December 16th, 2007
06:14 AM ET
13 years ago

McCain is asked: Is Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior?

McCain said his faith "is something between me and God."

GREER, South Carolina (CNN) - John McCain rarely speaks about his faith on the campaign trail.

So when an audience member here asked the Arizona senator on Saturday if he had "accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior," most of the voters gathered at Pete's Drive-In straightened up in their booths to pay attention.

"I am a man of faith," McCain quickly responded. "I have deep religious beliefs and values. I had experiences in my life where I had to rely on God not to get me through another day or another hour, but another minute."

McCain said he was proud to be "motivated by Judeo-Christian values" in his private and public life.

The same man asked McCain to clarify if that meant he had indeed welcomed Christ into his life.

"Sir, I attend North Phoenix Baptist Church which is my church of choice, and I also believe that talking too much about one's faith and religion in my view is something between me and God," said McCain, to audience applause.

- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: John McCain • South Carolina
soundoff (153 Responses)
  1. Dale Davis, Glendora, California

    Senator McCain. Your sounding very intellegent and Romney-like!!! Good answer. Kudos to Mitt. Kudos to John.

    December 15, 2007 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  2. Joseph, St. Louis, MO

    Either you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior or you have not. McCain's answer side stepped the question.

    Jesus says we have to acknowledge publicly that we have accepted Him and the answer McCain gave does not.

    Just because he "attends" a Baptist Church does not mean he has a personal relationship with Christ.

    December 16, 2007 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  3. Jose Card

    Faith is between you and God. What you say publicly doesn't mean what you think privately. Senator McCain does not impose his faith onto others out of respect. Some people just have no idea how to respect others.

    December 16, 2007 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  4. Steve, Lyons, CO

    The most intelligent thing McCain has said recently.

    December 16, 2007 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  5. Anonymous

    To Joseph:

    And if he says that he accepts Christ, that solves it then. It means he truly believes... yea, right...

    Just because someone says they have accepted christ does not mean anything, they could be liars...

    That's why he has refused to answer the question in a straightforward way...

    Too many people have said that christ is their savior and are complete hoaxes (ie: priest rape scandals)

    Get a clue.

    December 16, 2007 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  6. Reality Check

    McCain didn't directly answer the question, but he gave all the right indications.

    Yes, he goes to church and has faith (one would assume that if he bothered to attend church that he does accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior). He also so keenly points out that his religious persuasion isn't a key point in his campaign. I wish all Americans felt the same way. To each their own faith, but since when did we start picking presidents by what church he (or she) attends?

    December 16, 2007 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  7. V. Novosad, Sugar Land, TX

    The Bible also admonishes the followers of Jesus Christ to let their light so shine that the world would know their true faith. I can't imagine a light brighter for one who faithfully attends a Bible-based church. Further, the Book of Matthew, beginning with Chapter Six, speaks of how a person should conduct oneself by not flaunting his relationship with Jesus Christ as the Pharisees did. This is good reading for many reasons, and Senator McCain is to be admired for his stance on his faith.

    December 16, 2007 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  8. Steven in Charleston, SC

    Why doesn't anyone ever ask political candidates if they have pledged their allegience to Zeus? Or Zarthon, the Galactic Czar? Or perhaps the Great Turtle King? Because there is EXACTLY the same amount of objective proof that these "beings" rule the universe as there is that the world was created by the Jedeo-Christian version of "god."

    Now, don't get me wrong, I have the greatest respect for people of faith. What I find frustrating is that people of faith rarely offer much respect in return. I am SO TIRED of the "faithanistas" demanding that everyone sign on to their particular world view, and refusing to acknowledge that faith is just another way of saying "belief" and that without any objective proof of the validity of their position, it only makes sense to have a little humility, and to be open to the possibility that someone else's views could be every bit as valid.

    December 16, 2007 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  9. BBB Savannah

    I would take that as a "no."

    December 16, 2007 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  10. Scott, SLC, UT

    Why didn't he just say 'yes'? Why does he have to explain himself the long way around...

    December 16, 2007 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  11. Roumen , Los Angeles ,CA

    What kind a question is that anyway? Is McCain is running for a political office not a clerical one.His and any other candidates religious beliefs or lack thereof should be their own business.

    December 16, 2007 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  12. lou,santa fe,nm


    December 16, 2007 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  13. Pidro, New York, NY

    Good answer Mr.McCain! As mentioned by an earlier comment, "PERSONAL relationship with Christ".

    December 16, 2007 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  14. Bruce, Bristow, Virginia

    Religion is wonderful. Religious fanaticism is not, and belongs back in the middle ages. I respect a person's right not to elaborate about their relationship with God. I've always felt that this was a personal matter.

