Yesterday, October 7, 2011, Robert Jeffress -- an evangelical pastor at the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas -- shocked a plethora of Americans when he said Mormonism is a cult; therefore, Mitt Romney, a Mormon, is not a Christian.
These incredible statements occurred at a Value Voter Summit meeting when Jeffress introduced Rick Perry, a Texas evangelist, who is running against Romney for the Republican presidential nomination.
Jeffress clearly crossed the line in this situation, since Mormons consider themselves to be Christians. In fact, the official title for Mormons is "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." The fact that Jesus Christ is in the name of their religion indicates that Mormons are Christians.
Nonetheless, Jeffress was out of line in his description of Mormonism and Mitt Romney. To be sure, he never should have made such hateful statements, regardless of whether he believes Mormons are Christians or not.
Rick Perry -- obviously embarrassed by Jeffress' statements -- has distanced himself from them. When Perry was asked today if he believed Mormonism is a cult or Christian religion, he said it is a Christian religion.
Romney today referred to Jeffress' statements as "poisonous language that has never softened a single heart nor changed a single mind."
In the final analysis, there is no place for bigotry -- in politics, in religion, or anywhere else -- in America, where freedom of religion is an integral part of American culture.
Indeed, Jeffress owes Mitt Romney -- and all of the followers of Mormonism -- an apology for his cruel and inhumane portrayal of them.