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. KofTX

    The only thing SADDER than these people thinking this is if (and I don't believe this will happen) John McCain wins based on this ignorance.

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 12, 2008 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  2. Michelle

    Only a fool opens his mouth and remove all doubts!

    October 12, 2008 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  3. Chuck

    Man what a horrible world we will live in if this tax crazy liberal gets into office. Never mind the USA, the WORLD will be impacted by his destructive policies!

    October 12, 2008 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  4. Ronda

    Stupid & disgusting. A minister as a hate monger. Well, if he truly believes in God, he wouldn't have said such things.

    October 12, 2008 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  5. Dave

    McCain has been running away from his own party his entire career. But this is who the Republicans really are. Mid-October is a bit too late to disavow them.

    October 12, 2008 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  6. Mike Marsh

    Goid doesn't care who wins. He laughs/crys at us.

    October 12, 2008 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  7. jonny

    Its no accident the things people are saying at McCain/Palin's rallies, both on the side of the party and its supporters, and the crowd.

    Its quite sad when a whole political party relies on the stupidity, blind faith, and lack of knowledge of their supporters in order to get votes.

    October 12, 2008 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  8. John

    It's high time we consider taxing religious entities. While he wasn't speaking from the pulpit, this GOP proselytizing in houses of worship needs to stop. If religious bodies want to mix themselves with politics, then it's only fair.

    October 12, 2008 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  9. will ny

    the rats are out the bag now... McCain put them back in.

    October 12, 2008 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  10. Obama08

    It shows how the McCain Campaign have started something they cannot defuse. It also explains how American Republicans still believe in racial divide in this country today. Why doesn’t McCain stop beating around the bush and say it, Obama is Black and that’s the real reason you shouldn’t vote for him. Over 44 years ago African Americans could vote for the first time and now the 44th President will be Barack Obama.

    October 12, 2008 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  11. Barbara

    So, are "Christians" the only ones that get to vote? The only ones that deserve freedom? The only ones that matter?
    I am stunned each day at the hate flowing from the GOP ticket. It's astounding.

    October 12, 2008 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  12. JAE

    In this time of negativity coming from the McCain/Palin campaign, they continuously allow people to speak such things from the podium. Let's be realistic right now. We have more important issues at hand. How am I going to be able to get a house, improve my credit, will my brother's job be around in a month, will my school close because of a lack of funding? Not just that, but statements like this pastor made during an invocation is exactly what is pushing people to turn to athiestism, instead of buying into religion. When will it stop? Even with the change of thinking about voting for John McCain, this kills the chance. Maybe McCain will realize the err of his way and change. Well, maybe he should have thought about it before tapping Palin for his VP slot, and hiring the Bush campaign team to run his campaign. It will be a cold day in hell before I vote for John McCain, better yet, "A glacier is forming in hell right now", no pun intended to the Alaska Independence Party.

    October 12, 2008 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  13. sam Sackllah

    I am a christian that believes in one God and I am tired of hearing from religious freaks that their God is better than other Gods, The religious right as they are called are nothing but bigots that are funded by political morons to serve their purpose and the people that are weak minded to believe that they have a special God unto themselves. How many of the so called religious right leaders have been sent to jail from embezelling money to being pedaphile's. They are the most menancing religious zealots on the face of this planet and the most dangerous and where is the separation of church and state and if these morons were so concerned about this country, where were they, when they took the pledge of allegiance out of schools. They are great in funding trips to the Holy Land but what have they done here but press their own agenda of making money and using their influence over their people to vote for what helps their money making machine. There are many ethnic americans in these religious groups they give their money and they believe that they are really praying for salvation but what kind of religion is racist when it comes to important matters.
    Wake up people , start thinking for yourselves and see people for what they are and not what your tainted eyes see.

    October 12, 2008 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  14. Rev. Dr. Francis Sunderaraj

    It is totally absurd on the part of Rev. Conrad to pray for the defeat of Barack Obama. Our God's character and actions do not depend upon John McCain's win or Obama's defeat. Such prayer shows how perverted the thinking of the Republical Evangelicals has become. Rev. Conrad should have prayed, "Soveriegn God, let your will be done in this election.

    October 12, 2008 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  15. Ke Lee

    I don't think Christians need to be asked to vote against someone whose belief is fundamentally different.

    If you find the truth, you will not be swayed. If you portrait yourself as "torlerant" or "open-minded", you are the one wandering.

    October 12, 2008 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  16. SCOUT 3

    Wow!!! Here comes the last ditch efforts to instill fear in voters by using religion. Religion has nothing to do with the issues that has gotten this country in the pot of poo stew its in. Seems as if we can't respect other peoples choice of whom they worship. When it goes against the so called "Christians" and who they worship, then its wrong. NO FEAR!

