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. Julie

    The hate and judgment by some people at McCain's rallys are not close to being Christians.

    Palin and McCain encouraging the hate is also not Christian.

    It is a very sad reflection on the US

    October 12, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  2. Dan Lazarus, Gilroy, California

    Hey, if Obama wins, that does that mean everyone elses gods are better than the Christian God?

    Because I'm praying to Zeus, Obama wins.

    October 12, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  3. Steven, Texas

    I am a Christian, a single father that raised three children, a veteran that fought for our country and retired from the military after 26 years. I am voting for Obama. I will vote for him, not based on his religion, race, or even gender; but because he has a good vision and the ability to put it into action.

    Arnold Conrad is fueling fear and is using religion to divide people. He ought to be ashamed of himself. I would not expect this type of action to come from a Christian.

    October 12, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  4. Scott

    The possiblity of McCain losing this election is bringing out the true colors of many of the Republican faithful. I guess the anthem in the GOP nowadays is, "bring me your paranoid, your fearful, your gun-toting Christian fanatics". There's no more room for anyone else. What a joke. These people who claim to be the heart and soul of America sound more like the lunatic fringe. Get a life and learn about the world beyond your own pathetic, narrow-minded communities. You people ARE the minority and your beliefs are NOT the beliefs of the rest of the world. The sooner you pull your heads out of the sand, the sooner the healing will begin.

    October 12, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  5. Deji

    I love this country... LOL

    October 12, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  6. Susan

    Disgraceful, I am Catholic and we were always taught to have respect for other religions by the priests in my parish and the nuns at C.C.D. I hate when I am lumped in with other Christians who only want to be divisive and not do anything to make this world a more peaceful place to live. Jesus taught nothing but tolerance and peace. I can't believe that this guy is "praying" for God to let McCain win so it won't seem that Buddha, Allah and the Hindu gods showed Him up.

    October 12, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  7. Sam Clam

    Wow! The right has become very desperate. This is actually getting really sad. As a Hindu, I actually feel a little insulted.

    October 12, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  8. RM

    McCain started something horrible.
    I still think his comment to that woman that Obama is a decent family man is offensive. He inferences that Arabs are not decent family people, and now reading this article it supports the rhetoric.
    Stop the hate...PLEASE!

    October 12, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  9. Spencer King

    Fundamentalism is dangerous regardless of what religion it takes the form of including Christians. Apparently Mr. Conrad is not aware of either religious history or history in general. The fact is that the Abrahamic tree of religion ( Judaism, Christians and Islam) are responsible for 90% of terrorism and wars fought with either a primary or secondary religious theme. To cite Buddah in the same breath as Muslims would be laughable if it were not so dangerous. This in itself shows the ignorance of this hate monger and is an example in the vein of Bush saying " My god is stronger than your god".

    We know that every terrorist is a fundamentalist, but the larger question is "is every fundamentalist a potential terrorist?"I believe they are be it support,, turning a blind eye or in active participation. A seperation of church and state is a fundamental of these United States. I fear for my country becoming intolerant of anything but Christianity, we are dangerously close. This is the problem with all three branches of Abrahamic religions they preach intolerance and demand conversion. In fact they are the only religions that demand conversion. A Hindu is free to study and embrace multiple ways of life. A follower of the Buddah is tolerant of all living things and lives in harmony with them.

    Clearly there are radical followers of any religion the evangelists are the most intolerent of the Christians and Bush leads by example here. Gov. Palin a Pentacoastal is even to the right of Bush in her archahic beliefs, and thus is dangerous with a 72 year four time cancer survivor. If we look at the word CNN uses in another story RAGE it is defined as a VIOLENT anger. Until we and the rest of the world starts taking religion out of government we are doomed to failure.this includes Christianity just as it does Islam. Religions should be outlawed in all governments and the world would be a better place.

    October 12, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  10. reality

    wow! this is xenophobic and really sad. this is he kind of people that mccain & palin are going to represent? god save the country.

    October 12, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  11. Jeffery

    Do you actually think prayer takes care of hunger under the repub's. this should be the most basic prayer of all don't you think? Blog sent directly to Gov. Palin's website last week:
    Ms. Palin,
    Today i witnessed in McCain's great State of Arizona, children coming back into the kitchen in Nadaburg School District #81 stating that they had given away and/or someone had stolen their meals. I am a cafe worker in this school district in Arizona. I can see the signs of hunger. Thin-graying kids-sheepishly asking for extra portions because their parents are so busy being "scrappers" in junk metal recycling- they dont have the time or means to provide their children with a breakfast or dinner. The schools policy is no extra portions. When Wall St. receives a package to help the ultra top 1% who obtain the finest dining has to offer, i must puke upon your website in the most disgusting manner possible. How did you possibly sit in on the debate and declare children first when your President Elect could have allowed such degredation in the outlying school districts of hunger that he governs?
    An answer must be possible from you.
    Jeffery Lust
    Cafe Worker – Nadaburg School District #81

    October 12, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  12. Patrick, Fairfield, CA

    Well there you go! More of the same inappropriate behavior at a McCain rally – you got it all started, John. Now you can't stop it!

