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Statement by National Clergy Council Spokesman on Comments by Southern Baptist Pastor Regarding Mormon Faith of Mitt Romney

Contact: Pastor Myke Crowder, Christian Life Center, 801-791-7145

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ -- In response to comments by Dallas Southern Baptist pastor and Rick Perry supporter Robert Jeffress regarding the Mormon faith of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, The National Clergy Council, representing church leaders from all Christian traditions including fundamentalist and evangelical, issues the following statement by its executive council member, the Reverend Myke Crowder, pastor of Christian Life Center, one of the largest evangelical congregations in Utah, a predominantly Mormon state:

    "As an evangelical, born again, Bible believing Christian, and a pastor with more than 25 years' experience living with and ministering among a majority Mormon population, I find the comments by Pastor Jeffress unhelpful, impolite, and out of place. I've been around long enough to remember when independent Baptists wouldn't pray with Southern Baptists, when fundamentalists called Southern Baptists compromisers and liberals, when Southern Baptists wouldn't keep company with Pentecostals, and when Pentecostals wouldn't keep company with Catholics. That wasn't helpful to anyone. Insulting Mitt Romney adds nothing to the conversation about who should be president. We're picking the country's chief executive, not its senior pastor.

    "Back in 1976, I voted for Jimmy Carter because he was the born again candidate. He was also a Southern Baptist. I got burned and the country got burned by that and it made me a life-long Republican. If Southern Baptists want to score points they better watch out -- they can lay claim to both Carter and Bill Clinton. I don't think that says much about the religious labels candidate may or may not carry.

    "My experience in Utah among Mormons has been overwhelmingly positive. Evangelicals and Mormons have big differences when it comes to theology, but if you believe in and support the Constitution, there's no religious test for office, nor should there be. We're looking for the best president and commander in chief. Let's let the political process make that selection, and the churches make the selection on the best theologians.

    "In my opinion, Pastor Jeffress owes an apology to Mitt Romney and all other Americans he's offended through his unkind and irresponsible remarks."

The Reverend Myke Crowder is senior pastor of the Christian Life Center, Layton, Utah, one of the largest evangelical congregations in majority Mormon, Utah. He has met with Mitt Romney and Mormon church leaders in the past. Pastor Crowder also serves on the executive council of the National Clergy Council, Washington, DC. Reverend Crowder holds degrees in Bible and theology and the honorary doctor of divinity.