April 24th, 2008
06:01 AM ET
10 years ago

McCain on baptism plans: 'It's a private thing.'

For the most part, McCain keeps a veil of privacy around his faith.

For the most part, McCain keeps a veil of privacy around his faith.

ABOARD THE STRAIGHT TALK EXPRESS (CNN) - John McCain, who rarely talks about his faith publicly, discussed some of his religious beliefs with reporters Wednesday – including the question of whether he might consider being baptized again.

The presumptive Republican nominee talked with journalists traveling with him from Kentucky to West Virginia about his home congregation, North Phoenix Baptist Church.

"Pastor Dan Yeary has a message I enjoy and appreciate," he said, adding that he and his family have "grown close to [Yeary] over the years" and that he tried to attend services at the church whenever he was home in Arizona.

"The message that Dan Yeary conveys of Christian love and redemption is one that I welcome," said McCain. "And I'm always spiritually helped and assisted when I attend those church services, as I think most Americans are when they attend church services."

The Arizona senator, who was raised an Episcopalian, has attended North Phoenix for nearly two decades, but is not a member because he has not been baptized into the church.

On Wednesday, he told reporters that he had been baptized in Panama, where he was born, and talked about a photo in his memoirs of himself as a baby in a baptismal gown, with his father and grandfather.

"It's like a dress," he chuckled.

But he was more guarded about his current plans with regard to baptism, calling them "a private thing."

"I've been in discussions with Pastor Yeary, and we'll continue those discussions," he said. "It's a personal thing, it's a very personal thing concerning my faith and I am proud of my faith, I am proud of my belief and the sustenance and the redemption that I have received.

"And my faith was tested in extraordinary fashion and it was my faith that got me through not the next day, or the next hour but the next minute."

In an interview with Baptist Press last month, Yeary said that McCain was less open about his faith because he was "a historical Episcopalian, and if you and I sat down with him and started talking Baptist talk, he just doesn't have that kind of vocabulary."

But he also told BP that McCain "has a strong faith and he is committed to Christ. I don't have any doubt about it."

On Wednesday, McCain cited the "the importance of Judeo-Christian values of 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.'"

"There's enormous implications of that simple phrase," he added, calling it "one of the fundamental principles of leadership."

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. Jim

    As one who has had the awesome privelege to baptize many in all stages of life iapplaud Senator McCain's decision to be baptized.!
    Now my prayer is that his baptism and church life would be seen in his daily walk and campaign talk.
    If he truly has renounced the evil one and seeks to walk in ways of Jesus than a good manual for his campaign would be the Sermon on The Mount. Perhaps it will be?
    We shall see in the days ahead the fruit just how well the baptism has leads to a mature discipleship and faith.

    April 24, 2008 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  2. SPQR753


    April 24, 2008 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  3. Marshall


    April 24, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  4. SPQR753

    With all problems we have,: 2 wars, ineffective and bungling administration, economical recession (or call it what you want) gasoline prices going through the roof mounting foods costs, John McCain second baptism is 50th on a scale 1 to 10.

    Don't you have more iNTELLIGENT questions for the public?

    April 24, 2008 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  5. Doug R.

    Sorry grandpa, nothing is private if you are in the public sector as a public servant and the American people pay for your health care, pension, disability income, and salary as U.S. Senator. Get real McCain.

    April 24, 2008 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  6. Rob

    The ultimate panderer.

    April 24, 2008 08:57 am at 8:57 am |

    McCain is not your avg republican. Thats why the Dems need a CLEAT DIFFERENT CHOICE.. With Hilliary there is NO CHOICE

    Obama..... NATION

    April 24, 2008 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  8. NYC Native

    He'll get baptized as many times as he has to to get elected.

    April 24, 2008 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  9. Kristine

    What a joke.

    April 24, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  10. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    "John McCain, who rarely talks about his faith publicly..."

    A practice he should have continued–there's something vaguely distasteful about a man exercising his superstitions in public.

    April 24, 2008 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  11. Deep Blue

    You can't say baptized "again" when he's NEVER BEEN BAPTIZED!!!
    It's not worded properly if what you mean is that he again discussed whether or not he would be baptized, but it's not appropriate to leave the impression that he has been baptized in the past.