    October 12, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  13. mike

    I guess this minister forgot to mention the millions of Christians all over the world that want to see Obama as president as well. This is hate mongering from a man of the cloth. Well, we are seeing bitter conservatives showing their true colors every day. They see Obama emerging and now they look to denigrate him in any way possible. How Christian of them. These are the biggest hypocrites I have ever seen and they are a disgrace to our country. Oh yeah, they seem like they may be racists too.

    October 12, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  14. victor

    They're all one and the same God!!! Can't you people understand this, that is why we need someone who is respectful of everyone's culture. Not someone who represents people who think that ignorantly. Obama represents what America is, a diverse country. Although he is still Christian, as am I, he understands the importance of separation of church from state. Everyone has their own views and are entitled to it. There is no way to prove anyone wrong or right when it comes to faith, so therefore for all anyone knows everyone is right and wrong.

    October 12, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  15. Jeannie

    For one thing, Hindu is not a god, it's a religion, Buddha is not a god but an enlightened human being, and Allah is just the Arabic word for God, which is supposed to be the same God that Christians and Jews worship too. This is why Christians, Jews, and Muslims are referred to as 'People of the Book'. They all worship the same God.

    When will people learn this and stop being so ignorant?

    October 12, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  16. Michael

    Wow, the audacity of some people. It's almost as if he's threatening God to get involve in this election b/c HIS reputation is at stake. This is totally backwards. . . The closer the election comes to a close, the more bias of ppl is exposed. This is the UNITED STATES, which was founded to allow for the freedom of religion, and to boldly alienate those who have another faith is completely close-minded, arrogant, and unacceptable.

    Pastors and faith leaders should not be involved in politics whatsoever. Politicians are answerable to man, and the ones who vote for them, but pastors and other faith leaders are suppose to answer God, so I question when they are so eager to participate in such a nasty political war...

    Obama 08/12

    October 12, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  17. MoxieGurl

    I think it's interesting that McCain is usually in the "cone of silence" when stuff goes down with his campaign.

    McCain be a man and stop hiding behind preachers and sarah and cindy's skit tales.

    You "MY FRIEND" are stroking the flames of hate and racism.

    October 12, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  18. maurice

    October 12th, 2008 12:10 am ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    the sad thing of this is. even if people dont like her. im sure there will be post saying way to go philly. while you self rightous folks hate on both mcain and obama. other than a few miss guided folks. i have heard more hatred come from the supporters of obama than both campains could even dream to muster. both men have given respect to each other. both have said something about the other as being honorable. both have agreed at some point about certain issues. and yet the majority of americans just want to hate. why perhaps your checkbook doesnt exist anymore. but to lose your cool and be hatefull about either canidate is beyond all i believe.personally i doubt that i will vote for either of them and will probly vote against anyone that is in congress and the senate that i possibly can. i dont hate any of them. it is not mcain and his party or obama and his party that got us into this mess. it was greedy crooks. and some of those greedy crooks are in the senate and congress. both republican and democrat.. go look at all of there voting records there you shall find the truth to what you seek. and it is also joe and jill average american that has over spent what they dont have. and if this post makes you mad then perhaps you are a joe or jill that has done exactly that. we are all guilty of helping the economy go down the tubes. so if you 1 of the many haters that have posted here and are all to willing to point fingers dont forget the three that are already pointing back at you. go look in the mirror and start being responsible for your own actions. and hopefully they have a write in section of the ballet so i can help vote hilliary clinton out of the senate…..and into the oval office. and no folks im not a sore loser when it comes to hilliary. but she is way better for the job than mcain or obama. as a matter of fact i have voted for a republican president since regan. although im not a republican. it has been my choice for the office of president . wake uyp and quit your hating. before you get sent to a corner without supper.

    October 12, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  19. Doree

    These are the mean people that scare me. I'm putting country first and voting for Obama.

    October 12, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  20. Anonymous

    oh please. this is the biggest load of crap ever

    October 12, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  21. go away mongers- Ventura,CA

    This sounds like a prayer at a KKK meeting- and has about as much validity. As a Christian, I'm offended by this rhetoric and downright hatred from so-called "believers".
    They used to lynch people in the name of God in the South. They would wear their white robes and burn their crosses and sing "Onward Christian Soldiers" while doing it.
    America, we're BETTER than that!
    NOT THIS TIME!

    October 12, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  22. nelda

    Obama has shown grace and conducts his campaign with dignity. If you compared Obama and McCain, it would crystal clear that it is Obama who is decent and honest and runs his campaign with honor.
    McCain has lied and continues to lie to the American people, and he doesn't blink twice about it.
    So who's the one who has shown Christian values in the last 20+ months? If you can be honest with yourselves, it is an obvious answer.

    October 12, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  23. Max

    That is scary !!

    October 12, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  24. Robert Jones

    What shameful actions on the part of the Republicans and their friends.

    October 12, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  25. Eric

    CNN, McCain and Palin would be the first ticket in history to have both been charged with unethical actions prior of taking office. But still, Palin's abuse of power is hidden deep in your ticker. Can we please know why?

    October 12, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
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