October 11th, 2008
09:30 PM ET
3 years ago

Speaker at McCain rally says non-Christians want an Obama win

A pastor at a McCain rally said non-Christians are hoping for an Obama win.
A pastor at a McCain rally said non-Christians are hoping for an Obama win.

DAVENPORT, Iowa (CNN) – A minister delivering the invocation at John McCain’s rally in Davenport, Iowa Saturday told the crowd non-Christian religions around the world were praying for Barack Obama to win the U.S. presidential election.

“There are millions of people around this world praying to their god—whether it’s Hindu, Buddha, Allah—that his opponent wins, for a variety of reasons. And Lord, I pray that you will guard your own reputation, because they’re going to think that their God is bigger than you, if that happens,” said Arnold Conrad, the former pastor of Grace Evangelical Free Church in Davenport.

The remark was made before McCain arrived at the rally but the Republican nominee's campaign quickly put out a statement distancing itself from the remarks.

“While we understand the important role that faith plays in informing the votes of Iowans, questions about the religious background of the candidates only serve to distract from the real questions in this race about Barack Obama's judgment, policies and readiness to lead as commander in chief,” said McCain campaign spokesperson Wendy Riemann.

This incident comes a day after a Minnesota voter asked Senator McCain if Barack Obama was an Arab at a town hall in Lakeville, Minnesota and just three days after Lehigh GOP County Chairman Bill Platt made a speech at a McCain rally in Pennsylvania where he refered to the Democrat nominee for president as Barack Hussein Obama.


Filed under: Iowa • John McCain
soundoff (1,974 Responses)
  1. Veteran for change

    Wow, I thought I had heard it all. McCain is a complete fraud. For him to allow this crap at one of his rallies, a day after he says he wants to base his campaign on policy differences, what a joke.

    McCain= racist, bigot, fraud

    October 11, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  2. (Former) Lifelong Republican for Obama, Columbia, TN

    I'm sorry but this just makes me SOOOOO ANGRY! This election has being going on for nearly 2 years and if any one says that they do not know Obama, they are simply CHOOSING TO LIVE IN IGNORANCE AND HATE! Obama is a Christian and God-fearing man, just like me. He has shown more Christian attributes than any of McCain's supporters and certainly more than this idiot minister. The Lord Jesus that I believe in and feel like I know, would never approve of his hate-filled and angry message of divide and conquer. Even if McCain wins, I know that my soul is right with the Lord, because I am voting for Obama, I am voting to secure America's future, to sustain her greatness, and to make future generations proud. I hope and pray that Christians and non-Christians alike will look at the McCain campaign with utter shame, and will vote on the practical and serious issues endangering our nation.

    October 11, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  3. Donna

    It is amazing that in a country founded on the principle of freedom of religion, a national campaign would allow rhetoric of this blantant anti-religious tolerance to be spoken. If Obama wins how would Mr. Conrad justify it...oh yea, he would say that America is paying for its sinfulness. Perhaps Mr. Conrad, when Obama wins God is tell folks like you that He is God of everyone, Muslim, Hindu, Jew and Christian.....

    October 11, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  4. Ras

    The call for Christian prayer was inappropriate to the nth degree at the recent Mc Cain rally. Religion has NO place in plotics. The founding fathers clearly say in the constitution the Church and State are to remain separate! This nation was founded by Deists not Christians and this nation is comprised of ALL faiths. When are they going to start pulling the non-profit charters on religious groups that get involved in politics? Shame on you McCain and disgust for the actions of Palin.Where is your dignity?

    October 11, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  5. One Nation

    Even the "pastor" is playing fast and loss with the truth. Even going so far as to say if the outcome is not what he is praying for, the the other "gods" win. What a joke!

    October 11, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  6. Jan in the 'live free or die' state

    More hate language from the REPs. The real McCain camp = How disgraceful, how dishonorable....... not ready to lead.....

    October 11, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  7. Milwaukee Brian

    It's too bad McCain is now finally addressing his groups about their misconceptions of Obama. It's their hatred that is leading most of these nasty opinions to prevail.

    October 11, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  8. Jack Stanley

    Hindu is not a God, you dummy.

    October 11, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  9. elizabeth

    What is happening at the McCain/Palin rallies is appalling and a direct consequence of the rhetoric both candidates have, and continue to use. Senator Palin has now been moved off of the "terrorist" attacks onto suggestions that Senator Obama is an extremist on abortions. Does no one remember what happened with the "we are different" attacks back in the 1930's during Germany's economic crisis? What are we, as Americans, thinking when we let this type of rhetoric create such a dangerous atmosphere?
    The McCain campaigns response was hardly comforting,“While we understand the important role that faith plays in informing the votes of Iowans, questions about the religious background of the candidates only serve to distract..." What on earth did she mean? Was she implying that the questions were ok? Senator Obama is a Christian, for what it is worth, though it should hardly matter if he were Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or any of the other religions practiced and presumably still welcome in a country that professes freedom of religion!! Appalling. Elizabeth Rounds

    October 11, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    It's a shame that McCain couldn't take the time to not only defend Obama, but also defend Arab people. The response he gave to this misinformed woman was only to say that Obama was not an Arab and therefore she need not be afraid. The media have rightly picked up on the obvious, but completely ignored the underlying racism in both the initial comment and the response.

