September 17th, 2007
06:45 PM ET
11 years ago

McCain: 'The most important thing is that I'm a Christian'

Watch CNN's Tom Foreman report on the question of Sen. John McCain's religious denomination.

LEXINGTON, South Carolina (CNN) — Republican presidential candidate John McCain told reporters at an American Legion Hall here Monday that he is a Christian, and that questions about his specific religious denomination are beside the point.

"There's been some talk about my religious persuasion," said the Arizona Senator, referring to a weekend report by the Associated Press that McCain said he was a Baptist although he has long identified himself as an Episcopalian.

"I was raised in the Episcopal Church and attended high school, it was a high school called Episcopal High School. I have attended North Phoenix Baptist Church for many years, and the most important thing is that I'm a Christian, and I don't have anything else to say about the issue," McCain said.

— CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: John McCain • South Carolina
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Jim Topeka, KS

    And here I thought the most important thing was being an American, am I bad. I was not aware that the Constitution set forth any religious criteria for a person to be eligable for President.

    September 17, 2007 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  2. Bill W, Coatesville, PA

    I believe that religion and politics do not mix, and in fact, the framers of the nation saw that when they sought to seperate Church from State. I do not understand why todays leaders don't understand that.

    Religion is one of those distraction issues to me. I do not care what religion someone is. But I also do not want religion to be the basis for every decision. For those who can't see it, that is the Mulsim world's problem. The people who flew the planes into the WTC were very religious people – so blinded by it that they killed themselves and hundereds of others in their beliefs.

    So please, keep your religion to yourself, and let's talk about real issues. Like how do we end the war in Iraq, how do we deal with illegal immigration, how do we bring jobs back to America?

    I will not vote for someone based solely on religion. In fact, religion is more likely to turn me away from a candidate, especially if that's the only reason they are giving as to why I should vote for them.

    September 17, 2007 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  3. Sarah, Kansas City, MO

    I agree with you Bill W. Religous extremism has been the cause of more wars then any other issue.

    Religous extremists (christian, muslim, judaism, strangely not Buddahism)always think that they have the right religion and the right way of interpreting that religion. Then they want to impose it upon the rest of us, thinking they are doing us a favor.

    If McCain recently came out as a Baptist, I'd say it is only fitting. He has become one of the biggest panderers to the religious right.

    Religion has nothing to do with governing a country. It may guide your values (no problem there) but the rest of us do not need to know that or how often you pray.

    September 17, 2007 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  4. Josue Romano, Buena Park, CA

    Now people don't care about candidates with Religious background well I lough at people like that becouse that did'nt seem to mater back in 2000 when Bush was elected because the GOP faithfuls thought that he was going to be a good Christian president, YEAH right all he wanted was the Christian Vote because to my eyes bush was worst than any other liveral.

    September 17, 2007 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  5. Patrick, Bartlesville Oklahoma

    Sure didn't take long for people to read this and immediately misinterpret what this article was about. He wasn't talking about what was important for being an American he was asked which denomination he was and since he has gone between a few different ones he was stating that what was important TO HIS FAITH was that he is a Christian and not what denomination he belongs to. Reading comprehension must be a thing of the past...

    September 17, 2007 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  6. Ash, Newark,CA

    Would you, should you vote for this man?

    September 17, 2007 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  7. Loyda, WDC

    "...and I don't have anything else to say about the issue," ...

    Sorry McCain, but you choose to run for president in a religious-sponsored-faith-based party, therefore, you will have to keep talking about it, just because in other for you to win, you have to cateer for your audience: the religious-based conservatives of the GOP....

    even though, as we all know, being religious have nothing to do with being competent, right George!!!???

    September 17, 2007 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  8. Lance in Monrovia CA

    You're a Christian?

    Good for you, get a gold star and go to the head of the class.

    The most important thing for me is that I'm an American and that I care about this country and I'm tired of people waving their religion around just as high as the flag to justify every nasty thing they're doing.

    I don't care what religion you are. Be a good American and retire.

    September 17, 2007 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  9. Veronica, Stamford, CT

    I could care less what a candidates religious affiliation is or isn't. The only "faith" I'm looking for in a presidential candidate is one's "faith" to the Constitution.

    September 17, 2007 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  10. sinnersam

    It is appointed unto man once to die, and then judgement.

    Yep, being a Christian is the most important thing, in the end...

