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. Peter, Stamford, CT

    I'm sorry but the words 'Jesus Christ' do not appear anywhere in the US Constitution. The principles of our democratic republic came from pagan Rome and Greece.

    America a Christian nation? It's citizens may be predominantly Christian but the government is secular, like it or not.

    October 1, 2007 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  2. Sarah, Oxford, MS

    Wait a minute, I want a president who actually adheres to the official religion of the United States! He should worship Justitia, Libertas, and the other Roman deities which embody our social ideals and are present on virtually every seal and monument we've erected. Roman temples form the architectural basis for many of our official government buildings.

    If we're going to pretend to have an "official" religion, let's at least have one that seems to have some historic basis, however minimal.

    October 1, 2007 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  3. O. Echevarvria, Bronx, NYC, New York

    I wonder why these groups are outraged? It is an historical fact that this nation was established on Christian principles. Look at our longest standing educational institutions; they were established as seminary schools before taking on prominent roles as major universities. The fact is, the United States was and is a Christian based nation as plural as the media or liberal may want to paint it, the United States is a Christian based nation. May be the judeo-islamic community ought to look at the trend of U.S. presidents that have been elected thus far. There has not been one islamic or jewish president, this is a fact; why deny the truth?

    October 1, 2007 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  4. John Worcester MA

    It's called...... free speech people!

    October 1, 2007 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  5. May the Force Be With You, the Republic

    The REAL religion of this Country is not Christianity. Rather, it should be based on Jedi teachings.

    October 1, 2007 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  6. David, Roosevelt, NJ

    I can't believe I sent this guy contributions 8 years ago. Where can I go to get a refund ?

    October 1, 2007 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  7. Withheld pseudonym, Dallas, TX

    I practice Wicca, so I am blessed with an outside perspective of Christianity. And, frankly, I have a hard time telling the difference between Fundamentalist Christianity's core ethics and motivations and that of Islamic Fundamentalism. Both would have the world follow their view at all costs, and both at varying points in history have engaged in massive campaigns destroying whole civilizations to accomplish that goal. I can't feel sorry for those of you who feel picked on for being Christian when people of my religion here in the United States get their children taken away from them or fired from their jobs for their beliefs, all the while political leaders profess "Christian values." And, guess where my November election is being held? A church.

    October 1, 2007 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  8. JL, St. Louis, MO

    Wow. What a huge response to a complete non-issue. What he said has nothing to do with the separation of church and state, anti-semitism, pandering, or the exclusion of non-cristian presidents.

    By the way, if you ever visit a court be sure not to look down at the book that people typically swear on, or you might suddenly get very upset and yell out, "NO! They were THEISTS! THEISTS!"

    October 1, 2007 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  9. Jeff, Lost Creek WV

    "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."

    Posted By Ryan Indianapolis : October 1, 2007 1:48 pm

    I have a suggestion for you, how about you do a little research. This country was NOT founded as a Christian Nation, in fact the founding fathers took great pains to keep religion out of our government. They were rebelling against a government that was too intertwined with religion for crying out loud and they wanted to avoid a similar situation cropping up here. Not the mention the fact that a number of the founding father were Diests NOT Christians.

    And what a leap to go to prefering an "Extremist Muslim". I would prefer that the presidential race removed religion from the process, what does it matter what religion they practice? A president should be a good leader and that can be found in any religion (or no religion) from Christianity to Islam to Hindu or Atheism. Religion has nothing and should continue to have nothing to do with how our government is run. If religion creeps into our government it won't be long before we end up looking less like a democracy and more like a theocracy.

    October 1, 2007 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  10. Takoma Park, MD

    Nowhere in the Constitution does it mention Jesus or Christianity, though it's VERY clear there should be no established official religion. This is NOT a "Christian nation". Those who pretend it is have nothing to stand on.

    The fact that it was established by Christians does not make it a Christian nation any more than the fact that it was established by slave owners makes it a slave nation.

    October 1, 2007 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  11. D. Thomas

    McCain is the ONLY ONE capable of speaking the TRUTH. He sees the real problem of kissing the *ss of Islam again and again.

    If McCain was smart, he'd get rid of ALL stupid religions. They are ALL garbage. Just boys clubs where the boys in charge wear DRESSES.

    How many times must we catch the cleric doing the hooker, doing the choirboy, doing the drugs, stealing the money, raping the child, etc. etc?


    October 1, 2007 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  12. Tommy, Austin, Texas

    Why is it that EVERY candidate can't seem to remember the separation between church and state?? Did they miss that part of their education?? This country has been, and will always be, a melting pot of various cultures, religions and people. One of the things that makes it such a great place to live. Unless I have missed something, pretty much ALL wars have been over religion. When are people going to realize that we really can all live together, once we stop labeling everything and realize that we are human beings inhabiting the planet. That and people just need to stop making stupid comments in the public eye.

    October 1, 2007 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  13. Holy ShrimpBasket!

    The US may have been founded on "Christian" principles, but only "words" only, not "actions". If those supposed christian principles were indeed practiced, slavery and racism would not have taken the foothold it gained in Amerikkka!

