Christian Evangelist mega pastor Billy Graham removed a comment from his website that listed Mormonism as a cult following a meeting with Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney.
According to CNN, the reference to Romney’s religion, which was listed as a cult along with Scientology and Jehovah's Witnesses was taken down after Graham’s son, Franklin, met with Romney.
The move would represent a shift from Graham’s stance during past presidential elections, when he’s always sided with Christian candidates, mostly Republican.
Some argue the decision for the Evangelical preacher to side with Romney has to do with Obama’s support for gay marriage.
“It was a privilege to pray with Gov. Romney — for his family and our country,” Graham said in a recent statement.
“I will turn 94 the day after the upcoming election, and I believe America is at a crossroads. I hope millions of Americans will join me in praying for our nation and to vote for candidates who will support the biblical definition of marriage, protect the sanctity of life and defend our religious freedoms.”
In an MSNBC interview Graham said he couldn't categorically say Obama was not a Muslim "because Islam has gotten a free pass" under his presidency. He still doubted the President’s faith even after Obama himself told him he was a Christian.
Jonathan Wynne-Jones at the Guardian writes that by supporting Romney rather than Obama, they “are sending out a message that says God is on the side of the white, conservative Mormon rather than the black, liberal Christian.
“By becoming so political they risk damaging the incredible work Billy Graham has done in spreading a gospel that preached forgiveness for all, because it turns out repenting might not be enough,” Wynne-Jones writes.
Graham reached celebrity status back in the 1940’s due to his sermons over the radio. Since then, he has met with virtually every presidential candidate. He has also exerted his influence on them to support his own political agenda.
For their part, Mormons have been strong opposers of gay marriage. In 2008, the religious group fundraised a boatload of money to the campaign for Proposition 8, which ended up banning gay marriage in California.