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. Shirley, Pittsboro, NC

    mark wilkes barre PA, you are a perfect example of what I am talking about – here's your sign!

    December 16, 2007 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  2. Michael Adams, Maryville Tennessee

    One mentions flaunting the idea speaking of Jesus. The question was simple, a straight answer was avoided. The answer of "Yes" or "No" is far from flaunting. I respect Mr McCain, but the people asking the question, deserved a response that was more personal, than having an answer that was across the board. He knew what they wanted to hear, he just avoided a conflict of interest for other ears in the audience. I do not much care for George Bush, but even he would have said "Yes" I believe.

    December 16, 2007 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  3. TIM, Boston, MA

    MCCAIN vertainly has more integrity and guts than most other politicians today. too bad that he is still trying to justify (by pretending to be proud of) his participation in such immoral unjustifiable anti-christ-like war as the vietnam war. he's too smart to believe in such a war. he has no choice but to be gungho with the Iraq war, to be consistent with his pride in his vietnam war experience. i bet the man is torn into pieces inside. he simply can't come to terms with his personal baggage. what a pity.

    December 16, 2007 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  4. Danielle, Albany, NY

    To Jerry of Raleigh and all others on this board who are "true Christians"

    Read up on your history. Our founding fathers were Deists. They weren't the Christians of today. Jefferson actually wrote his own Jefferson Bible. They weren't the fanatics that you people are. Please get your facts straight. As for John McCain, he lived a very difficult life. He has experience, he stands by what he believes in, and although I probably won't vote for him, he is a shining example of what a Republican should be. Keep faith out of politics, and keep it instead in your homes and churches. Once it's brought into government, we are no better than the people we claim to be at war with. I don't want a theocracy, I want a DEMOCRACY.

    December 16, 2007 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  5. Daniel, NY

    This underscores McCain's challenge and Huckabee's opportunity in a state like SC that has a lot of evangelicals. The latest poll of SC released yesterday has Huckabee clearly ahead - a stunning development.

    December 16, 2007 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  6. Mo, San Jose, Ca

    If religion affected how the president make decision, then this country is not called the United States of America anymore since the decision will only benefit one specific group with the same religious belief. For those who want " the president with my god on his side." maybe you should go to live in Irq or Iran for a few years and see how it is. And no it's not the will of All people to have god on president's side. Look at today's president. He has so called " god on his side", but see what he has done? I'm becoming regret that I registered to vote the first time as Republican if religious plays a big role in how we should elect a president.

    December 16, 2007 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  7. Jason Stubbeman, Hoffman Estates, IL

    I am glad he realizes that faith/religion should be a personal matter and not something a Presidency is based on. The religious basis for leadership sounds familiar... something the current president talks about invading another country for?

    December 16, 2007 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  8. Tassie

    Here we go again–imposing a religious test on political candidates. Shameful.

    December 16, 2007 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  9. AFB, NYC

    Good for McCain!

    December 16, 2007 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  10. georgina, victoria, bc

    It would be refreshing if just one of the candidates could be honest about this subject, but we all know what would happen to that guy! Mention a religious affiliation in an election in Canada and you are out, DON'T mention one in the US and you are out! Go figure.
    I used to say I was an agnostic, now I'm being truthful, I'm an atheist an prouder of it by the day. Sorry if that offends any of you idiots out there believing in a fairy tale passed down over the centuries, but you've been pushing this nonsense down everyone's throat for long enough. It time for the realists to stand up and be heard.

    December 16, 2007 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  11. Phil Memphis, TN

    It is interesting, and very scary, that all of the talk on the right is about religion. romney = Mormon, Huckabbe = Baptist minister, McCain is asked whether or not Christ is his Lord and Savior. The GOP intolerance of anyone who had a different religious belief than their own continues to drag the party into irrelevancy.

    With that said, kudos to McCain for his final response putting the questioner in his place. After the last two terms, I can not bring myself to vote for a Republican president at this time in history. However, if I could, this would definitely be the guy.

    December 16, 2007 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  12. Jared, New Orleans, LA

    Jerry, Coming from a Christian, your comments are completely ignorant. The foundation of the country that you describe is that of Saudi Arabia and your selective Bible reading resembles the radical clerics. Also, When exactly has McCain pandered to Hollywood?? I think you must have him confused with your own candidate Mike Huckabee who has pandered to Chuck Norris repeatedly throughout his campaign.

    December 16, 2007 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  13. Jimmy Rexrode, Peachtree City, Ga.

    So McCain's answer is that he goes to a Baptist church, huh? I sometimes go to Burger King, but that doesn't make me a Whopper.