    Amerikkkans are some of the most deluded beings on the planet!

    October 1, 2007 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  14. Jeannie, Sacramento, CA

    McCain is shamelessly pandering to the Christian southerners whom he called "agents of intolerance." This country is secular. If it was of any religion, its ruling party would be a theocratic group. Thank God it isn't!

    Most people assume religion is harmless. I am concerned that most people don't understand the real harm posed by religion.

    Aside from the multitudes killed in the name of religion, the real harm comes from the irrational leap of faith it takes to disregard reality and succumb to faith. This faith is focused on an invisible, omni-powerful, all-loving, Intelligent Designer who rapidly created the world around 10,000 years ago, then angrily caused massive deaths to his own creation through floods and plagues. He produced a woman from the rib of his first creation to keep him company and help spawn the rest of mankind. He had a son (without physical intercourse) with one of his creations and sacrificed his begotten son so mankind could be saved to worship him alone for all eternity (lest they suffer the consequences). He raised this son from the dead and then dictated a book about it.

    How did this babble become intelligent design? I am concerned.

    October 1, 2007 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  15. househead_415; SF, Cal.

    McCain has been hanging out with George "yes, our childrens do learn" Bush for way, WAY too long! As have the 55% of Americans who responded "yes" to that recent Christian nation poll. What part of "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" do these people NOT UNDERSTAND? Yes, Dubya, you're right. Our childrens do learn. Too bad McCain apparently doesn't.</p?

    October 1, 2007 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  16. Mark, Akron OH

    Precisely why the Republicans are no longer fit to govern. They no longer are for all Americans. They only consider Americans that are of like thinking. This is how a theocracy begins and we all know how well those work. Right ladies?

    October 1, 2007 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  17. Christian, Tampa FL

    Only an idiot believes that the Constitution establishes a Christian nation. Has he even read the document? And if 55% of the country really believe that, then God help us.

    October 1, 2007 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  18. F.D. Bonitto Fairfax, Virginia

    To be a Christian is to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and all that devolves there from. I find no where in the Constitution any reference to Jesus Christ per se. God yes,however, Jews, Christians and Muslims believe in God. Sen. McCain seems to be losing touch with reality and objectivity. Of course he is entitled to his preferences.

    October 1, 2007 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  19. jim pollock pines ca.

    well if people want to admit to it or not america was founded by christians they came to america so they can practice there faith in peace 90 percent of our founding fathers were christian and they used the bible as they guide to write the constotution about 75 to 80 percent of our population is cristian so i say look at the facts that the way you think it is this is a cristian nation even when they wrote that church should be seperated from state that only meant that the government cant tell you what god to follow and the church cant tell you who to vote for not we cant mention god in congress or the white house when about 80 to 90 percent of all americas leaders from the start of our nation has been christian open your eyes people.

    October 1, 2007 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  20. Brian VA

    "GROUP" needs to do their homework and get it straight.

    October 1, 2007 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  21. Ben Laurens North Carolina

    It's typical that one gets criticized by the liberals for telling the truth. Would some of these idiots read the documents which were written to form this "Noble experiment". THe U.S. is and I hope God always allows us to be a Christian nation. God help us if a democrat wins next year. The Judeo Christian God, of course. Oh yeah, and God bless John McMcain for having the guts to break the chain of political correctness.
    Ben Laurens

    October 1, 2007 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  22. Joel in NY

    I don't believe America can endure a Jewish president. We already have enough problems with practically every politician swearing secret loyalty to Isreal.

    October 1, 2007 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  23. Chris, Palm Bay, FL

    McCain is right, this is a country founded on Christian principles. I must say, it’s amusing to see people actually try and argue the founders weren’t Christian. No, the word “God” does not appear in the Constitution. However, if you read the letters they sent to each other when they were trying to create a country out of several colonies, they were adamant that rights were granted by a “Creator”, and not by government. This push to change who and what the founders were is nothing more than revisionism.

    Additionally, the Constitution does not guarantee, affirm, or even suggest the current idea of separation of church and state. That is merely a Supreme Court interpretation. The founders wanted freedom of religion, with no one religion being adopted by the state. Does that mean any semblance of religion must be banned from public institutions? No! What they were worried about was a specific group being persecuted by state-sanctioned laws and ordinances. They worried about persecution such as attacking and eradicating all forms of Christian celebrations in the public square, while simultaneously advocating separate footbaths and prayer rooms for Muslims. That’s what the founders feared.

    For all of you people stating McCain needs to read the Constitution, you need to review it yourselves…as well as the correspondence leading up to its drafting.

    October 1, 2007 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  24. laurinda,ny

    HOLLY SHRIMP BASKET.. What a dumb name. Will you stop putting those dumb K's in America. What is wrong with you? You are very insulting to the American people.

    October 1, 2007 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  25. Greg Conley, Kentucky

    Thanks Sen. McCain...finally someone has a backbone to not let a minority sway an opinion. You are right, this country was founded as a christian nation although we will always fight to preserve all religious freedoms for all people...you just stated a historical FACT.

    October 1, 2007 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
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