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. Liz

    Ok. I'm a Christian and I am voting for whoever I think would be the best president. It doesn't matter what McCain or Obama pray to (if I recall correctly, they are both Christians). It doesn't matter. Separation of church and state was written into the constitution for a reason.

    October 11, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  2. mitch

    GOD will punish those who use religion to smear someone's character. how low will these ignorants go?

    October 11, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  3. C-Denver

    Focus on the Family asked their followers to pray for rain during Obama's acceptance speech in Denver. Guess What?? It was a beautiful night of about 75 degrees without a cloud in the sky. I guess we now know who God wants as President.

    October 11, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  4. Jewel79

    These McCain followers are sick. I've never heard such trash come out of people who I guess don't have any common sense.

    October 11, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Apparently, Obama's faith doesn't worship the same God. Isnt he Christian though? That invocation is an insult.

    October 11, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  6. Dante

    So much for Christians loving their neighbors. What an absolute hypocritical loser.

    I can't wait for Obama to win in November so this kind of thing can get smeared in the faces of these right-wing lunatics.

    October 11, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  7. BIGG PLAY 84

    McCain is not doing enough to stop his supporters from doing this stupid stuff. To me the Repulicans are not rational people, they think that they are right about everything, they have a its my way or the highway attitude.

    Obama/Biden 2008 to 2016

    October 11, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  8. Little Hawk

    "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.

    When are these "Holy" men going to realize that everyone prays to the same God!

    October 11, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  9. Farheen Jamil

    Why must faith be an issue in this campaign? Beckoning only Christians to vote McCain will only divide this nation further and will divert us form focusing on the real issues at hand. Someone should tell this man that people of all backgrounds and religions, including Christians are voting for Obama because we know presents ALL Americans. Oh and "Hindu" is not a god.

    October 11, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  10. Independent Mind

    hello Mr preacher, you are not the only one who pray or who God listens too. Just like the same so called christian prayed for rain during the democratic convention but instead a got Hurricane during the Republican convention. I believe God will give you the opposite of your prayers. I too will be praying to rebuke that prayer so that Obama will be the next president of the united states.

    October 11, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  11. Mountain man

    No one "owns" religion. Just because I happen to support Obama does not make me any less a christian than anyone else. This is truly ridiculious...

    October 11, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  12. No McCain No Palin

    Gov Palin and the McCain camp started this. I am glad to see that they are rejecting this type of rhetoric. The fact is the country needs a leader who will bring everyone to the table and move the country foward. That person is Barack Obama. He is the only one who has that ability. My fellow Americans please join me and vote
    Obama-Biden

    October 11, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  13. Paul

    This is why I can't stand organized religion of any kind. John Lennon was so right. Yeah, God needs to guard his own reputation, from fools like this...

    October 11, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  14. thomas

    wow, these are real bottom of the barrel people left attending McCain rallies

    October 11, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  15. mike coleman

    Once again the true colors of the republican party come shining through.8 years+ of this nonsense is enough.Our country demands better of our leaders and those who call themselves Christians.My vote goes to Obama.God bless America.

    October 11, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  16. allen

    And these are supposed to be people of God? What a joke give me a break! Evangelical is the code word for stuck in Jim Crow days. Hide behind the Bible to try to advance your agenda. God is LOVE, JOY, PEACE. Sarah Palin displays none of these attributes. She is a power hungry woman who will say and do whatever she can to advance her career. Evangelicals should be ashamed. She is polarizing to the umtenth power GOD help us. Now they have the religious nut jobs lurching out of the woodwork.

    October 11, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  17. Lynette

    I was once a fan of John McCain, but no more. How disgusting that McCain would appear at any rally where such comments were made. It seems impossible that there are voters in this country this severely out of touch in an age when media coverage and information on any public figure is available at the touch of a button. Obama is a dedicated Christian, and McCain's spokesperson should have pointed that out in her response. In a country founded on equality and freedom of religion, how can it be that this ignorance exists? The behavior by these so-called Christians at these rallies defies the very basic tenants of Christianity. They should truly be ashamed and hope that God is more forgiving than they are. I am truly, truly horrified for our nation at this moment.

    October 11, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  18. Chris, Bethesda, Maryland

    Well, yes. The Republican Party is dominated by people who think anyone who's not a Christian fundamentalist isn't a real American, and that only they deserve the right to rule. So non-Christians tend to prefer Democrats. Why is this news?

    It's funny to see that the religious right is so terrified that they're actually willing to hop in bed with McCain. James Dobson said early in the race that he wouldn't vote for McCain "as a matter of principle." Then a month ago he suddenly backtracked and endorsed him. So much for strongly held principle, eh Jimbo?

    October 11, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  19. Irmiya M Sauka

    McCain-Palin campaign is reaping the result of the negative campaign they have been sowing. The pastor's prayer reflects prayers offered in most Churches especially in the so called Bible belt. McCain-Palin may be Christians but there there is nothing Christian reflected in their campaign. May be the pastor's God forgot his will. Shame on him

    October 11, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  20. Repent

    Sick, sick sick! How un-Christian.

    October 11, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  21. Tray in STL

    This I'm sad to say isn't anything new. As the time is coming to an end the one thing I had been thinking was I could look up to both men. While I'm sad to say that after the past two weeks I can't look up to John.

    His people has started all of this and from the look on his face today I could see he didn't really like it but he's going along with it. Anything for the win huh John? The fact that his people are really the ones doing all the talking it shows he has No leadership.

    No Leadership John..... None and with that you just lost the respect of another man...not that you care I'm sure!

    October 11, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  22. Mohammad, LA CA

    If the Republicans win, this country is going to collape under the weight of a victory propogated by pure racism and hatred.

    October 11, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  23. T in Kzoo

    My God is bigger than your God!

    Nuh-Uh! My God is way bigger than yours!

    Nuh-Uh! My God is one kazillion times bigger than your God!

    Good grief, can we get some actual adults in this election?

    October 11, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  24. candice

    This minister is such a bigot, and the sad part is that he doesn't see it. I and many of my friends and acquaintances are Christians, even evangelical Christians, but we also have brains and can think for ourselves. We don't march in lock-step with other conservatives just because they have decided how all Christians should vote!

    I will be voting for Obama because he offers hope and new paradigms for change that this country needs more than ever. Yes, he is "different", but do we ever wholly agree with people of our own ilk? I think not!

    October 11, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  25. Eric

    There you again! Stoking fear! When will they learn? God is not a Republican or a Democrat. MCCain has to draw the line here!

    October 11, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
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