October 11th, 2008
09:30 PM ET
2 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. Republican for change

    Pastor - I don't think Jesus has that big of an ego and will feel the need to "guard his reputation."

    Jesus loves everyone, white, black, yellow, purple, including the animals that Palin is killing for sport.

    October 11, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  2. GrogInOhio

    What a sad state the Palin/McCain campaign has sunk to. They have apparently conceded the thinking people's voting bloc.

    100 days till the end of the Bush administration.

    October 11, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  3. Marianne, Michigan

    McCain/Palin are a little too late. When the hateful comments were first yelled out at their rally's, they should have spoke up immediately! Only when the public and the media started calling for their intervention, did they start speaking up. One more cheap trick by McCain that hasn't worked!

    October 11, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  4. Doug from IN

    This is a complete disgrace. Is it going to get to a point where they just stop trying to spin it and come right out and say "uhhh.. yeah we are now holding hate rallies. So what?"

    October 11, 2008 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  5. Scott Alexander

    More racism, bigotry, and ignorance from McCain supporters. Holy cow what is wrong with these people? Seriously, you cannot consider yourself a good person if you think that a non-Christian is a bad person...that's just an awful premise to live your life with. These people shouldn't even be allowed to vote for utter stupidity and sheer evilness.

    October 11, 2008 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  6. PR

    Fighting in heaven lol

    Buddhists not Buddha
    Muslims not Allah
    and he forgot a whole lot of other religions lol

    and the scary thing is that he was a Pastor!!

    October 11, 2008 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  7. kathy4change

    This is disgusting! How low will Mc Cain/Palin stoop? Their negative ads have encouraged mob-like behavior and brought out the worst in America – the racists and bigots. If Mc Cain has any sense at all and if these kinds of responses really are not what he condones, why hasn't he pulled all of his negative ads off the air? That would be the right thing to do – but Mc Cain is not an honorable man and wants to win at all costs. He fully endorses this behavior and we need to demand that he be stopped immediately, We do not need to be torn by civil strife and unrest, The economy and our whole situation in America is bad enough.
    The best thing we can do is VOTE FOR OBAMA/BIDEN for integrity and intelligence They are not promoting violence and will have a "cool hand at the tiller"

    October 11, 2008 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  8. beafraid

    Should all "non-christians" be afraid? I fear for the future of this great country, where religious tolerance and personal freedom were valued to the most. May be it is time to leave this country for a non-christian (non-muslim) like me.

    October 11, 2008 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  9. Kathleen Cavallo

    I have read your political articles for months now, hoping to gain honest perspective. It saddens me to admit that I now only look out of curiosity. The unbelievable bias is astounding. While I understand that FOX advertises that they are 'fair and balanced' but clearly lean to the right, you are not reporting 'news', either. You are reporting rhetoric, left-wing opinions and possibly opinions of your reporters and 'supporters', stating information as facts,which may not be correct. How do I, the 'regular Joe' find out the real truth? Further, do you want the 'regular Joe' to know the real truth?

    October 11, 2008 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  10. Randall

    Who died and appointed that guy as the one who decides who's christian and who's not?

    Why are we continually exposed to the lowest common denominator of humanity at McCain/Palin rallies? What a disgrace!

    I'm so sick of people and their superstitions, er ... I mean, religions.

    October 11, 2008 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  11. A Hindu

    I CANNOT believe I am reading this on CNN. Are these people for real? Where do these people live and what do they eat? What do they read? Have they ever met and gotten to know a Hindu or a Buddhist? Do they know who we are and what we believe in? Do they know that we are the most peace-loving people on earth? Do they know we have NEVER initiated violence anywhere in the world?

    October 11, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  12. Please make it stop

    This Christian is praying that he does get elected.

    October 11, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  13. Butch Dillon

    Here we go again with christian garbage inserting their beliefs and religious voodoo into politics. Funny though, look who they're praying for, the guy who can't seem to keep his male member out of places it doesn't belong.

