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. David, Roseburg OR

    How sad that some cannot see that religion and government are not one and the same. Does one have to open their soul to you Christians just to get elected. I am not voting for this man, but good grief how do you think he got through each second of every minute, every hour and every day being a prisoner of war? Do you honestly think each second took him further away from his religion, is that what you do when met with adversity? The man has been through hell on earth and back and you have the gall to ask him of his faith. Could any of you go through what he has been through and still stand up for America and fight the good fight, and yes, I am a democrat and ashamed of any republican that would question his religion. He has my total respect no matter what!

    December 16, 2007 04:49 am at 4:49 am |
  2. steve nichols, pigeon forge, tn

    You can attend a church 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, till the day you die and without Jesus being your Lord, Master & Saviour you WILL go to hell, and then spend eternity in an eternal lake of fire. FIND me a CHRISTian that KNOWS this (There's a difference between believing and KNOWING...the devils believe and TREMBLE!), that will NOT use such an opportunity as stated above to share Christ Jesus as the ONLY Saviour? WHERE one attends a Church house built with mans hands, has NOTHING to do with ones salvation, Jesus IS the ONLY way.

    December 16, 2007 05:19 am at 5:19 am |
  3. Kyle, NY, NY

    Um, who cares? How does accepting Jesus Christ as his Lord and savior have anything to do with his ability to lead the United States? How does that have anything to do with his ability to solve our mounting debt crisis or manage our foreign policy? Presumedly, somebody will answer that we are a Christian nation or that Christian values are important, but if the values themselves are there, why does it matter how they got there? Bush has accepted Jesus Christ and he is a horrendous leader. Huckabee is a minister and I wouldnt trust him to lead me out of a corn maze. Stop putting so much emphasis on faith America, and start paying attention to the the most important issues, not abortion or gay marriage, but our devaluing dollar, or debt, and our money sucking foreign policy.

    December 16, 2007 05:43 am at 5:43 am |
  4. Dale, Los Angeles California

    Well at leats he admits he goes to church. Rest assured Christians are being blamed for every societal problem in the world. The days of Christians being hunted down again are going to be at hand soon enough. This may be the last opportunity we have to vote in a president who claims at least to be a Christian

    December 16, 2007 05:59 am at 5:59 am |
  5. mark wilkes barre pa

    Terrific answer senater McCain,, quick to the point and done. From here on ,It should be no ones buissness What your religeous beliefs are. Way to go Man !!!

    December 16, 2007 06:08 am at 6:08 am |
  6. hey allons,tn

    hey but look where a man of faith has taken america to

    December 16, 2007 06:15 am at 6:15 am |
  7. Jane, Asheville, NC

    I personally think that there's been too much talk about religion in this campaign! It's starting to sound like some people want to elect a president to a theocracy. People who truly want a theocracy should go examine places where they do, indeed, exist::::: IRAN, Saudi Arabia, etc. We are a country of ALL faiths, beliefs – NOT just the Christian faith. I don't want a "Christian President" – – I want a President of the United States of America ....who might happen to be a Christian ....or not.

    December 16, 2007 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  8. mark wilkes barre pa

    Joeseph st louis MO,,,,,,he just told you,,,He has DEEP RELIGEOUS BELIEFS AND VALUES, He's had experiences in his life where he had to RELY ON GOD not just to get him through another day or hour, but another minute !!!!!!! If you can't get a grip of those words no one can possibly satisfy you,,,, If that is not accepting and acknowledging christ in your life, I don't know what is. Guess you will have to vote for one of those other candidates

    December 16, 2007 06:20 am at 6:20 am |
  9. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    I am so weary of these so-called, holier than thou – have you accepted Christ as your Savior – you must believe the same way I do narrow-minded, one-issue, one note Nellys!

    Does it ever dawn on you that there is so much to be done nationally and internationally that it DOES NOT MATTER who believes and how!

