The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association removed language labeling Mormonism a "cult" from its website after the famed preacher met with Republican nominee Mitt Romney last week and pledged to help his presidential campaign.
The removal came after a gay rights group reported that the "cult" reference remained online even after Graham all but endorsed Romney, a Mormon, last Thursday (Oct. 11).
Ken Barun, the BGEA's chief of staff, confirmed the removal on Tuesday.
"Our primary focus at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has always been promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ," Barun said in a statement. "We removed the information from the website because we do not wish to participate in a theological debate about something that has become politicized during this campaign."
Surveys show that most evangelicals do not consider Mormons to be Christian, but most still support Romney's candidacy. The GOP nominee will need a strong turnout from evangelicals, who tally a quarter of the electorate, to defeat President Barack Obama on Nov. 6.
Romney met with Graham and his son, Franklin, in the elderly evangelist's North Carolina home last week. After the meeting Graham said he was impressed by Romney's business career and his "strong moral convictions."
According to Romney campaign spokesman Rick Gorka, Graham told the GOP nominee "I'll do all I can to help you." Romney later held a campaign rally in nearby Asheville.
Meanwhile, however, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's website continued to call Mormons members of a "cult" along with Unitarians, Jehovah's Witnesses, Scientologists, Spiritists, and members ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.