October 1st, 2007
02:25 PM ET
11 years ago

Groups criticize McCain for calling U.S. 'Christian nation'

McCain sought to clarify his remarks Sunday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Muslim and Jewish groups on Monday sharply criticized Sen. John McCain's comments that he would prefer a Christian president to lead the United States.

The Arizona Republican's remarks came in an interview with Beliefnet, a Web site that covers religious issues and affairs.

"I just have to say in all candor that since this nation was founded primarily on Christian principles, personally, I prefer someone who has a grounding in my faith," the GOP presidential hopeful told the Web site in an interview published Saturday.

McCain also said he agreed with a recent poll that 55 percent of Americans believe the U.S. Constitution establishes a Christian nation. "I would probably have to say yes, that the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation," he said.

Full story

- CNN's Alexander Mooney and Sareena Dalla

Filed under: John McCain • New Hampshire • South Carolina
soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. Pat, huntington, ny

    Looks like McCain's "macaca" moment has finally arrived! This guy is trully anti-semetic, and a racist!

    October 1, 2007 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  2. Ben Lunsford, Charlottesville, VA

    John McCain is just pandering to the Christian Right, which is what GOP candidates all do these days.

    Of course, he's wrong that "America was founded primarily on Christian principles." Last I checked, Thomas Jefferson was not a Christian!

    October 1, 2007 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  3. Isaac, Washington, DC

    That's a funny reading of the Constitution. I was under the impression that "Congress shall establish no religion" under our Constitution.

    October 1, 2007 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  4. LB, Franklin Lakes, NJ

    McCain must be really desparate to make a statment like that. First of all the Constitution does not establigh the US as a Christian nation. It states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion".

    Besides his lack of knowledge of the Constitution, he's managed to offend a good number of non-Christians. Sort of sounds like those agents of intolerance he once spoke against.

    October 1, 2007 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  5. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    While the United States was founded by white Christian males who escaped from the official Anglican Church in England, the principle of religious freedom they established in the Constitution extends to all faiths or nonbelievers. In view of our current quagmire in Iraq to protect "our" oil and our Israeli allies, however, I too would prefer a Christian President.

    October 1, 2007 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  6. Ryan Indianapolis

    Whats wrong with this statement?????? Do you want him to lie and say oh I would rather an extremist muslim be the president.....People grow up , this country was founded on christian principles do a little research if you dont want to believe it. If i was McCain I would tell them to shove it.

    October 1, 2007 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  7. Katherine, Aurora Co

    It is so sad to see that McCain has become a virtual puppet for the current right wing administration. He was the only republican I would have considered voting for but these past few years both his words and actions have continually disappointed me. It is a shame to see what used to be.

    October 1, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  8. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    McCain is extremely ignorant,I'm glad that he divides the republicans and helps bring down their party. He could have said that the principles that founded our nation are held dear by our christian faith as well as other faiths. That wouldn't raise as much money though. Bigots support bigotry in politics because it validates them.

    October 1, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  9. jahyarain

    there's a difference between christianists (modern "christians", none of which follow Christ's teachings) and theists (which made up MOST of the Founding Fathers). EDUCATE YOURSELVES!

    October 1, 2007 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  10. afmca Baltimore, MD

    What a complete idiot. He may be as stupid as Bush. If he would spend some time in the library he would find out that the founding fathers were totally against the mixing of church and state. They all realized they needed to stay separate. Their families had experienced religious persecution in Europe and did not want it transferred to this new nation. The founders wanted us to be a moral, courageous, and tolerant nation – that does not equate to christianity (especially how the zealots practice it today). McCain is going senile right before our eyes – drop out now!

    October 1, 2007 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  11. Ben Smith, St Louis, MO

    No disrespect to anyone, but one of the largest founding principles of this country was that Church and state are NEVER to meet. It's bad for both organizations. History has shown us this repeatedly.

    October 1, 2007 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  12. Jimmy, Los Angeles, CA

    "Christian nation." That's the biggest myth in American history. Most, if not all the founding fathers were Deists, which if alive today would consider themselves Athiests. That includes Washington, Jefferson, Franklin... And there is not a single mention of Christianity or God anywhere in the constitution. Learn the real history of America.

    October 1, 2007 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  13. Marie, San Marcos California

    I agree. who wants a president whos muslim, or jewish...remember our pledge of allegiance...I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under GOD, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all., not under ala or whatever jewish people or other religions believe in. This is a christian nation and I prefer for it to stay that way.

    October 1, 2007 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  14. Greg, Phoenix, AZ

    Can someone tell me why CNN is wasting everyone's time reporting non-stories like this one and NOT reporting on the VERY good news coming out of Iraq today?

    Civilian deaths down 50%, US casualities at or near all-time low. Here is more conclusive evidence that the surge is reaping major rewards yet CNN is choosing to focus on what candidate mispoke about some trivial situation that matters to no one.

