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. Collin Kelley

    It seems McCain/Palin's rallies draw nothing but the ignorant, fringe element these days. Is Angry Johnny going to issue a personal statement distancing himself from this looney like he called on Obama to do with John Lewis' statement? The Christian religious right are a scary, divisive bunch of hatemongers who use God as a weapon. We don't need another president pandering to that group. Why aren't they on the terrorist watch list?

    October 11, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  2. Emma

    As a Christian, I can't wait to vote for Obama.

    October 11, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  3. Josh

    As an evangelical Christian, I'm praying to my God that Obama wins.

    Obama / Biden '08

    October 11, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  4. Okon

    Ignaurant white folks are as bad as pain in the butt

    October 11, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  5. susannah

    The pastor sounds like he graduated from the Monty Python Theological College: "Oh Lord, you are so very big..." Which would be hilarious if he wasn't having a jab, in a prayer of all things, at the gods of millions of his fellow Americans. Some of whom might also be Republicans.

    October 11, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  6. greg

    why can't we talk about the issues? does that mean that mccain doesn't have anything to offer except to tear down the personality of this wonderful man(obama)? give me a break! we all know that obama is a christian. i can't imagine a man of God talking like this again at mccain rally. does this means that mccain is also surrounded himself with people like these? hummmm.. anyway mccain and palin doesnt have anything new (that is different from bush policy) to tell us. I know it is difficult to accept a defeat but in this case you just have to accept it.

    October 11, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  7. wilson

    I meant the Lewis comments.

    October 11, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  8. Hari

    I am Hindu republican and I am worried seeing these kind of people at McCain/Palin's rallies.

    October 11, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  9. Eileen from Maine

    I guess the John McCain/Sarah Palin campaign must have a standardized form that they use to distance them selves from peoples remarks (after they have sent the people out knowing full well what they were going to say).
    If not, I would like to know how the two of them think they can lead our country when they don't seem to have any control over their campaign.

    October 11, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  10. Sore Liberal LOSERS in 2008

    What we need to pray for is for the liberal druid sheep to wake up and realize they're about to elect the most liberal politician in American history who will grow government beyond anyone's imagination and raise taxes to the point of killing small business. You want to talk about doing exactly the WRONG thing in an economic downturn such as this, then elect Obama. McCain has called for more regulation, not less, of Fannie and Freddie. Obama was silent when the bailout legislation came forward, and said call me if you need me. What a joke of a leader. McCain is the only one who has shown true leadership and focused, correctly-minded views of what to do in a downturning economy...lower taxes, cut spending, and enact SENSIBLE regulation (NOT no regulation as you liberals have wrongly slandered). Yes indeed, what I pray for is that there are some SMART LIBERALS out there who will actually stop and think about the consequences of their impending actions. Yes, libs, time to ACTUALLY THINK, NOT FEEL. Facts matter and this is a time for facts, not gut liberal emotions about overhyped "chnage" and "hope".

    October 11, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  11. vlr

    I'm praying everyday for an Obama / Biden win!

    October 11, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  12. Michael

    Well, McCain and Palin wanted the support of "Joe-Sixpack" and "Walmart Moms" and it looks like they got it.

    October 11, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  13. Al

    I thought there was a separation of Church and State. They are actually having the chutzpah to ask people to pray to have their healthcare, social security, and medicare taxed, and have more taken from them. Shame on the GOP for this one.

    October 11, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  14. bethi in alaska

    How disqusting.Since when is anyones's religion better than anothers?How characteristically judgemental of these hypocritical evangelists.How disqusting of McCain and Consummate hypocrite Palin to evoke and encourage this garbage.

    October 11, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  15. Devil Fighter

    The Republican party has done nothing but promote hate. Demonizing the opposition is a well worn tactic of the radical right wing of the GOP. These people are just America's version of the Taliban. Not a whit of rationality...just blind religious dogma that isn't remotely recognizible as anything related to the teachings of Christ. The radical right wing of the Republican Party is as frightening as the Nazi party of the mid-30's in Germany. The GOP used to be something that I respected but I just can't find the rational conseratives that used to make some sense. These religious fanatics who are so powerful now in the party are driven by their fear of the 'other'. They are just the fodder that the corpaorate elite need to ferment division in this country so they can continue to bleed it dry as they let their greed run wild.
    It's time to end this insanity and rebuild our country. Let's start with basic civics...Throw out the radical (both left and right) and let the moderates form a middle majority that drives rational governance. Let's honor the consititution and make the selfless sacrifices that will leave a stronger society for our children and re-establish our leadership in the world.

