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. Timmy Sanders, NC

    These Evangelican Christians hordes are a brain washed, egoist lot that have contributed to the downfall of US standing around the world led by the neocon fanatics at their heart.

    Jesus freaks – that's all they are – hiding in religion. The only ones who benefit are their fat cat preachers who surround themselves in lavish luxury and beautiful women.

    Open you eyes. Vote Hilary Clinton,

    December 16, 2007 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  2. Tamara, Niagara

    McCain was right to answer the way he did, it sounded honest to me. I'm no fan of religion, but at least christians have a time-tested story to believe in.
    It's people who support Romney I don't get. How could anyone actually believe in the Mormon faith? It's REDICULOUS! That man is not fit to lead anything!

    December 16, 2007 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  3. Cody Harding, Kinsley, KS

    He gave a well-enough answer without looking like a zealot. Good job to Sen. McCain.

    And so far, I don't care what anyone believes, as long as they don't press their religion onto me? And you know something? The only religion that I haven't had someone chastise me for not following is Bhuddism. Never had someone tract, never been called a heaten, heretic, or lost soul by a bhuddist. Now, can someone explain to me why all these 'peaceful and loving' religions want to beat my head in with their beliefs?

    December 16, 2007 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  4. roger, conway sc

    Posted by Alice, TN-If the GOP follows previous years campaign guidelines set by your PREZ GW...there would be no one allowed to attend a campaign function unless they were invited or a right wing extremest neo-conservative don't blame your extremest questions on us DEMS. All you folks want is someone to spit out your extremest message you don't care who the messenger is...VOTE DEMOCRATIC 08...

    December 16, 2007 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  5. TiredofTheHolyWars

    Sorry, I've known too many God fearing "good" people who have accepted Jesus Crist into their lives. It means nothing. The louder they shout it the more I'm skeptical. All it is a a social badge to find others who believe as you do so one can feel like they belong and are accepted.

    This is not what Jesus or our founding fathers had in mind.

    Jesus was a hippy who preached peace, love, tolerance, and happiness. His goal wasn't for us to blindly worship him and judge/harm in his name.

    Good answer Mr. McCain. You are the only viable Republican Candidate. If any of the other clowns (except maybe Paul) are nominated this election will be an easy choice.

    December 16, 2007 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  6. Jan, Vincennes, IN

    Rocky Venuti:

    You're right Rocky. We need the secular progressive leadership of the Clinton Era...the immoral, lying, deceitful, poll-driven brand of "leadership" provided by Bubba himself. See the irony? The self-proclaimed "SP"s have no more integrity and honest American values than hypocritical christians. So what's the difference?

    December 16, 2007 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  7. Donald Williams, Victorville, California

    I'm not certain that Senator McCain spoke with any degree of conviction in answering the concerned citizen's question. He has every right to be evasive in his political journey toward the presidency, but I believe that Jesus made it perfectly clear when he said, "Him that is ashamed of me, so too will I also be ashamed of him before my Father and the holy angels. Going to church doesn't make you any more of a Christian than going to McDonald's make you a hamburger. If he's able to speak with conviction and candor on many of the subject's affecting our society without worrying about political or civil backlash, then he should be able to publicly honor his Lord and Saviour. If we are a Christian nation with leaders who proclaim Christianity as the faith of choice for this country, then let our leaders who invoke this right upon themselves not be ashamed to publicly honor him in whom why we are called a Christian nation. Much was indeed sacrificed for this cause.

    December 16, 2007 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  8. Jedidiah Smith, Ocean City, NJ

    McCain gave a thoughtful and wise answer. As for Mike, Huckleberry should stick to singing O My Darlin' Clementine. If Huck becomes the Republcan nominee the GOP will most certainly lose the Presidency. Probably GOP loses anyway because American people sick of them.

    December 16, 2007 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  9. Lee M, NJ

    Whoops! McCain is disqualified from the Republican nomination. This won't cut it. Obviously he has something to hide from the "base".

    December 16, 2007 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  10. Ed, Tampa, FL

    Perfect example of American Christian "Taliban".

    December 16, 2007 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  11. Thomas Wells, Laerton MI

    So then, that means no?

    Talk about avoiding a simple question. Yes or no. If you go to church you shouldn't have a hard time saying it.

    You shouldn't be president if you can't answer this. I'd elect someone who did or did not. But to dodge this question when you state you go to church proves you are either evil or intend to mislead the public like Bush has.

    Game over.

    December 16, 2007 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  12. Gus T. Miami, FL

    I hate these stupid Christians wanting a Bible banger for a President. They are taking us down the tubes... Hillary is going to win if they keep this crap up and then we'll be in a world of hurt. We need a tough secular Republican President.

