Evangelical Christians should not vote for Mitt Romney because he is a Mormon and therefore not a real Christian, Dr. Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist Dallas, told The Christian Post Friday, adding that if the 2012 presidential election came down to President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney voters would be faced with the "lesser of two evils."
"Historically, evangelical Christianity has never embraced Mormonism as a branch of Christianity," Jeffress said. "Mormonism has always been treated as a cult."
"In fact," the megachurch pastor added, "the Southern Baptist Convention, which is the largest Protestant denomination in the world, officially labels Mormonism as a cult, since the denomination does not follow historic evangelical Christianity closely enough."
Jeffress added that Mitt Romney is a "good" and "moral" person, but "that does not make him a Christian."
"A Christian is somebody who embraces the beliefs of historical Christianity," Jeffress told CP.
Jeffress announced earlier today that he will vote for Rick Perry in the 2012 presidential elections. He officially endorsed the candidate earlier today at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C.
Most of all, Jeffress hopes to dethrone President Barack Obama.
"I think that it is a spiritual imperative that we unseat Barack Obama," he told CP. "He is the most pro-abortion, most pro-homosexual in history. So if I look at the landscape of Republican candidates, I believe that eventually it will come down to a choice between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, and I think a confident Christian like Rick Perry has a consistent record of conservative values. He's a preferable candidate to Mitt Romney."
The Dallas pastor said that he had not discussed his views on Mormonism with Perry, and that he had no idea what the Texas governor thinks.
Jeffress added during an interview with CNN, "There are plenty more reasons not to vote for Mitt Romney, besides his faith."
The pastor noted that, if the 2012 presidential election came down to Romney and Obama, voters would be faced with "the lesser of two evils."
Jeffress said he would rather vote for a "non-Christian who embraces Biblical values" than for a candidate who "embraces an unbiblical position."
Former Massachusetts Gov. Romney and Texas Gov. Perry are neck-and-neck for the Republican presidential nomination in Ohio, based on a poll from Quinnipiac University published Sept. 28.
"[Romney] is top dog in the Ohio Republican presidential pack with 24 percent of GOP voters, while [Perry] is nipping at his heels with 20 percent, and no other candidate over 9 percent," Quinnipiac University reported.
Perry reportedly said Jeffress' comments started circulating Friday that he does not view Mormonism as a cult.