    October 11, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  16. NC Voter

    Can't wait to go to Church tomorrow and uphold my Christians values.

    October 11, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  17. zviivz

    Obama is an Arab and he's going to destroy America when he's the President? That's such a lame joke! I can't believe there are naive Americans who would think that he's an Arab. You call yourself a first world country and yet thinks like a third world.

    By the way, I'm a Christian and I pray that Obama will win in this election. He's the only that can bring about real change to America and that includes the right to healthcare, equality and opportunity of the American dream.

    October 11, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  18. Linda Medina

    And people complained about Reverend Wright. Don't see the difference. A nut case on either side. What ignorance. Not to mention that a divine being would probably cringe at the vindictive evil thoughts being cast about in the name of religion.

    October 11, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  19. Chaz

    That is the most ignorant religious comment I have ever heard.

    October 11, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  20. Joe

    This is why I – a Christian – am no longer a Republican. The GOP has derailed and is now nothing more than a right-wing fanatical religious organization. To support this garbage is not only bad for America, but it encourages division among religious groups. And promotes hatred.
    Lincoln is turning over in his grave.

    October 11, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  21. People 1st ...all people have rights ...stop hating others

    All people are free to vote for candidate of choice...this is evidence of farther divide ...just how do McCain/Palin view them selves reaching across the aisle when they can not look diversity in face. ....I am tired of them spewing their hate message and having all Americans up in arms becasue if anything and I do mean anything happen to Sen Obama, his family or any other minority because of the hate that is being preached at the rallies and the pews will have a backlash no one will imagine. Let us continue to pray for peace and may god protect the Obama's and Biden's as the partake on this journey to become Pres and VP of the USA.

    October 11, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  22. Brett

    This is absurd. This is exactly the kind of religious nutjob that gives normal religious Americans a bad name. I am a reverent United Methodist and I feel that this is EXTREMELY insulting to me as I am voting for Obama because he represents a the only logical choice, and the true example of leadership in this race. McCain is left with zealots, hate-mongers, and other fringe elements at this point and it is just offensive and sad.

    October 11, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  23. reema malik

    These radical christians are pissing me off... I'm muslim... and I was born in the middle east...and I'm gonna vote in this election... Are u scared now?... what r u going to do about it?

    October 11, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  24. Carlos

    At what point in history did the separation of church and state cease to be a guiding principle. It is pecisely the kind of fanaticism demonstrated here that leaves individual like me shaking my head in disbelieving wonderment. I am what is known in Canada as a "Soft C conservative" – fiscally conservative and , socially, just left of centre. I am not a died-in-the-wool Liberal nor a staunch Conservtive. This centerist position situates me at uniquely excellent position to be able to clearly see and understand both ( if not the many) sides of any issue. It seems to me that this is a much more fruiful outlook than being intractably committed to any one side. And it is from my partuicular perch thatI view incidents like the ones articulated in this article and shake my head that such ideas are given any credit at all.

    These ideas are DESIGNED to appeale to the lowest common denominater: us vs them; and, we are better than they are. I find it troubling that these people think, even fleetingly, hat God is choosing sides.

    I am quite confident that God is quite annoyed at being used this way.

    October 11, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  25. Frank, San Diego

    Kind of makes Congressman Lewis' remarks seem rather tame. In fact, they illustrate exactly the point that the Congressman was making.

    Remember, southern white racism and always had a strong Christian identity. And this is the constituency, Wallace Democrats, that Richard Nixon fought so hard to win for the Republican Party. Moreover, they are an important reason why McCain is so far ahead in the states of the old Confederacy.

    So when McCain complains about the Congressman's comments, perhaps the appropriate response is "if the hood fits, wear it."

    October 11, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
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