Craig Bergman during a focus group on Wednesday with The Iowa Republican and McClatchy newspapers said he thinks Romney’s religion will eventually cost him votes.
“A lot of the evangelicals believe God would give us four more years of Obama just for the opportunity to expose the cult of Mormon,” Bergman said during the focus group, according to The Iowa Republican. “There’s a thousand pastors ready to do that.”

Within hours of that report, Bergman was fired — uh, “agreed to step away from his role with Newt 2012.”

Question: Is Bergman right? Are there really “a thousand pastors” in Iowa who consider Mormonism a cult? If so, aren’t they likely to view Newt less favorably for firing a staffer who said so?


42 Responses to “Newt Gingrich Fires Iowa Political Director for Calling Mormonism a ‘Cult’”

  1. Ccoffer
    December 13th, 2011 @ 10:18 pm

    Attaway to stir up some shit, Stacy.

  2. richard mcenroe
    December 13th, 2011 @ 10:25 pm

    You would think the Gingrich campaign woulda thought of that.

  3. richard mcenroe
    December 13th, 2011 @ 10:26 pm

    He’s a smart guy, you know.

  4. richard mcenroe
    December 13th, 2011 @ 10:27 pm

    Good thing he only said it in front of a focus group.  Those people never talk to anyone.

  5. just a conservative girl
    December 13th, 2011 @ 10:34 pm

    1,000 pastors in Iowa I don’t know.  But are there people in this country who will not vote for him because he is Mormon.  Oh yeah.  I know quite a few at my church.

  6. Anonymous
    December 13th, 2011 @ 10:35 pm

    Even lowballing the demographics, yes, I bet you could find 1,000 pastors in Iowa who say Mormonism is a cult.

    Let’s assume that only half of Iowa’s population of 3 million is affiliated with a church, that the average congregation size is only 100 (that’s high for some small evangelical denominations, low for the liturgical churches), and that there’s an average of only one pastor per church (when in fact many churches have associate pastors, youth pastors, etc.).

    That’s at least 15,000 pastors, and the weighting is probably toward the smaller evangelical denominations that tend to see cultism in churches which disagree with them on significant issues. I was brought up in the Pentecostal Church of God and the Assembly of God, and was taught that Mormonism is a cult. I attended an independent Baptist event once at which the Holy Roman Catholic Church was described not just as a cult, but as a satanic pagan cult.

  7. richard mcenroe
    December 13th, 2011 @ 10:51 pm

    Usually when something is called an ‘independent Baptist’ it’s the churchly equivalent of sticking a Ford decal on a Trabant.

    I attended a political party once that told me Meg Whitman could be a governor.  Now THAT was offensive.

  8. Chakam
    December 13th, 2011 @ 10:51 pm

    Hmph.  So even Newt Gingrich bows to political-correctness so he won’t lose the Mormon vote.  I thought liberals had this thing about ‘church and state’?  I see that religion is still an exploitable commodity for the politically motivated.

    And he wants to be my President?  Good luck with that, sparky.  You would have better success trying to piss up a rope during a tornado.

  9. Doc
    December 13th, 2011 @ 10:54 pm

    Hey at least he fired someone for stupid errors unlike Cain.  In this campaign you can’t do that kind of crap, PC or not it doesn’t matter.  Unforced errors takes the focus from where you want it. 

  10. dr kill
    December 13th, 2011 @ 10:56 pm

    I’m pretty sure you could find 1000 Mormons who say they belong to a cult. 
    Big whoop.

  11. Anonymous
    December 13th, 2011 @ 11:07 pm

    “Independent Baptist” can really mean anything, as it simply signifies that the church claims to hold to Baptist doctrines (adult rather than infant baptism, by immersion rather than sprinkling, salvation through faith alone, etc.) but isn’t affiliated with one of the umbrella groups (Southern Baptist Convention, etc.).

    There’s a lot of room for what have you there. 

    The particular “independent Bapstist” church that held the event I’m remembering had a congregation of several hundred in a town of a few thousand, and ran a K-12 academy with at least a couple hundred students.