    December 16, 2007 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  14. Tom Dedham, Mass

    He can't win with any answer to some of you idiots. He believes what he wants to believe and that is it.

    If you losers who are hammering him want to believe in nothing or a frigging rock, go for it, whatever get's you through life.

    This was either some bible thumping cretin or a Clinton plant as both types have been front and center in this campaign cycle.

    To call EVERY Christian Conservative a bible thumper, would be like me saying EVERY liberal is a liar because the Clintons always lie.

    December 16, 2007 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  15. A Voter in N.Y.

    Separation of church and state anyone?
    Good answer by McCain.

    December 16, 2007 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  16. Mark, Dallas, TX

    YOU GO MC CAIN. ARE WE GETTING THE OLD MC CAIN BACK...

    The religious zealots have highjacked American's political authority and standing in the world, and McCain knows that – look at how he answered this question.

    December 16, 2007 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  17. Phil Memphis, TN

    Did I actually see a post about evolution theory? Evolution, with reams and reams of scientific proof, is a theory. But we should follow and elect right wing Christians based on beliefs from a book written thousands of years ago? Have any of you looked at what ELSE people believed in at the time the books of the bible were written?

    It is convenient that to know Christ as your savior means you go to heaven, regardless of how you live your life. This explains the hypocrisy of the born-again Christian movement.

    If you believe in Christ, live like He did. If you do not, then don't shame yourself.

    December 16, 2007 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  18. Ba Gua Zhang, Chico, CA

    "...I also believe that talking too much about one's faith and religion in my view is something between me and God," said McCain. But how about talking a little bit about them while campaigning? Is that OK– or just plain pandering? One can't have it both ways, John.

    December 16, 2007 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  19. Steven, Rochester NY

    Kudos to John McCain. I am someone who usually votes Democrat, but would consider voting McCain if he was the Republican candidate, especially if Hillary is the Democrat. He is the only Republican I would consider voting for, and if Republicans want any hope of winning the election they will make him the candidate.

    December 16, 2007 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  20. Steve Blaine Washington

    I resided in Mississippi for 5 years and people of the white race and people of the black race attended separate Baptist Churches. In fact people of the Black race were not allowed to enter the door of Baptist Church attended by members of the white race. I am indeed surprised to hear McCain say he is a Baptist and would indeed be interested to know if members of the Black race are allowed to attend his Church.

    December 16, 2007 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  21. Estelo, Honolulu, Hawaii

    Expressing your faith in God is the right thing to do. God said that you should not deny Him rather be proud to tell all people about Him and your faith in Him. Someone's faith in God should not be kept secret.

    December 16, 2007 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  22. Heartlight3

    Whether someone has accepted Jesus as their personal savior is totally irrelevant to whether they are a good president. Hypocrites abound in the religious world. George Bush loudly proclaims his faith and look at what he has done. Tortured people, started wars for profit, lied to the country, vetoed legislation that would provide needed services to the poor, and conducted foreign policy in such a way as to cause the rest of the world to consider us immoral and dangerous. Professing Christianity and/or attending church is no guarantee of moral behavior.

    December 16, 2007 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  23. Genny Smith, Loveland, Colorado

    I hope religion isn,t the litmus test for president. I know several people who clamin they are born again christians and peralnally I wouldn,t wnat them in an office if any kind.

    December 16, 2007 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  24. Fred Beebe Pittsburgh, PA

    THIS IS THE QUESTION WE NEED TO ASK BARACK. Not to seem to be up in arms about this. I just left this comment under the Barack article. Why ask McCain this question? Is there a question of McCain being a Muslim? I have asked countless news agencies in email if Barack Hussein Obama, the guy running for president, has ever been a Muslim. He was raised by Muslims. His father was one. He has attended a Muslim school. YET. Yet no one, not one of the news agencies has answered any of my emails, CNN included. Why can’t I get an answer to this question? All I get it that "Barack attends Christ Church." In which I answer from my personal experience that I am an Episcopalian and that I attend a Catholic church because my wife is Catholic. Am I Catholic? No. I'm an Episcopalian. Why is it so hard to get this question answered? And yes, I've gotten the question asked of me, "Does it really matter?" to which I answer, "Yes. It matters." It matters to me. I don't think that I would ask the question if it didn't matter. So, please. I implore you to answer my question.

    December 16, 2007 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  25. Cherry, Cleveland OH

    George Bush has publicly said that he accepts Jesus as his lord and savior. And we all know what a great president he is.

    I, too, am tired of this religious litmus test.

    December 16, 2007 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
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