October 1st, 2007
08:15 PM ET
15 years ago

Controversy over McCain's Christian comments

Sen. John McCain gave a controversial interview recently to the Web site http://www.beliefnet.com.

(CNN) – Was the United States founded as a Christian nation?  Watch Mary Snow's report about the stir caused by Sen. John McCain's comments on the religious roots of the country.

Related: Groups criticize McCain for calling U.S. 'Christian nation'

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    Not much left to say on this one,the facts don't sit well with the "speak american" crowd. With blind faith in their bigotted leaders comes an extraordinary stubborness against listening to reason.

    October 1, 2007 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  2. Greg, Phoenix, AZ

    Now we have 2 pieces on the ticker about this non-story.

    STILL nothing on CNN about the positive reports emanating from Iraq offering further conclusive evidence that the surge is working.

    Top story is currently about Blackwater. See how many non-liberal Americans really give a damn about Blackwater.

    Today's reporting by CNN proves that it is not interested in what is best for America. CNN has an agenda to destroy the Bush administration (and the Republican party along with it) and doesn't care if the American people go right down the drain with them.


    October 1, 2007 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  3. R. Weber, Los Angeles, CA

    Why is it a taboo in journalism to ask someone of religious faith to clarify what he means by saying our values are religiously based? The Bible on my shelf condones slavery, rape, mass murder, invasion, theft, and any other number of heinous crimes, all in God's name. I see very little in the book that suggests it informed significantly the U.S. Constitution. The next time someone pulls a McCain and makes a claim like this, the logical next question is, "Have you actually read the Bible, sir?"

    October 1, 2007 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  4. John Adkisson, Sacramento, California

    I guess McCain's buddy Joe Lieberman would not qualify as President under his Christian Nation dream. I truly think he is going over the edge. Unfortunately for the Republicans, he may be the best of that bunch.

    October 1, 2007 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  5. Mike, Essex Junction, VT

    We are a Christian nation, but we must not forget that our ancestors came to America in search of freedom, including religious freedom. That's why the first amendment separates the government from the Church, because when you favor one religion, you demean another.

    So, while our country is socially very Christian, our government must not be. I understand Mr. McCain's desire to have a Christian president; Christianity plays a large role in Americans' lives and it is helpful for a president to share in that culture. But it is not, and must not, be a requirement for election to the presidency. A president can be a man or woman of any faith, or of no faith at all, as long as he or she is otherwise perfectly qualified.

    October 1, 2007 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  6. Christian, Tampa FL

    America is a secular nation. There is separation of church and state, and that is how it must remain.

    As a Christian, I would be horrified if this were a theocracy. I'm quite content to practice my faith independent of the government and to let everyone else practice theirs.

    The Constitution makes it extremely clear that our government is a secular one, and that religion will play no part in the official policies of the nation. It is the same in every other functioning democracy on the planet.

    That being said, there's no reason to forget the role that Christianity plays in our history, culture, literature, and philosophies. It is an integral part of our heritage, but it has no part to play in the State.

    October 1, 2007 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  7. Dr. Ratstar Lebanon Oregon

    Religion is the scourge of mankind. We will come out of the dark ages of ignorance and superstition when we finally relegate religion to the fiction aisle in the library. Our forefathers wanted to escape the tyranny of the Church of England when they formed our Constitution. Spirituality is a matter of the heart, not government. Religion is no guarantee of morality. It is a direct barometer of gullibility. I will gladly offer you everlasting salvation in the afterlife for a hamburger today. Support Separation of Church and State. Tax all property the same without special give-a-ways for religion. Mother Nature is the one true Creator and Creation, and the United States is a pagan nation whose people worship many different gods, even among the Christians. Throw the preacher out of the counting house. Politicians and preachers make for queer bedfellows.

    October 1, 2007 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  8. Lee, Mays Landing NJ

    This is a much bigger story than that move-on nonsense about an ad.
    Move on was not running for president, but McCain is.
    Therefore I'm wondering why this story is being under-reported. We need to dwell on this for the rest of the week, at least.
    And why have the stories about Senator Craig, who wants to take back his guilty plea, take back his resignation that was supposed to happen yesterday, and take back his homosexual toilet urges in light of his republican hypocricy?
    Did CNN fold just because a mess of loud republicans were crying and whining here when that story first broke? Naturally they were interested in Clintons consensual heterosexual fling, hell they were willing to bring the country to a standstill over it, but wish to impose a news blackout over republican Senators Vitter, Craig and the boy-lover republican congressman Foley.

