October 1st, 2007
02:25 PM ET
7 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. Adrienne, Hobe Sound, Florida

    Politics is becoming more and more nasty. Maybe McCain's slip-of-the-tongue statement was actually a tribute to other religions - only a Christian knows how to fight dirty?

    October 1, 2007 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  2. laurinda,ny

    I still don't see why alot of these candidates are mixing religion and politics. Do they really think that everyone is religious? I'd rather have a non religious person, then maybe we could get stem cell research. Think of the diseases we could cure.

    October 1, 2007 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  3. Jesus Christ, Earth and Heaven

    I would be the best President ever, it's true. However, many of my followers are deaf to my message and would better fulfill other roles in society.

    October 1, 2007 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  4. dumbredneck, anywhere in the south

    And this isn't just a Christian nation, it's a protestant-christian nation, meaning no Catholics as president. Haven't we learned enough from the disaster that was the JFK presidency? Vote Methodist!

    October 1, 2007 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  5. Ryan Indianapolis

    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!

    Posted By afmca Baltimore, MD : October 1, 2007 2:04 pm

    Read a book,,cause you are so WRONG...Not truth to your statment whatsoever,,,Seperation between church in state did not come till the 1900's and our forefathers were founded on christian principles,,,Read a little history about George Washington you raging lunatic....

    October 1, 2007 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  6. Jesus Christ, Earth and Heaven

    Let us not forget that I never established a church in my name.

    October 1, 2007 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  7. Bubba, Swainsboro GA

    Gee, and here I am thinking our founding fathers started this country to be free from religious persecution.

    October 1, 2007 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  8. ruthie

    Memo to Marie – Jesus was a Jew!

    October 1, 2007 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  9. james, austin, Tx

    I cant believe so many people are so afraid and offended, wait I forgot most libs just sit around and wait for stuff to complain about. All you athiests and non believers when the muslim extremist political party take over the world like they want to you will be the first to be executed on the internet. I really wish CNN adn other bed wetting libs would just get off their condesending high horses for a little while. I know these comments arent very Christian of me but oh well no one else holds back either.

    October 1, 2007 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  10. sonny c. v.p.,la.

    Christian Nation: Christian in name only. Anybody sell all of their belongings, give the money to the poor and then sought the Kingdom of God lately?–Mt.19,16

    October 1, 2007 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  11. Amanda, CA

    America is a christian nation....what's the problem?

    October 1, 2007 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  12. Bob, San Francisco, CA

    "55 percent of Americans may believe" anything they want, but it doesn't mean it's the truth. Heck, doesn't a third of the country still "believe" Saddam had something to do with 9-11? Doesn't half the population also believe in angels and fairies?
    The country was mostly founded on principles of the Enlightenment, as well as earlier notions of Roman and Greek democratic and republican systems. Sure, there may have been doeses of "Christian" influence as well, but there's a fine line between what was Western culture and what was strictly Christian.

    I look forward to the day when reason will prevail over religious superstition.

    October 1, 2007 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  13. Amy, TN

    Say nothing of my religion. It is known to God and myself alone. Its evidence before the world is to be sought in my life: if it has been honest and dutiful to society the religion which has regulated it cannot be a bad one. – Thomas Jefferson

    October 1, 2007 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  14. Amy, TN

    And another thing, of all the people running right now, is there one that's NOT a christian? I'm just saying...
    BFHD people!

    October 1, 2007 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  15. bukky, Baltimore, MD

    Read a book,,cause you are so WRONG…Not truth to your statment whatsoever,,,Seperation between church in state did not come till the 1900's and our forefathers were founded on christian principles,,,Read a little history about George Washington you raging lunatic….

    Posted By Ryan Indianapolis :

    First Amendment: addresses the rights of freedom of religion (prohibiting Congressional establishment of a religion over another religion through Law and protecting the right to free exercise of religion), freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and freedom of petition.

    the first ten amendments to the Constitution. adopted between 1789 and 1791

    Maybe YOU should read a book before name calling. This country was created WITH moral & values (if you overlook the whole slavery thing), Those values were not necessarily Christian, but just PLAIN HUMAN

    October 1, 2007 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  16. Veronica, New York, NY

    You know what I would prefer? A completely and totally non-religious, no particular religious affliated president. Then finally we could have someone in office whose un-biased. I am Christian but that is my personal religious choice that I do not want forced down the throat of people who believe something else. And I do NOT want ANYONE in my country's government making decisions based on the bible and what they feel God would want them to do. Even the most religious of people can not run their lives that way! Our founding fathers wanted complete seperation of church and state otherwise there would not have been an American Revolution in fact there might not have been an America because they all would have stayed happy in Europe. Maybe in this lifetime we can finally have a president whose not a total bigot, if thats even possible.