    October 11, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  14. Walter, Long Beach

    Hate seems to be the Republican value of the week.

    October 11, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  15. Chad Brock

    This is so infuriating!

    The McCain campaign's statement was pretty weak considering the level of divisiveness that his rhetoric creates. This is not the first time that the campaign has featured prominent speakers at their events, who have questioned Obama's patriotism and religious affiliation.

    At this point, is the McCain campaign even trying to vet their speakers?

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08!!!!!!!!!!

    October 11, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  16. McShame

    Why didn't McCain denounce the statement right then and there? By not saying anything to address religious prejudice at that moment, he condoned what was said. Typical McShame.

    October 11, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  17. Ben

    Its no wonder why people don't believe in God no more because the only Christians you hear from are Racist, Sexist, Fear Mongering Homophobes. If you "type" of people think God is on your side, you're in for one hell of a rude awakening.....

    October 11, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  18. erling

    You actually call that tepid statement from the McCain campaign "distancing"? They're clearly letting this sleazebag "minister" continue to stir up hatred and bigotry against Obama. I don't think there's a low the McCain campaign wouldn't descend to if they thought it would win them votes.

    October 11, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  19. Anne

    There has been no scene in this campaign more ugly that the rabble rousing ignited by Sarah Appalling.

    October 11, 2008 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  20. New Zealand

    I've been following the US presidential race since the primaries with a keen interest, and to see it progress into a state where people are making such narrow minded, cringe inducing comments like that is dissapointing.

    Good luck to which ever candidate ends up being the president, you've got a challenge of uniting a seemingly vastly split country.

    October 11, 2008 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  21. Wayne

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    wow..this McCain/GOP group really has some amazingly..incredibly..moronic

    followers…

    what is this.."my God has a bigger Johnson than yours.." ?

    Arnold Conrad is an idiot…and a pox on the Christian religion…

    October 11, 2008 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  22. God fearing Voter

    Just because I KNOW Obama will be the BETTER leader and that I AM voting for him does not make me any lesser of a christian than someone else. What happened to the REAL christians??? Are they attending the church of "What's Happening!?" The LORD is my shepherd and I SHALL NOT WANT. A real christian prays for guidence, caring, love and the will to do whats right. Seen any of THAT from your brethren lately? :(

    October 11, 2008 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  23. tina

    I will not vote for obama because of his involvement with terrorist that attempted to bomb the White House among other terrorist acts. and he is still invovled with him. What is wrong with American people that would take this so lightly. HE IS NOT GOING TO BE RESPECTED BY THE MILITARY and they do not want him. Who in their right mind would salute this man who wont respect our American flag.

    October 11, 2008 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  24. David C

    This old Jim Crow Racist Rhetoric coming from a White clergy who in times past has used the same coded messages to stoke the fear and hate and division of whites towards any black person they saw. I grew up in the south during the civil rights struggle and blacks caught hell and died from these very same coded words coming from White pastors who at that time believed that blacks did not serve the same Jesus Christ as they did.

    This is no wonder that white fear and hatred of blacks are coming around again, this is the same pattern used against blacks during the civil rights era when blacks were being slaughtered in broad day light and nothing being done about it.

    John McCain and his staff along with the Sr. Pastor and the leadership team at Grace Evangelical Free Church must repudiate this man to no end and renounce him to the black clergy and the country that this is nothing short of Race Bating and hatred towards blacks in this country .

    October 11, 2008 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  25. alpha_nu_916

    SICKENING COMMENTS FROM A "MAN SERVING GOD." IS THIS WHAT THE FOUNDING FATHERS MEANT BY FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL?

    LITTLE CONDEMNATION COMING FROM THE MCINSANE CAMPAIGN. AFTER THEIR ANTICS TODAY REGARDING REP. LEWIS' STATEMENT YOU'D THINK THAT THEY WOULD "REPUDIATE" THIS RACIST, XENOPHOBIC "MINISTER'S" STATEMENTS.

    BARACK/JOE 08'/12'

    October 11, 2008 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
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