    October 1, 2007 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  9. Ivan, Chicago, Illinois


    October 2, 2007 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  10. john michael, los angeles, california

    If the usa was founded as a Christian nation, why isn't the word 'JESUS' in the Constitution?

    October 2, 2007 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  11. Steve

    Greg says:
    "Top story is currently about Blackwater. See how many non-liberal Americans really give a damn about Blackwater."

    Blackwater has yet to be tried. However, early indications are, this group of free-lance "security" forces were involved in up to 500 shootings.

    If only liberals are concerned at the deaths of innocent civilians, then maybe the entire christian right is the biblically foretold antiChrist.

    October 2, 2007 05:19 am at 5:19 am |
  12. Steven Stewart, Portland, Oregon

    Ha! This entertains me so... We are a secular nation indeed, but one must look at their texts of worship and see they contradict themselves often. I do not decry religion but I dont ignore history and fact either. Sometimes I wonder why people speak when they have nothing to back themselves up. I am sorry the Bible is not a document of literal history, contray to our populations growing belief, nor is any other religious text.

    October 2, 2007 05:45 am at 5:45 am |
  13. Jim, Topeka, Kansas

    You would really think by this time McCain would have figured it out that everytime he opens his mouth and starts talking religion he loses ground and ends up in trouble. You know at one time I liked McCain, then for some reason he regressed and began to think that he needed the right wing christain conservatives of the Republican party. It's a shame, or maybe just age starting to show it's self.

    Yes, we are a secular state and the very fact that certain political movements think religion belongs in politics is very scary and a threat to our very foundations.

    October 2, 2007 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
  14. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    CNN is doing it's best to be fair to both sides. It's not their fault that the republicans' agenda is intellectually indefensible. All of the hate filled anti-liberal "this is my country" seperatist looneys that are allowed to post here clearly indicate the imbalance. At some point,the right-wingers will no longer have a voice because their inability to use reason will so obvious,no one will take them seriously. "Conservative" has become a polite word for mentally ill.

    October 2, 2007 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  15. AJ; Montpelier, VT

    Are we ever going to be free of this religious mumbo-jumbo in our Government? Is it so impossible for Christians to realize that they do not have the right to shove their beliefs down the throats of others?

    October 2, 2007 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  16. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    AJ- it's a biological thing,look up Prof. Amodio's study at NYU. There have been several others in the past nine years that confirm a serious mental disability in the fanatical mind. It's not hereditary,fortunately.

    October 2, 2007 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  17. McCainisRight

    Please review history.

    Or as Rehnquist said pointing up at the marble carvings in the Justice Hall... "Are we to chisel out the very foundations of our laws?"

    This IS what the religious hatemongers(ACLU) want..

    October 2, 2007 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  18. Thomas, St. Petersburg, FL

    While I respect Senator McCain's service to our country (particularly his military service), he is not my top choice for the Republican nomination for the 2008 presidential election.

    Nevertheless, Senator McCain most likely misspoke, and intended to say something like "America was founded on Judeo-Christina values". Although liberals and organizations such as the ACLU would have you believe otherwise, this is an absolute fact.

    Read ANYTHING by ANY of our Founding Fathers (i.e., George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, or John Adams, to name just a few) and you will notice they repeatedly refer to "Our heavenly Father", "Our Creator", and "Our Maker". These men were Christians, not Muslims, Buddhists, nor atheists. To claim otherwise is absurd and completely false. George Washington, our first president, began the custom of taking the presidential inauguration by placing his hand on the BIBLE, not the Koran.

    The Founding Fathers did not want the U.S. Government to have any official religion.

    However, Freedom of Religion did NOT mean Freedom FROM Religion.

    October 2, 2007 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  19. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    We now know from the chief justice's medical records that he was a drug addict just like Rush. And the ACLU (of which I'm a card carrying member) has helped people like Bob Barr and Jerry Falwell.Hardly religion haters.

    October 2, 2007 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  20. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    Freedom of religion does indeed mean freedom from religion and the founding fathers made it clear as this country was founded by people fleeing religious persecution. This ridiculous assertion that this is a christian nation is a blatant theocratic move. Pure bigotry,as most americans of any intellect can see. The bible not the koran? Please don't vote if you believe in the destruction of our secular nation.