    October 1, 2007 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  17. Kuro, Long Beach CA

    The Treaty of Tripoli, signed in 1797, close enough to the signing of both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution that there can be no mistaking the intent of the Framers. It was approved and signed by then President John Adams.

    http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/treaty_tripoli.html

    Read Article 11 for the "official" word on the founding of our Country.

    It says:

    " Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

    I'd say that shows the Framers' intent rather clearly.

    October 1, 2007 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  18. P. Breckenridge, West, IL

    The founding fathers were mostly all theists, not Christians, and not necessarily aligned with any Christian religion. Read a history book, McCain! Your faith-pandering is all too obvious.

    October 1, 2007 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  19. joseph, armada, michigan

    The last thing our country needs is a christian hjaidist elected to office. the consitution established a separation of church and state. The current administration has religion confused with state and with god and the crusaders who raped, murdered, and stole in the name of jesus and god. God will do just well with out the nonsense of mans religious creations and sordid religious clubs which only serve to divide and discriminate against american citizens racial and personal beliefs. Thank God the puritans did not write the constitution and take over the colonys. With all due respect McCain should follow the lead of Newt and bow out of the race, I will never vote for him based on his senseless lying about how secure Iraq was and the gen and he could walk around in markets with out security. The country does not need another liar in the office of president or vicepresident.

    October 1, 2007 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  20. saynotoorganizedreligion, ny

    Shouldn't we start thinking about the children? How they would be hurt and damaged if we elect a godless non-christian? Just think! No Christmas Tree at the White House, no Easter Egg Roll, no Jerry Falwell secret meetings with little boys in the west wing basement.

    October 1, 2007 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  21. SimonSays

    If the constitution is so "Christian" then why is there no mention of god or the other parts of the holy trinity anywhere in it?

    The United States has a decidedly secular constitution and the supreme court has upheld this on numerous occasions.

    October 1, 2007 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  22. David, Encinitas, CA

    America is NOT a christian nation. We are a secular nation, with a Constitution specifically forbidding a national religion. Saying we're christian will not change that fact, and frankly I think many of us are getting fed up with religious zealots of all flavors trying to force their beliefs on the rest of us.

    October 1, 2007 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    I agree that McCain was incorrect in stating that the "...nation was founded primarily on Christian principles." To be precise, however, McCain didn't say a Muslim or Jew COULD NOT be President, he only said he would personally PREFER someone who is Christian. Is he not allowed a personal preference? If McCain isn't allowed to PREFER a Christian President, then why can women be allowed to prefer Hillary? Why can blacks be allowed to prefer Obama? Why can Jews prefer Lieberman? Why can socialists prefer democrats? Frankly, I just want a President who will follow the Constitution of the United States – but it's been over 100 years since we had one of those people in the White House.

    Many who are so upset about McCain's misinterpretation of the Constitution are probably silent when that document is totally disregarded for something that works in their favor. You can't have it both ways, folks, so you should not argue if it is pointed out that nationalized health care is not permitted by the Constitution, nor is a $5,000 check from Hillary to all newborns. ("The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively...")

    October 1, 2007 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  24. Colony 14 author, Mount Prospect, Illinois

    I agree that McCain was incorrect in stating that the "...nation was founded primarily on Christian principles." To be precise, however, McCain didn't say a Muslim or Jew COULD NOT be President, he only said he would personally PREFER someone who is Christian. Is he not allowed a personal preference? If McCain isn't allowed to PREFER a Christian President, then why can women be allowed to prefer Hillary? Why can blacks be allowed to prefer Obama? Why can Jews prefer Lieberman? Why can socialists prefer democrats? Frankly, I just want a President who will follow the Constitution of the United States – but it's been over 100 years since we had one of those people in the White House.

    Many who are so upset about McCain's misinterpretation of the Constitution are probably silent when that document is totally disregarded for something that works in their favor. You can't have it both ways, folks, so you should not argue if it is pointed out that nationalized health care is not permitted by the Constitution, nor is a $5,000 check from Hillary to all newborns. ("The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively...")

    October 1, 2007 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  25. Nelson R, Bronx, NY

    If I ever become a minority as a Christian in America I want my rights protected by a Constitution that protects all faiths. Claims of a “Christian Nation” only set the stage for more religious wars. I want a government of laws that are enforceable by the rule of law and not the claims of any religious group, including my own!

    October 1, 2007 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
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