    The country is going to he77 in a handbasket – you need intelligence, experience, vision and so many other things that are more important than being an evangelical Christian Conservative ... this group is getting creepier at each posting.

    as for "Just because he "attends" a Baptist Church does not mean he has a personal relationship with Christ. Posted By Joseph, St. Louis, MO "
    I don't care!!!! Bush has a personal relationship and look at the damage he's done!!!

    Let God sort it out when we all get to Heaven.

    December 16, 2007 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  10. mark wilkes barre PA

    Shirley pittsboro NC,,,, Please re-read the title of this story an think about what you just wrote

    December 16, 2007 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  11. BigAtheist

    It is amazing to me that these self professed Christians are still clinging to the ancient belief that a man who was crucified over 2000 years ago is going to return to the earth from the heavens and save them from their sin. Do these same people believe in leprechauns, the easter bunny and the tooth fairy? I live in Greer, SC and this stuff is rampant around here. I lived in CA for over 30 years and nobody ever asked me to attend their church or if I was a Christian. In Greer, you can't even go to the grocery store without someone making a reference to Jesus, their church or asking you where you go to church. Morons!

    December 16, 2007 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  12. roger, conway sc

    UNREAL...the right wing conservatives are something else they are extremests in my opinion...I just wonder if the man asking McCain about his faith lives a perfect life (as most portray) McCain handled the question very well, why do the extremest have to always bring God into the picture...there is nothing wrong with faith or God but there is something wrong when it is used as the extremest of the right wing of the GOP use it to try & get someone to spit out there fundamental extremests views like they do in the middle someone who lives in SC I know very well how alot of the neo-conservatives live their lives & it not always what they portray.

    December 16, 2007 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  13. Linda Idyllwild CA

    Separation of church and state. It's in the Constitution. It's none of our business what anyone else's relationship is with their Higher Power.

    We are NOT a theocracy. We are a DEMOCRACY.

    December 16, 2007 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  14. John Laub, Walkersville MD

    Why not just hold an international election to determine what the name of God is? I wonder if there are enough Christians in this world today to win it. "I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians." -Ghandi

    December 16, 2007 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  15. Jerry, Raleigh NC

    Sorry John McCain – while I respect your service to this country, your answer here is definitely not good enough. Either Jesus is your Lord and Savior or He is not.

    Many in the U.S. have been hoodwinked into believing faith is "private". Jesus says, "if you deny me publicly, I will deny you on judgment day"

    Jesus said He was the ONLY way to Heaven. Jesus said, "narrow is the way which leadeth unto life". Sounds kind of narrow-minded" to me.

    I want a President who will take us to the values that founded this country and made it the greatest country on earth. Not one who will pander to the pollsters and the Hollywood left.

    My choice is Mike Huckabee. If you believe all the biased and "twisted" media attacks lately, I invite you to go to Mike's site and dig up the truth. The truth will set you free. God Bless.

    PS – to those brainwashed by the media I do sound fanatical. The people who signed our Declaration of Independence would have sounded EXTREMELY fanatical. Hopefully you will be enlightened.

    December 16, 2007 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  16. ANDROLOMA, Commerce City, Colorado

    The "christ" thing is a Greek name for a Judaic concept of messiah. The concept of sin means nothing to an atheist. To all the posters who do believe in a book written by livestock sacrificing primitives, read some Bart Ehrman. Stop being dupes. Jesus is a false god.

    December 16, 2007 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  17. Terry, El Paso, TX

    "Either you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior or you have not." – Joseph, St. Louis

    A shallow comment, Joseph. I know a lot of people who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and saviour. None of them agree on anything: the Bible, politics, social issues, abortion, anything. It doesn't mean anything. What about Catholics? They are never asked to accept Jesus as "Lord and Saviour." What about me? I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, and after a few years I realized that it was essentially a meaningless action.

    Evangelical Christianity has only existed for a few decades. Evangelicals may imagine that theirs is a 2000 year old philosophy, but that is only because they don't read much. For them to arrogantly impose their silly test on our candidates is lucricrous.