    October 2, 2007 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  21. Kathy, Naperville, IL

    In response to:

    "Posted By john michael, los angeles, california : October 2, 2007 1:39 am

    If the usa was founded as a Christian nation, why isn't the word 'JESUS' in the Constitution?"

    In the words of Thomas Jefferson from his autobiography in 1821:

    "[When] the [Virginia] bill for establishing religious freedom... was finally passed,... a singular proposition proved that its protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word "Jesus Christ," so that it should read "a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion." The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend within the mantle of its protection the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo and infidel of every denomination."

    McCain stated in this interview:

    "I just have to say in all candor that since this nation was founded primarily on Christian principles, personally, I prefer someone who has a grounding in my faith,"

    In 1797 Thomas Jefferson stated to James Sullivan:

    "[Our] principles [are] founded on the immovable basis of equal right and reason."

    In the words of Benjamin Franklin from his autobiography:

    "Some books against Deism fell into my hands. . . It happened that they wrought an effect on my quite contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the Deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a through Deist."

    In 1795 Thomas Payne wrote "The Age of Reason" in which he expresses these sentiments regarding religion:

    "I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my church. "


    "Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is no more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifiying to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory to itself than this thing called Christianity. "

    In May of 1789 stated to the United Baptist Churches that every man

    "ought to be protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience."

    Note his use of the term Deity, not Jesus or Christ

    Although George Washington was known to attend chuch services regularly with his wife, when questioned regarding his religious belief's the rector for the church he attented, Reverend Doctor James Abercrombie, stated "Sir, Washington was a Deist."

    Deists do believe in a supreme being, a God of nature or Nature's God. They do not beieve in the trinity and they reject the idea that the bible is in inerrant word of God.

    Belief in Jesus Christ and acceptance of him as God, belief in the holy trinity, and belief in the inerrancy of the bible are core requirements to the Christian belief system.

    Based on the examples I have presented here regarding the beliefs of our forefathers, the statement that "this nation was founded primarily on Christian principles" has no solid basis in fact.

    October 2, 2007 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  22. Kathy, Naperville, IL

    Addendum to my post.

    There was a typographical (of sorts) error in my previous post

    In May of 1789 stated to the United Baptist Churches that every man

    "ought to be protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience."

    Should have read:

    In May of 1789 George Washington stated to the United Baptist Churches that every man

    "ought to be protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience."


    People tend to attribute terms refering to a supreme being, such as God, Almighty God, and so forth as exclusive to Christianity. Using that as a reference point, they then point to the use of these terms in the Declaration of Independance "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" as definitive proof that our country was founded on Christian beliefs.

    As mentioned previously deists refer to the supreme being they believe in as the God of Nature. Throughout history humans have revered various supreme beings refered to as "God's", the ancient Egyptians had a number of them, the ancient people of South America sacrificed humans to appease them, pagans and druids paid reverence to them.

    The use of the term God as such is not proof of a Christian belief.

    October 2, 2007 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  23. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    So freedom of movement is not freedom from movement? You can never stop moving? That's a pretty clear indication of defective logic. Sorry,but I can't stand hearing that idiocy any longer.

    October 2, 2007 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  24. Gary Boston USA

    "We are a Christian nation....our ancestors came to America in search of freedom, including religious freedom."

    You probably also still believe that Columbus discovered the Americas... as is also taught in public schools. Wrong.

    The US education system in action, as history is told from a rather narrow perspective in all its limited patrio-tastic glory. Put straight, settlers fled to the new world to flee religious persecution by the insane Roman Catholic/Christian zealots in Europe. Remember the culmination of the Inquisition? Remember the so-called dark ages where science and knowledge were blotted out by religious fervor? Try reading the writings, the personal notes of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and George Washington. Not the stuff spewed by propogandist patrio-literature, but the true historical record. Surely you will find that Jefferson, for example, called "Christianity the worst scourge that has shone upon mankind." Christian fundamentals indeed. Words from the very author of the Declaration of Independence.

    Though be aware.. what the man did in government, and what the man thought (on the topic of religion) are on two different levels. Lest we forget outwardly claiming his opinions surrounding religious lunacy is tantamount to political suicide. It is so today. That is why even the most secular of officials pander to the imaginary friend of the mentally insecure majority. It isn't pure deception. It is logical.

    October 2, 2007 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  25. Sherry Maine

    I'd like to know why. They have no problem consuming the lies the DEMOCRATS are telling about people.

    October 3, 2007 09:02 am at 9:02 am |