    December 16, 2007 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  13. Ian, Eastham MA

    McCain sees the Jesus thing working for Huck, so now he's doing the same thing? No thanks.

    I'll stick with Ron Paul, who's a real christian. A humble man who believes religion is personal and shouldn't be forced on anyone.

    Join his campaign today, December 16th, and become a participant in a historical day of campaign contributions by donating any amount you can!

    December 16, 2007 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  14. DrFill, NYC

    Do you bend over for the religious right?
    I reserve that right, but don't get excited!

    December 16, 2007 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  15. Tannim, in the real world


    McCain is an also-ran in this race, and if religion is that big of a question then people are REALLY not with the program, because that is so bleeping low on the issue chart that it's subterranean!

    Remember that a religious zealot was the idiot that got us into this mess despite warnings from sane individuals not to.

    Remember that this Fifth Crusade is not only unnecessary but also unsustainable.

    Remember that BAC questions and evangelizing in general on fundamentalism is a sign of religious insecurity. If one is secure in their beliefs their behaviors will reflect that, including not being a rude and pushy arrogant person pushing off their religion on others.

    This is a race for President, not sainthood, and this holier-than-thou junk needs to END!

    December 16, 2007 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  16. Zac, Atlanta, GA

    whoever asked that question should be excluded from the democratic process. its unamerican right to the core and violates the disestablishment we've enjoyed for over two hundred years. our founding fathers new that if religion and government mix, it ruins government and it ruins religion. look at the taliban for a prime example.

    December 16, 2007 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  17. Randy, Dallas, TX

    Right on Bruce in Virginia! Fanaticism and "radical christianity" have got to go. We'll never get along with each other in this country and with other cultures around the world until we tone down the radical christian rhetoric in this country which is often hateful and demeaning to others. This country needs a quantum leap in spiritual maturity. The bible has some wonderful things in it to live by but also has some terrible, harmful words in it that are very divisive and hurtful in our society. If you want to "live by" the bible, fine, but please do us all a favor and skip over the ridiculous parts

    December 16, 2007 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  18. Brad, from the great state of Texas

    McCain played this correctly... he explained that he is a man of faith, and looking at his record of service to this country, I for one believe it. I have no problem with candidates declaring their religious views, if they so choose (Huckabee),but it shouldn't be required.

    December 16, 2007 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  19. Madelon, Emmitsburg, MD

    I don't believe a man has true faith if he is unwilling to admit the basis of his faith – Jesus Christ. Why are people afraid to praise God and say it loud and clear? If we Christians don't proclaim it, who will?

    December 16, 2007 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  20. Matt - Atlanta, GA

    Its called seperation of Church and state- Senator McCain was simply following established guidelines set forth by our founding for-fathers.

    You know, those guys that all the Right wing nuts always try to drag into thier irrational reasoning for allowing discrimination, etc etc.

    Kudos to Mr. McCain for answering in a respectful manner and not acting like Chrisitanity is the only religion in the USA – a FREE nation – NOT religious state.

    December 16, 2007 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  21. Kate, Buffalo, NY

    This is a secular country. I want to know that people have good morals. But we learned from Bush that if we vote based on religion, we get decisions based on religion. And that is not good in the US. Decisions should be based on good morals, but on whether the Bible says something is right or wrong. Examples: Gay rights, abortion, stem cell research. The candidates should stop stressing their religious beliefs and start showing that they can think for themselves and have the capacity to rule for all not based on religion.

    December 16, 2007 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  22. Jeremy, Phoenix Arizona

    "If you confess me before men I will confess you before the father". He did sidestep the question but it's a moot point. Christian Conservatives believed Bush was a Christian and he's been the biggest One-world America Wrecker in history. More importantly is to look at the candidates voting record and personal history. Based on that information I have my candidate picked out. Unfortunately the religious right don't use the same criteria and thus we are in the dire situation we are in. They vote for the first person who can spell G-O-D, is against abortion, and will go along with the republican agenda.

    December 16, 2007 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  23. PJ, LA, CA

    This guy is about as religous as Judas Priest.


    Good Luck, America.

    December 16, 2007 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  24. Richard W. Cohen, West Virginia

    The Judeo/Christian god and religion is, and has been since its infancy, an endorsement, and tool of tyranny. But as the many posters here have proved - mention god, and the off switch to the brain gets flipped.

    December 16, 2007 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  25. Judy, Muscatine, IA

    Standing in a garage, honking loudly does not make someone a Cadillac either. There has been a self-proclaimed Christian in the White House for the past 7 yrs too but his actions are not the least bit Christ-like. At the very least I can say his brand of Christianity is very far away from what I was taught. Look at what the person Does, not what they Say.

    December 16, 2007 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
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