    There used to be a church across the street from my high school, where the guy who HAD been the preacher at the Pentecostal Church of God my grandparents attended (and which is now pastored by my uncle) preached. It was called “The Independent Fundamental Bible-Believing [something else I can’t remember] Church of God.” Its building had been a one-bedroom home, and I think the congregation never got over 10.

  12. Tuesday Links 12/13/11 Mitt Romney, Kermit Gosnell, Boehner, Keystone Pipeline
    December 13th, 2011 @ 11:09 pm

    […] here in Washington’Carney: ‘You seem to be trying to catch me in plain sight!’Newt Gingrich Fires Iowa Political Director for Calling Mormonism a ‘Cult’Warner Todd Huston says Craig Bergman’s “stint with the Gingrich campaign has to be one of the […]

  13. Anonymous
    December 13th, 2011 @ 11:11 pm

    Obviously the Gingrich campaign — and ever other non-Romney campaign — would love for non-Mormon voters to have it constantly in mind that Romney is a Mormon.

    However, they don’t want those voters, or any other, to have it constantly in their mind that those other candidates’ campaigns are harping on Romney being a Mormon.

    Hell, there’s still time for Gingrich to become a Mormon if the focus group comes back with that.

    Disclaimer: I converted to Mormonism myself once. But I got over it.

  14. richard mcenroe
    December 13th, 2011 @ 11:21 pm

    The Westboro punks call themselves Baptists.  That’s how rigorous the title is.

  15. t-dahlgren
    December 13th, 2011 @ 11:23 pm

    Come to Appalachia, we got all types of Baptists – Free Will, Primitive, Regular, Full Gospel, you name it.

    We got boatloads of predestinational types too.

    I think you’d have a hard time finding one that would argue Mormonism is a form of  Christianity.

  16. ThePaganTemple
    December 13th, 2011 @ 11:42 pm

    I don’t mind any of them, but I draw the line at washing some other person’s stinking feet.

  17. ThePaganTemple
    December 13th, 2011 @ 11:49 pm

    Let’s see, Mormons believe God started out as a human on a planet much like our own. He was a faithful Mormon on that planet, so when he died he was rewarded by being made the God of his own universe. He decided he would create a world that became our earth, and created us. In the meantime, having taken all his earthly wives to his new universe with him, he had two spiritual sons, named Jesus and Satan. Satan rebelled and took a bunch of angels with him that became demons. The good angels sided with Jesus. A third group of angels didn’t take sides because they were cowardly. He put them on earth in mortal form, along with the good angels who sided with Jesus, who he rewarded by giving them “delightsome white skin”. The cowardly angels who refused to fight for God or Satan either one were given black skin.

    And there you have it. If you are a faithful Mormon then when you die you can take all your multiple wives, or now just your one wife, with you, create your own universe, and your own Jesus and Satan, and repeat the process which apparently goes on and on throughout eternity with little if any variation in script.

    Nawwwwww, Mormonism isn’t a cult.

  18. Finrod Felagund
    December 14th, 2011 @ 12:46 am

    Even if Newt also believes that Mormonism is a cult, he would still be right to fire someone on his staff that goes and makes a point about it.  Talking about religious differences between the candidates divides the party unnecessarily; it doesn’t matter whether a candidate is Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Mormon, pagan, agnostic or what have you, as long as they have the same basic principles as conservatives and Republicans.

    As far as whether Mormonism is a cult or not, I’d recommend reading Dr. Walter Martin on the subject, since he made a career out of analyzing such things, and wrote a good deal about it.

  19. Adjoran
    December 14th, 2011 @ 1:26 am

    Well, HE certainly seems to think so, and unfortunately a good number of Republicans suffer from the same delusion.  As they do from the companion malady, the belief Newt is a conservative.

  20. Adjoran
    December 14th, 2011 @ 1:47 am

    There were roughly 268,000 members of independent evangelical Protestant congregations in Iowa in 2000, so the 1000 pastors figure isn’t ridiculous, although the assertion they would all rather see Obama reelected than a Mormon President is pure speculation and against all odds.