    April 24, 2008 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  12. Marc

    You have to ask – why is Senator McClain so secret about his faith? Is it because he isn't comfortable talking about faith based topics?

    April 24, 2008 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  13. JSterling

    I for one am very pleased that McCain, whom I do not support as President, is very private about his faith. It is my hope that he can help blunt the very offensive impact of the Right on imposing their view of faith on the entire Republican party. As an Ohio native, I could believe in the economic ideals of the Republican party but am more than offended at their ideas at how all Americans should live. Ultimately, I follow the belief that politics and religion do'nt mix.

    April 24, 2008 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  14. Al, NY NY

    way to go John. That's a sure way to get the Bible-thumper vote. Raise those hands and say "Hallejuah." Now can we see whether this pastor has said anything derogatory about others since the Rev Wright issue is being used as a wedge for Obama

    April 24, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  15. TAHARI in CT 4 OBAMA

    ... I once was young but now i'm John McCain

    April 24, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  16. Aaron, Etown, KY

    who cares, its nobody's business but his.

    April 24, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  17. ObamaMama

    This is just another pre conceived photo op for the media. He will probably ask Pastor Hagge or Parsley to baptise him. McCain is pandering to the religious right and the evangelical base.

    April 24, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  18. Ben

    OK! Here goes again.
    Can't you democrat and republican voters see what is happening in this circus race for the presidental nomination? Democrats scream
    if Hillary"steals" the election, It will divide the party and give a free ride to McCain.Other democrats scream if Obama wins he can't beat McCain. This is exactally what the money powers want to happen.They don't care whether Hillarty or McCain wins!THEY OWN BOTH OF THEM. It has always been that way. They reach into their pocket and hand us two candidates.This is the first time little unknown people have reached into their pockets and said "For once let us decide who leads us"

    April 24, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  19. Lonny, Seattle

    Who cares.
    McBush will get re-baptized to appease the right wing and get all the god-crazy southern votes.

    April 24, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  20. Eric

    Go for it John.....God Bless You

    April 24, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  21. Blake

    "Bomb others as they would bomb unto you."

    I am a Christian appalled at war. I hate it. War destroys. God creates. This is fundamental to Christian belief. The Christian God is not a god of destruction, but of love. How can you love your neighbor if you bomb them? How can you be your brother’s keeper if you kill them?

    Blessed are the peace makers for they will be called sons and daughters of God.

    April 24, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  22. Krissy, FL

    Looks like John's faith isn't strong enough for him to denouce and repudiate his spiritual endorser Hagee. I guess he has been reading up on the hypocrites of the bible. John, you are slick!! like a snake....

    April 24, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  23. Doug

    I basically like John McCain and I have respect for the things he's done in his life and in his work. That said....
    Twelve months ago, I could have considered voting for John McCain, even though I'm a Democrat (at least when it comes to choosing candidates on their positions). He was willing to go against the status quo and act accordingly to his beliefs. He actually was somewhat the maveric that people thought he was.
    Since running for the nomination and winning, McCain has become one of the biggest panderers I've seen in my 50 years. (I'm 50, so you can discount the first 10 if you want). He suddenly fell in lock-step with George W, Bush on everything. He panders to the crowd to whom he is speaking at the moment.
    Now he is evoking religion to try to attract the religious and the extreme conservatives. I appreciate the fact that he has core beliefs, and he should. But I don't care what those beliefs are and thay have nothing to do with anything if he becomes president. But he is now playing the game. He is going to go to the pulpit, surrounded by CNN and all the other cameras and get the free PR of being Baptised again. Why again? Did he make a bad decision the first time. Hm-m-m-m....kinda makes you wonder about that prenuptual agreement he has with his wife. Sort of goes to his willingness to commit, don't you think.
    This is "Hillary the Duck Hunter" politics. That's why I'm voting for Obama. He may misstate himself on occasion, but he isn't going to pretend to be any more than what he is. And if that's okay with you, then you should vote for Obama, too.

    April 24, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  24. wwf

    I see Mr. Hegge is in the news again. Oh, I guess what he said again is ok. He must walk on water like the rest of the party. I say what is good for the goose is good for the gander. As an Independent, you can count on me not voting Republican come fall. Enough of this one sided crap.

    April 24, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  25. Phil From VA

    I am sure he will do anything to get the conservative vote. Double talk express.

    April 24, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
1 2 3