    December 16, 2007 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  15. Chris

    "No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." -The United States Constitution.

    December 16, 2007 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  16. Daniel, Fontana California

    A very generic answer, I can't be the judge whether hes a real believer or not, but with this democrat type of answer(IE, means basically nothing), and with him previously saying publicly he accepts the evolution theory it is most skeptical.

    December 16, 2007 02:09 am at 2:09 am |
  17. MO, San Jose, ca

    Steve from SC,
    I agree. I don't know why people kept asking candidates about their faith. I'm sick of that. I'm not religious, and I WANT the president to run the government with the concept of separation of church and state. I mean a president could be very religious, but keep that to his private life. Come on how come no one ask the candidates if they believed Buddha or Brahma are the saviors too since there are some Asians in this country too.

    December 16, 2007 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  18. Nathaniel R.D. Mounce

    First off, to Roumen, I believe that a presidential candidates faith and belief is everyone's business. Because while it should not be the sole issue, their religion is an issue. People want to know about it. And regardless of what some say, it does affect how they act as President.

    Now on the story: Is it just me, or is McCain completely avoiding answering this. I find it extremely fishy to see an answer like this. Especially when he was asked to confirm and still didn't answer. Not only does this bother me because I am disturbed that he does not want us to know about that area of his life, it also turns me off to him altogether. Simply because I hate politicians who do not answer the question!

    Nathaniel R.D. Mounce

    December 16, 2007 02:17 am at 2:17 am |

    KUDOS to McCain! He nailed them skeptics.

    KUDOS to Dale Davis, Glendora, California, for using my KUDOS tag!

    December 16, 2007 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  20. Damon

    Morons. Good Lord.

    December 16, 2007 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  21. Z. St. Louis, MO.

    We don't need a leader that believes
    in fairy tales..If you want a religious motivated state system, you take a look Iran,Saudi Arabia, etc.. All the places that are pointed out as repressive and insulated. And they all have the same factors that the
    religious right kooks in this country
    would like to impose.They want people
    that believe in THEIR interpretation
    of THEIR religious text ONLY in power.
    They use a literal interpretation
    of their religious text.They want
    all the laws and punishments used
    based on their religious texts and
    the list goes on... Whats the real
    difference between what Pat Robertson
    or Huckabee or the clown that asked McCain the question want and what the Saudi Royals, the Iranian religous council or the Taliban want? I don't see any diffferences other than
    which fairy story they believe in..

    December 16, 2007 03:15 am at 3:15 am |
  22. Shirley, Pittsboro, NC

    There are some serious religious wackos in this party. First Romney and now poor McCain. Quit wearing your religion on your sleeve people and just give it a break. If you want to see how the man will vote, look at his record – PERIOD!

    December 16, 2007 03:19 am at 3:19 am |
  23. Nathaniel R.D. Mounce

    I am a religious person. And I do care about the candidates religions. If McCain had not been asked this question, would I have gone digging for an answer? No. But since he was..I'd like to know the answer.

    People have been interested in the religion of the candidates since the birth of this country. Seperation of Church and State is great. So is the fact that the Constitution says that "no religious test shall ever be recquired" as one commenter stated. However, the main thing about the election is's just that. An election. By the public. It's there choice. And obviously, the choice of each many individuals will be affected in some way by their religion or that of the candidate. If two candidates were pitted against each other, both sharing exactly the same values, beliefs on the issues, etc. but one was a Christian and the other an atheist..chances are the Christian would get it. Because it DOES play a role in elections.

    And there is nothing wrong with that. At all.
    So long as the voters look at all the other issues as well. As long as they don't become blinded by religion, then it's perfectly acceptable to be influenced by it.

    December 16, 2007 03:29 am at 3:29 am |
  24. Kristy Sanborn, Buckhorn, Mo.

    I think McCain did answer the question. "I am a man of faith", if that doesn't answer it, then what does?
    Only to ad he has "deep religious beliefs and values"
    and if that didn't explain to the one asking the question, then McCain's last words should have "I had experiences in my life where I had to rely on GOD not to get me through another day or another hour, but another minute."
    Its not possible to rely on God to get you through another minute, and not have Christ as your Lord and Savior.
    What part of his words does anyone not understand?
    And I think he is right, its between him and God.
    Mr. McCain doesn't budge from his beliefs, even in the face of oppostition, he stands behind what he believes, being absolutley consistant. I think he gets his strength from God. Something some just don't understand.

    December 16, 2007 04:16 am at 4:16 am |
  25. Jonathan

    Westboro Baptist Church LOVES and hearts Huckabee!

    December 16, 2007 04:17 am at 4:17 am |
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