    But there was enough evangelical support for Huckabee to win the 2008 Caucuses, and it certainly wasn’t for his conservative credentials:  they turned out for his stands on social issues and the whisper campaign against Mormonism.

    Romney is risking being drawn into the trap he most wanted to avoid this cycle:  the need to compete actively in Iowa.  After spending time and money and staff last time, winning Ames but losing the Caucuses, he has been an infrequent visitor and spent far less in the state. 

    He’s counted on being able to win New Hampshire big enough to counter whoever won Iowa, but he really can’t allow Newt a big win with huge momentum, as NH is already tightening.  The real prize, of course, is South Carolina, which has voted for the winner of every Republican nomination since the primary began.  And Gingrich is ahead in the Palmetto State right now – but so were Perry and Cain a few short weeks ago.

  21. Joe
    December 14th, 2011 @ 2:12 am

    How about just doing the right thing? I am not sure if Newt is sincere or not, and I know plenty of people think LDS is a cult (I disagree with that), but I would like to think Newt is just trying finally to do the right thing.

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  23. Adjoran
    December 14th, 2011 @ 3:49 am

    More specifically, Newt wants to be seen as doing the right thing, and not doing the wrong thing. 

    He’s bright enough to realize his support is a mile wide and an inch deep, like Perry’s and Cain’s before him as the anointed “Not Romney” Flava of the Month.  He doesn’t have the sort of organization that could begin to compete in Iowa if the traditional methods hold true.  Gingrich needs to keep as positive a feeling as possible among his supporters because he has no one to make sure they turn out on Caucus Night.

  24. ThePaganTemple
    December 14th, 2011 @ 7:38 am

    Here’s the thing about Newt’s mr positive image he’s trying to cultivate. He’s probably doing it to discourage attacks on his own negatives. So isn’t it likely he’s going to repeat the process in the general election? If he does, he’s toast, because he’s going to look like a whiner, crying about Democrats going negative, who will continue to do so with glee.

  25. Anonymous
    December 14th, 2011 @ 8:15 am


    While that’s a reasonably accurate (if somewhat tendentious) recitation of Mormon doctrine, it has no real bearing on whether or not Mormonism is a “cult.”

  26. Anonymous
    December 14th, 2011 @ 8:19 am

    Why, next you’ll be saying that Christianity isn’t considered heresy by Judaism!

    And, of course, Christianity was once considered a cult (of cannibals, no less; if you think transubstantiation is hard to explain after 2,000 years of practice, pity the early Church).

    What do religions and treason have in common? Why, if they prosper, none dare call them treason (or a cult).

    There’s a myriad of reasons to despise (and never vote for) Mitt Romney, but this isn’t one of them.

  27. ThePaganTemple
    December 14th, 2011 @ 8:37 am

    All I’m saying is there’s a valid reason why more traditional Christians might look askance on their views and view with skepticism any claims that they are a legitimate Christian faith. You can start with how it was started, by a man who claimed to dig up the Book of Mormon from the ground written in the form of gold tablets, which conveniently was “taken by God”. Why these tablets were buried on an obscure little tract of farm land in Missouri to begin with remains a mystery.

  28. More Pie Please
    December 14th, 2011 @ 9:16 am

    There is FREEDOM OF RELIGION in this country.  They can believe whatever they want to believe, and evangelicals get really angry when people sneer at THEIR beliefs (Noah and the Ark, right? yeah right…, loaves and fish that keep multiplying? Sure…).  Sneer all you want, but remember you are doing it from a glass house.

  29. Finrod Felagund
    December 14th, 2011 @ 9:34 am

    Uh, he’s been negative on Obama through all of the GOP debates so far; I can’t see that changing any time soon.

  30. ThePaganTemple
    December 14th, 2011 @ 10:00 am

    I don’t believe in any of that stuff from a literal perspective either, but at least such beliefs, written two thousand years ago and more, are understandable when viewed through the context of the times in which they were crafted and in view of man’s social evolution at those times.