    October 11, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  11. Ralph

    The Religious Right is nothing more then a home grown terrorist organization, every bit as dangerous as Al Quida.

    October 11, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  12. David

    Insanity. Complete insanity. Some of these people are sick. In the end, John McCain and his rural running mate are to blame for the turn in direction of this presidential campaign.

    “There are millions of people around this world praying to their god—whether it’s Hindu, Buddha, Allah—that his opponent wins, for a variety of reasons. And Lord, I pray that you will guard your own reputation, because they’re going to think that their God is bigger than you, if that happens,”

    Are they kidding? Again....Insanity.

    October 11, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  13. Joseph

    it is so sad, that living in America, in 21st century some people still Ignorant.

    October 11, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  14. INFINITE

    GO AHEAD AMERICA.... KEEP SHOWING HOW RACIST YOU REALLY ARE TO THE REST OF THE WORLD!!! WE ALREADY KNOW!!

    October 11, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  15. HYPOCRISY

    This is really getting out of hand. THE MEDIA NEED TO START REPORTING WHAT IS GOING ON. I have seen some very mean and angry video's at these rally's. It is the media's responsibility to show these comments coming from some of these rally's.

    October 11, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  16. stuart sharp

    I am a Christian, and there is no way I would vote for McCain, Typical neo-con evangalical stuff here. Nothing like trying to further divide the country.

    October 11, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  17. gene

    sickening

    October 11, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  18. Christina

    As a non-Christian I am deeply offended that this comment was even made a political rally. How can a campaign distance itself from remarks made during a campaign rally? How can the campaign organizers be so blunt as to allow someone with these sorts of extreme opinions about religions be allowed or CHOSEN to speak? Indeed, those who SPEAK at CAMPAIGN events DO SPEAK for the campaign. If this is true, then McCain and his camp do agree with the reverand's speech. And if that's true...he just lost my vote. (and frankly never had it in the first place.)

    October 11, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  19. Wake-up America

    I was born and raised Catholic, I personally do NOT believe in abortion but I am definitely Pro-Choice. I would stand my faith up to any of you religious fanatics any time. If you are truly Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc. it is your job to teach the word of your faith not the government’s job to dictate to all, your beliefs. Remember separation of Church and State. Do your job!!

    How can you believe in the Bible, Torah, Curran, etc. and the Ten Commandments and believe in war? Going to war should always be the last choice not the first, especially when it is based on deception and lies, Mr. Bush. I pray for our brave men and women in our military for there safe return home. I surely don’t pray for them to kill as many people as possible. And it makes me sick that some of you so called deeply religious people put God and war in the same sentence, paragraph, thought, etc. Your theology is no different than the Jihadists we are fighting. Idiots, think, and pray for forgiveness. Don’t you ever use God to justify a war.

    I am now convinced that all of you Evangelists and Religious Fanatics out there are the true ANTICHRIST. There is NOW WAY my God would ever condone this kind of blasphemy. McCain you should repent for using thy Lord thy Gods name in vein. SINFUL & SHAMEFUL!!!

    WAKE-UP AMERICA. The only chance for change is Obama/Biden. At least a chance!!

    October 11, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  20. Sit down and shut up

    I've got news for this idiot Arnold Conrad: contrary to what he may think, God is neither a Republican nor a Democrat. And does Conrad really believe that God will heed his public admonishments regarding mortal politics?

    October 11, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  21. FG

    We are getting a good look at the McCain mainstream: bigoted, backward looking ideologues.
    Notice how most of the moderate Republicans have stayed away the last two weeks.
    It's Cindy, Sarah and John the " the angry menage a trois"

    October 11, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  22. dEMOBRAT

    There are loonies everywhere. I do not support the 'arab' insinuation or that religion and praying for the candidate has anything to do with the outcome. I also do not support Obama. Nevermind what Obama saus he is going to do- What has Obama done for America? Usually candidates for president have a list of accomplishments. Obama on the otherhand only has a long issues he chose not to vote on at all.

    October 11, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  23. Barb

    This is all a bunch of bull.. My vote isn't going to count when it comes down to who wins. It is up to the electorial votes. NOT THE PEOPLE..

    October 11, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  24. Katrina

    I wonder if he was talking to the so called Christians that want Obama killed and who call him every non Christian-like name in the book. hmmm...just curious. Also, what's funny is there are any more "TRUE" Christians praying that Obama wins the election and becomes the next president of the United States of America. Either way, God will not be mocked!

    October 11, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  25. Ras

    The call for Christian prayer was inappropriate to the nth degree at the recent Mc Cain rally. Religion has NO place in politics. The founding fathers clearly say in the constitution the Church and State are to remain separate! This nation was founded by Deists not Christians and this nation is comprised of ALL faiths. When are they going to start pulling the non-profit charters on religious groups that get involved in politics? Shame on you McCain and disgust for the actions of Palin.Where is your dignity?

    October 11, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
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