    How can you not have a SINGLE headline story on such a huge revelation?

    This makes one wonder if CNN is trying to undercut McCain's standing at a time when his Iraq policy recommendations are paying major dividends for our country

    October 1, 2007 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  15. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    "under god" was inserted in the fiftys under pressure from the knights of columbus during the McCarthy era. It has no value to our nation other than to display bigotry. Not a good example.

    October 1, 2007 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  16. Alta, Madison WI

    I can hardly think of anything more divisive than voting on the basis of someone's officially declared religious affiliation. Vote on whether the candidate shares your values and your policy positions? Absolutely. But whether the candidate arrived at those values and positions by way of a religious denomination, rational discourse or non-theistic spiritualism seems entirely irrelevant. To divide ourselves along religious lines is not only untrue to the spirit of the country's founding (regardless of its demographic makeup at the time) but is also a recipe for turning ourselves into the Balkans.

    On a separate note: the phrase "Judeo-Christian" seems both under-inclusive and over-inclusive. It is underinclusive because it fails to include Islam, another religion grounded in the same basic Old Testament text. It is overinclusive because all three of these faiths have significant differences in theology that transcend the question of whether the Messiah has come or who he might be. To say "Judeo-Christian" seems more a political gesture to soothe feelings than a genuine statement about common theology.

    October 1, 2007 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  17. freetobeme, Rochester, PA

    Marie of San Marcos California, the word "God" is a generic term and not the name of our Christian diety. By the way, the wording "under God" in the socialist Pledge of Allegiance was only inserted in 1954 - around 60 years after the socialist pledge was first published in a boys' magazine.

    October 1, 2007 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  18. Pickles, Monaca, PA

    McCain should disqualify himself for president by his stupid remark that the Constitution establishes the United States as a Christian nation. Hey McCain! Since you swore to uphold the document when you became a Senator, you might try reading it as well.

    October 1, 2007 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  19. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    I would like mine with American cheese, Thank you.

    After we make it mandatory that all speak American, maybe we can do away with spending millions upon millions of dollars on bilingual ballots and the need for people "helping people vote" as that would do away with that scam that is used by the Democratic party.

    Funny how the Dems want to do away with smoking as well (I don't smoke), that would be hurting their voting block as how would they still bribe people with menthol cigs to vote for them?

    Baby bonds, no smoking, free health care, does anyone see a pattern here?

    October 1, 2007 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  20. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    CNN is reporting this to expose the bigotry of the right-wingers,they're doing a great job. We need to take back our country from these bigots. Thank you-CNN!

    October 1, 2007 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  21. bukky, Baltimore, MD

    I agree. who wants a president whos muslim, or jewish…remember our pledge of allegiance…I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under GOD, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all., not under ala or whatever jewish people or other religions believe in. This is a christian nation and I prefer for it to stay that way.

    Posted By Marie, San Marcos

    YOU Marie are the reason for the Seperation of Churh and State. If you can't graps the utterly SIMPLE idea that all three religions SHARE THE SAME GOD, and only differ on prophets.

    THIS is NOT a Christian nation read your history books. The founding fathers ran away from the intertwining of church doctrine and state. The created SECULAR NATION... without respecting or establishing ANY ONE religion. The document that they wrote in establishing this counrty says so in no uncertain words.

    When you clearly have access to the Internet there is NO EXCUSE FOR IGNORANCE OF SUCH BLATANT FACTS...

    October 1, 2007 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  22. Marianne Hata, Stafford, Virginia

    I ABSOLUTELY agree with Sen. McCain.

    October 1, 2007 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  23. Bill, Little Rock, Arkansas

    Perfect example of why Fox news is far and away better than CNN. CNN always focuses on keeping liberals happy and absolutely crucifies the right wing at every opportunity. Referring to this article, if everyone is so opposed to God, why don't we all start working Christmas day and quit recognizing Easter as a holiday. Anybody watch the Clarence Thomas bit on CBS last night? I am sure everyone thinks he is an Uncle Tom and contributes nothing either, right?

    October 1, 2007 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  24. Alex, Stamford, CT

    He's lost it. Someone must have played the queen of hearts . . .

    October 1, 2007 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  25. Jo, Atlanta GA

    One has to believe this country is a Christian country. I don't care what the founding fathers did! That was then.

    We have to believe in something. Every country is partially defined by faith or something they practice. The founding fathers were of Christian background.

    They saw what a defined denomination can do to a country or a set of countries. I think their words on religion really meant denomination. Back then it was Catholics against Anglicans. There were bitter wars between both in Europe. They did not want that in USA.

    Yes, we have to be very careful not to a government endorse any religion. Mainly, if the wrong guy gets in there and changes the religion to some else; You be in trouble... That's what the end of time is about.

    October 1, 2007 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
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