    September 17, 2007 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  11. Coach Haughton

    All he was saying was that as it pertains to his faith, he feels that the fact that he is christian matters more than what denomination of christianity he belongs to. He was answering a question so I won't accuse him of political maneuvering here. You guys are right though, simply being religious does not make you anymore qualified, but people tend to trust members of their own religion more. Oh Wait! He gets to pull the Episcopalian AND the Baptist vote now!
    Good political maneuvering JMac I bet GOD is up there rooting for you.

    September 17, 2007 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  12. Jeebus, Salt Lake City, UT

    You're a Christian, Johnny? Great. It's nice to know that you're geriatric and delusional, too. When are people in this country going to grow up and stop voting for people just because they have the same imaginary friend?

    September 17, 2007 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  13. Mike, NY

    Denominations don't matter, until you're standing in front a crowd of Baptists, then it DOES matter.

    This poor guy just keeps hurting himself. I only wish the media wasn't so intent on keeping him alive.

    September 17, 2007 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  14. Hank,

    The most important thing is not that a president be a Christian ... but instead be a good president ... no matter what religion he is ... or none at all.

    September 17, 2007 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  15. Providence, RI

    McCain,like the Iranian ledar, Ahmedinejad, is wearing religion on his sleeves- it is too dangerous. The mose important thing is that I am a human with principles and morals...

    September 17, 2007 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  16. J.Crobuzon

    Hitler was a christian, too.

    September 17, 2007 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  17. Mary, Mountain View, CA

    Bush is a Christian too. *sarcastic* And look how well everything turned out!

    September 17, 2007 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  18. J Bailey, Manhattan KS

    3 Things

    #1 Most of the above responses are taking his comment out of context. He is saying that as far as religion goes, it does not matter what denomination he attends, he is a Christian. He is not saying that that qualifies him to be President.

    #2 Anyone who claims "I am an American" and slams McCain, do some research and you will find he has sacrificed way more for America than you have.

    #3 Hitler was not a Christian.

    September 17, 2007 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  19. Ron, Huntingtown, MD

    If being a Christian is a disqualifier for this year's voting public, then none of the candidates are eligible.

    It is true that John McCain was making a statement about his universal Christian faith being more significant to him personally than the specific denomination in which he worships. It was not a political statement.

    It is also true that being a Christian doesn't make one more or less qualified to be President of the United States, but for the many millions of American voters who worship Christ, a candidate's faith is an important discriminator. For those who are believers, the notion that a person can separate the faith that defines their values and how they make sense of the world from their daily actions is laughable. If your belief system doesn't govern your actions, it's not much of a belief system.

    I understand the hostility toward Christianity that's being expressed here because we all fall short of the high standard that Christ set for us. We need to be less proud and more humble, even as we participate in the political process. Thanks for the opportunity to respond.

    September 17, 2007 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  20. Michael, New York, NY

    The article title is taken out of context and is misleading.

    September 17, 2007 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  21. Evan Esteves

    Yeah...sure...Let's change the title of "President" to "Pope" *rolls eyes*

    September 17, 2007 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  22. Josue Romano, Buena Park, CA

    Hitler was a Christian.

    Listen, to be Christian is someone who follows Jesus, do the things that Jesus told his followers to do, just to say that you are a Catholic,Baptist, Pentecostal, Anglican, etc. doesn't make you a Christian. Hitler was Catholic if I'm not wrong but he was not a Christian because the things he practice were contrary of being a Christian.

    September 17, 2007 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  23. Brendan, San Antonio, TX

    You must be a Christian, Senator, the way you turned the other cheek in SC in 2000.

    What "cheeks" will you turn and how this time will depend on which way the poilitcal wind is blowing?

    September 17, 2007 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  24. Joliene, Newark, DE

    He is not saying religion is more important then anything else but rather the opposite, labeling him a certain denomination is not the important fact. way to skew the headline CNN. He has been asked about this a ton of times and he is referencing that, He is not mixing religion and politics people. READ THE QUOTE!

    September 17, 2007 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  25. Tricia M Charlottetown PEI

    Is there not enough issues within this Campaign to debate now without dragging religion into the mix?

    I too feel that McCain was answering a question posed by a citizen. He explained his religious background truthfully. He stated that he was a Christian. End of comment.

    He did not say which denomination he belonged to at present or if he belonged to any. What is all the hype about? What difference does it make?
    You will not be any closer to knowing the man or woman by knowing their religous denomination. There are Saints, Criminals and Rapists among all.

    September 17, 2007 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
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