    Besides, if you want to know whether a person is a true Christian or not, the last few verses of Mark (chap 16, verses 16-18) provide the indisputable acid test of Christianity: "These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe:
    1. They will cast out demons in my name

    2. They will speak in new languages

    3. They will be able to handle [poisonous] snakes with safety

    4. Of they drink poison, it won’t hurt them

    5. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed."
    (I added the numbers for clarity. They are not verses.)
    So, instead of asking a meaninless question (politicians lie about everything else), just give him poison or let a rattlesnake bite him. If he does not even get a little sick, then he is a true Christian. Or, ask him to cast the demon out of an autistic child; that should be proof enough for everyone, when the child starts dancing from joy and starts speaking to his parents. Or ask him to heal someone with pancreatic cancer; a test which would certainly convince me.

    The arrogance of most evangelical Christians has become so annoying that it is difficult to continue to humor them.

    December 16, 2007 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  18. ANDROLOMA, Commerce City, Colorado

    ...and furthermore, when did "sheol" become "hell"? Christians screwed up the already screwed up Jewish religion. It's a sad comment on human nature that people are still stupid enough to believe these lies.

    December 16, 2007 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  19. sal lincoln nebraska

    Why does religon come up all the time, why does it matter. Every religon is based on the exact same principles with the exact same stories...For the record the founding fathers wernt christians they where masons, america isnt a christan nation..Go to europe if you want to find a christian nation because this isnt one...

    December 16, 2007 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  20. Shania, Redwood, CA

    To the Big Atheist: go play with yourself, nitwit!

    December 16, 2007 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  21. Chris, Middletown, CT

    I agree with Joseph – he side-stepped the question. I think in Washington (after you have been there for a couple years...thats considered an answer – but we have this other part we call the United States where thats a non answer – pretty much like every answer from Hillary)

    December 16, 2007 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  22. Mrs. America

    The religion thing in this campaign is getting way out of hand. If having a religious zealot in the WH for the past nearly 7 years (although personally I think he's a fake) and seeing what has happened to our country in that time isn't enough to see the dangers, look back to Salem 1692. Or, take it back to England when people were bailing out to the new land to get religious freedom. Kudos to McCain. He should not have to explain. If people continue to vote based on blind faith rather than reality, the U.S. is doomed anyway.

    December 16, 2007 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  23. Nathaniel R.D. Mounce

    In response to some of the comments I have read here, No, he did NOT answer the question. Please, look at what the question is before claiming he answered it. He was asked if he had "accepted Jesus Christ as...Lord and Savior." By saying he is a "man of faith" and that he has "deep religious beliefs and values" he is not answering the question at all! This could mean he is of any religion at all. It does not even mean he believes in Christianity! Much less that he has accepted Christ personally. Also, most Christians do not portray their lives as perfect. In fact, most would be some of the quickest people to tell you about the mistakes they've made. And lastly, do you people realize it's okay to care about a candidates religion? It does not make us crazy Christian conservatives who will vote the candidate who ranks highest on the God-O-Meter into office without a second thought. We, for the most part, are rational citizens like everyone else. And we also believe that we should have a Christian president. Because I want a President that has got my God on his side. Also, as I've stated, there is nothing wrong with wanting a Christian president. If it is the will of the people..then so be it. Isn't that what the election is about? Read the constitution. In the same place where it gives us free speech and freedom of religion, it gives us "free exercise thereof."

    December 16, 2007 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  24. Rocky Venuti

    The same line worked for Jefferson over 200 years ago. But for McCain it seems to have gone over like a lead balloon with today's pious crowd. Have no fear though, this year the religious right and their anointed candidate are going to be crushed under the weight of integrity and honest American value. They and their vile system of bible based values will be driven back into the shadows where they belong.

    December 16, 2007 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  25. Alice, TN

    Obviously, a question from a "plant" of the Democrat persuasion hoping McCain would come across as a religious zealot. Too much is being made of one's religion, or lack of it. McCain did nail his response. It amazes me, however, how seculars seem to relish in an environment totally devoid of religion. The SP's are taking this too far...and the religious zealots take it too far as well.

    December 16, 2007 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
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