    Also, some of them, like the flood for example, were based on actual events, though mythologized for the purposes of explaining some spiritual precept or concept.

    But Mormonism came along at the same time as photography, the steam engine, and the telegraph. By then, people should have known better than to swallow such obvious damn hogwash. People who lived back in ancient times would have laughed at people that spouted such bullshit.

  31. ThePaganTemple
    December 14th, 2011 @ 10:04 am

    Well, I hope you’re right, but if the past is any indication, what he does in the primaries and what he does in the general election when he’s going to want to sway independents, moderates, and conservative Democrats might be two different things.

  32. richard mcenroe
    December 14th, 2011 @ 10:33 am

    Never mind the incorporation of the old Roman military “mystery cult” rituals into the Catholic Mass…

  33. richard mcenroe
    December 14th, 2011 @ 10:35 am

    The trouble is, with that flock of sparrows that passes for Newt’s brain, there’s no telling what he’ll think the right thing is tomorrow…

  34. Anonymous
    December 14th, 2011 @ 11:07 am

    “Why these tablets were buried on an obscure little tract of farm land in Missouri to begin with remains a mystery.”

    Mysteries, things that cannot be proved, are what make a religion a religion. The Mystery of the Incarnation, the Mystery of Iniquity, the Mystery of the Golden Tablets, the Mystery of AGW….

    One reason that religious wars, once the actual fighting starts, are so overwhelmingly nasty is that neither side CAN compromise without losing their essential identity. As we’re going to see when the Leftist religion (no one’s ever been able to prove socialism works; they just BELIEVE it will if they chant the liturgy better) requires that second Civil War.

  35. Anonymous
    December 14th, 2011 @ 11:13 am

    Not just the Mass, Richard.

    Mithras, Son of the Creator, was incarnated in a cave at Midwinter Solstice, while shepherds watched and a Star shone. He made a blood sacrifice to redeem the world from it’s sins, and was returned into Heaven without dying. Sound familiar?

  36. David R. Graham
    December 14th, 2011 @ 11:19 am

    Mormonism is an up-angel-ed descendant of Arianism.   It is an heresy of Christianity.  Communism, too, is an Christian heresy and we have a Communist occupying the White House.  Heresies are condemned because they are unrealistic and therefore destructive.  Heresies are made-up things.  They do not fact facts.  They are different from apostasies.

  37. ThePaganTemple
    December 14th, 2011 @ 11:22 am

    Ah that’s an easy one. The Roman elites just wanted to united the Roman people under one religion, so they incorporated a lot of their more popular traditions and customs. A lot of hard work went into doing that in a way that would resolve any seeming conflicts. Wash, rinse, repeat through several centuries across diverse European cultures and you have the story leading up to the Protestant Reformation.

    That’s all pretty well established. The real untold story of Christianity is the real reason it became predominant. It was the only religion of the time that welcomed slaves and freedmen, who for all practical intents and purposes were actually the lifeblood of the empire, for the simple fact they ran its day to day operations. That’s what gave them the ultimate edge not only over the official state sanctioned cults, but most if not all of the contemporaneous mystery cults as well.

  38. dad29
    December 14th, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

    IIRC, the Roman Catholic church has defined Mormonism as “a cult.”

    So what?  The question is not “Mormonism,” the question is “Romney.”  He appears to be a decent man, responsible, yadayada.  He’s not my guy politically, but as a neighbor he’d be just fine.

    By the way, in general terms, the predominant group of people who bring up the religion question are Lefties.    That’s probably b/c they have no use for religion in general.  After all, the LEFT is who promises eternal happiness, and competition from “religion” is bad for them.

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  40. ThePaganTemple
    December 14th, 2011 @ 3:00 pm

    There are two different kinds of Mormons. There are those like Romney who spend their lives campaigning to be the God of their own universe. Then you have those like Huntsman who think they’ve already arrived.

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