December 29, 2008
Focus on the Family Pulls Interview over Beck's Mormon Faith
A group had criticized the organization for not mentioning the television host's faith in the interview.
Colorado-based Focus on the Family has pulled an online interview with conservative television host Glenn Beck after concerns were raised about Beck's Mormon faith.
Gary Schneeberger, vice president of media and public relations for Focus on the Family Action, said that "differences in the Mormon faith and the historical evangelical faith are not inconsequential."
"We can, and do, gladly cooperate with friends outside of the evangelical heritage on common causes; but in no case do we intend to alter our clear distinction as unwaveringly grounded in evangelical theology."
Beck has appeared on Focus on the Family founder James Dobson's radio program, and has hosted Dobson on his own former CNN show. Beck is scheduled to debut a new program on Fox News on Jan. 19. Both Dobson and Beck advocated for Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California.
Beck's interview with CitizenLink.org, Focus on the Family Action's Web site, touched on his Christmas memories and his recent bestselling book, "The Christmas Sweater."
On Dec. 22, Underground Apologetics, a Wisconsin-based group dedicated to helping Christians "defend their faith," criticized Focus on the Family for not mentioning Beck's membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in its online interview.
"While Glenn's social views are compatible with many Christian views, his beliefs in Mormonism are not. Clearly, Mormonism is a cult," the press release said.
Schneeberger said the criticism from Underground Apologetics had "nothing to do with our decision to pull the article from publication" but admitted that "some from our base" were concerned that the interview aimed to "signal theological compromise."
"We regret having communicated in a way that has caused some confusion both from some within our evangelical base as well as from our friends, like Mr. Beck, who hold a sincere and devout Mormon faith," Schneeberger said. "We intended no insult; we merely miscalculated on
how best to feature Glenn."
Beck said in a statement, "Whatever your beliefs about my religion, the concept of religious tolerance is too important to be sacrificed in response to special interest groups, especially when it means bowing to censorship."
Beck, who has struggled with drug and alcohol abuse, credits his faith with redeeming him from past misdeeds and saving him from the brink of suicide.