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 12, 2008 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  17. Florida For Barack!

    Sad. Not surprising, but sad. McCain has lost all control of his campaign and party.

    October 12, 2008 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  18. Vgirl1

    McCain and Palin (with Palin being pleased to do the bulk of the dirty work) continue to surround themselves with the words of hate and those hate mongers spurred on by such words. All non-white, Anglo-Saxon Protestants should feel very afraid! This includes all people of color (red, yellow, brown and black). This includes all Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, followers of Shinto etc.

    White Anglo-Saxon Christians should also be worried. McCain-Palin continue to make White, Anglo-Saxon Christians look bad with every hate mongering word they issue. They tend to present to the world a view of you that is not only racist but Xenophobic. Believe me the world is watching,

    McCain-Palin and their followers are obviously against anyone who is not Christian as well as against Christians like Sen Barack Obama because he is Black.

    Can we really afford to have these bigoted people in the White House? They are calling on the basest of human feelings and character trying to pit one group against another.

    America has been through these hateful days in the past. We do not need them in the 21st Century when the US is becoming more diverse and indeed the majority of the world is non-white. We must work together or we will perish together.

    The world will not believe us to be harbingers and bearers of democracy if we are not able to prove we can get over the issue of skin color. or fear of foreigners. We will continue to lose more and more of our stature around the world if the diverse world sees that we cannot walk the walk in our own country. Why should they trust us to be their ally when we cannot even be allies with others like them who are citizens in our own country?

    Americans we ARE better than what McCain-Palin call us out to be!

    October 12, 2008 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  19. B. Burnett

    More evidence that we need to guard separation of church and state for the protection of both. Many 16th century minds are still with us, some malpracticing in the ministry or priesthood.

    If millions of non-Christians around the world (as well as millions of Christians) are praying for an Obama win, it is likely their concerns relate to our last 7 years of dangerous bonehead foreign policy, and the prospect that McCain would continue most of it. They are not misguided enough to think Obama is not a Christian; only willfully ignorant Americans choose to think that.

    Whether Obama wins or not, Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists are still going to think their God is the greatest anyway. That is why they are Hindus, Muslims, or Buddhists in the first place.

    October 12, 2008 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  20. Ben

    These Pharasees make me sick! I am a christian, the practicing kind, and I can tell all of you out there, this man does not speak for me or for my kind. What he is basically doing is holding God to ransom, and that is insane! The last time I checked he is our Lord and we are his servants, not the other way round. I have news for all the hate-filled "Christians" out there, God loves everybody even the Moslems and we are called to change the world through love not hate!

    October 12, 2008 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  21. stuart sharp

    Had a comment pending for about 3 hours now. Gotta love CNN. Yet again, I am a born again Christian, and I am 100 per cent behind Senator Obama. I promise, it is ok to be a Christian and support him. Please do not let the evangelacals force you to vote for Senator McCain. Follow your heart, even McCain says that Senator Obama is a good and decent man.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 12, 2008 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  22. Mary Deal

    It is time for McCain to put a stop to all this hate,racisim, and fear. Many citizens are woefully uninformed and will believe any rumor or anything they hear at a rally, I am a 65 year old southern female and never have I heard nor seen the amount of hate and fear mongering that is coming from the McCain /Palin camp, During thiscritical time in our history we need leaders that will put themselves last and work to bring our country together. Instead McCain /Palin are playing on the fears and prejudices of people, This is certainly not putting the good of the country and its citizens first. Bush was a nightmare as president McCain/Palin will be a horror show McCain is acting like a sniveling little ole man that is afraid to say anything because he might make somebody mad Wher is his backbone Please McCain Stop this hatred you have let loose I truly fear for our country Go Obama /Biden

    October 12, 2008 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  23. Juan Gonzalez

    "“There are millions of people around this world praying to their god—whether it’s Hindu, Buddha, Allah"

    That is correct. This "minister" has to realize that his mythical imaginary friend isn't the only one that is invoked and revered by people in this planet.

    October 12, 2008 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  24. DEV KARAN

    if some how Obama were to win..it will tell the rest of the Christan world that Christ is weaker then other Gods.....
    Christans should distance them from y=this person in an alrming way and pray for America. We as a nation are at a point where hunger and poverty and homelesssness will become a plegue !!!!
    God Bless America ....no matter what faith !!!!

    October 12, 2008 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  25. Kathy

    What kind of Isolationism is this teaching outrchildren !!!! What a stupid man this pastor teaching intolerance is UNCHRISTIAN and he should teach the word of God without such bias. We are all under the same God and all his children be us Muslim, Jew, Christian, Hindu, Buddist. He is preaching HATE which is why our country is at war. Sign me the United Methodist ministers Wife former Air Force vet and military brat for Obama/Biden 08

    October 12, 2008 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79