May 23rd, 2008
10:01 AM ET
14 years ago

McCain rejects endorsement of a second controversial pastor

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sen. McCain is pictured in this file photo with Pastor John Hagee whose endorsement McCain also rejected Thursday."]
(CNN) - Hours after his rejection of Pastor John Hagee’s endorsement, John McCain rejected the backing of Pastor Rod Parsley, who said that Islam was a “conspiracy of spiritual evil.”

"I believe there is no place for that kind of dialogue in America,” he told the Associated Press. “And I believe that even though he endorsed me, and I didn't endorse him, the fact is that I repudiate such talk, and I reject his endorsement."

The decision to cut off Parsley could have the bigger impact on the presidential race: in 2004, the Ohio pastor was a major figure in an unprecedented evangelical turnout operation that helped an anti-gay marriage ballot initiative pass overwhelmingly, and which was widely believed to have helped President Bush carry the critical swing state state – and the presidency - by a slimmer one.

The leader of the World Harvest Church in Columbus also founded the Center for Moral Clarity - an organization which has held that adultery should be treated as a crime – during the last presidential cycle.

Related: McCain officially rejects Hagee endorsement

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (550 Responses)
  1. Gaby, in TX

    In response to Jake, Republicans seeking support of Hagee and Parsley who spread fear and hate, is very hypocritical of McCain and speaks volumes of McCain, but not in a favorable light that's for sure. Good thing many people in this country are smart enough to see through it. It's as if these type of people Hagee, Parsley, McCain have something to fear? So what are they afraid of? The truth of course.

    May 23, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  2. Fred

    Hagee has bad mouthed Catholics-no response from McCain. Hagee has bad mouthed gays-no response from McCain. Hagee has bad mouthed Jews-finally-McCain leaps into action. Why is it that the Jewish vote and the security of Israel are so much more important than the interests or needs of the rest of the world?

    May 23, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  3. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    You can see the bias of the media and the democrats compairing Rev. Wright/Obama mentorship to McCain and these evangelical leaders whom he does not attend church with. Find something on McCain's Pastor and you can compare the two relationships. What needs to be compared is Obama's Liberalism (Raise taxes, spend more) and McCains Maverick (Cut spending).

    May 23, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  4. Robin

    It is not logical to expect the pastors to talk logical.

    May 23, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  5. Amy from Kansas

    I disparage at the thought of dealing with news like this till November.
    We’ve got a war on, kids. We’ve got leaders who couldn’t care less about the suffering they cause the people. The “American” way of life has altered so significantly in the last eight years that no one recognizes it anymore.
    We need to elevate our thoughts beyond the poisonous words that some so-called men of God spew and get back to the issue at hand; finding someone who can help us rebuild the rubble of our ancestor’s great experiment.
    If our country continues downhill (which is where I’m convinced it’s heading right now) my husband and I are applying for Canadian citizenship.

    May 23, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  6. Not At This Time

    Of course he's going to reject this now. McCain's not a bad guy, but he's not the right guy for this country at this time. It's like hiring the villain's right hand man. Bush was a terrible president and no one will dispute that, and McCain won't be much better.

    Anyone who says we're making progress in these hard times is not playing with a full deck.

    Just choose wisely America.

    May 23, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  7. Peter Damoah-Afari

    The heat has just started. It will pile up soon and we will all see which candidate has clean hands.

    May 23, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |

    For all you race baiters who claim that Hillary supporters are racists.

    1. Fact one: If I were racist, I wouldn't have registered as a Democrat.
    2. Fact two: I voted against the white half of Obama.


    Hillary 08 or McCain if necessary!

    May 23, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  9. Steve the Pure

    The possible best thing that has come out of the Pastor Wright affair is that the so called preachings of all of similar church leaders will come under scrutiny. The press may finally examine and challange what these political charletons have been spewing out for years to the sheep that followed their evey word n order to gain power and personnel wealth.

    May 23, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  10. riles

    This is insane ... McCain has to reject the "endorsement" of a couple of nut-jobs and Obama go nailed for his insane preacher. Next Obama will have to distance himself from Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Farrakan's endorsements. Let's have a real discussion about issues.

    May 23, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  11. Mike

    "Margaret May 23rd, 2008 10:11 am ET

    The difference is Hagee was not McCain's personal pastor of 20 YEARS!!!! He did not sit down and listen to the extreme rhetoric for years and then choose him to be his spiritual advisor during his campaign. BIG DIFFERENCE!!!!!"

    It's worse, McCain went looking for these guys to endorse him, for purely political gain.

    May 23, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  12. Tammy - KCMO

    Obviously McCain is another one that will say or do anything to get a vote. He sought them out for their endorsement to buy their followers votes. he can reject their endorsements all he wants but I don't believe him since he is the one that approached them first.

    Just another Republican lie.

    May 23, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  13. JN in NYC

    Here is an idea, let's debate the political issues on both sides and spend less time vetting spirtual "leaders" . I think the spirtitual messages that these pastors (particularly Hagee) are spreading are a horrible distortions of Christ's message ultimate directive to love our neighbors as ourselves, care for the poor and to be good stewards of the earth ( I know sounds like Obama doesn't it). However, I' ll let God handle the judgement part on his end and take my protest to the Church not the ballot box. In a pluralistic and tolerant democracy of Americans of great moral character in a multitude of religions (or even no religion), let's talk about the issues and not spend the summer following around these "spirtual" mouth pieces that are ultimately flawed human beings. My friends this is just the type of reason we have separations of Church and State in the first place.

    May 23, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  14. Teresa- charlotte, nc

    Again in America we find that if you are white you are guaranteed the freedom the press will give you better treatment when you are found with your foot in your mouth. As a US Army veteran, it doesn't suprise me. As a black American, we are free to die on the battlefield, but the press gives preferential treatment because CNN, ABC, CBS and FOX controls the press battlefield. Sorry day in America...

    May 23, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  15. Lana


    Did you listen to the entire sermon? No, probably not.

    You just want to preach to us.

    Get a life

    May 23, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  16. Mike in NYC

    What's strange about Hagee is that he doesn't believe that Christ came as the Messiah.

    The NT is clear that salvation comes only through Christ, and no exceptions are made. ("I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no man cometh unto the Father but by me.")

    Hagee tries to get around this as a way of accommodating Jews politically. It's hard to be as fanatically pro-Israel as he is, while still telling the "chosen" that they've got to accept Jesus.

    He's an opportunist of the first order.

    May 23, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  17. NoMcSame

    Billary got her job because of Bill. She did not get it because of who or what she has done over the years but because of who she sleeps with sometimes at night. Who has ever moved to a state and lived there for less than a year and ran for U.S. Sen. and won? Let the truth be told. Now you all want to high jack the race but I say to you that it will not happen. The people will rise up like never before Black,White,Brown,Yellow,young and old to put a stop to all of you.
    She said Obama just gave a speech, well it was his and it was a good one to get him where he is today. He did it himself.
    No VP for Billary.

    May 23, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  18. NAMANDE - MA




    May 23, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  19. susie

    At least McCain wasn't with these preacher for 20 years.

    May 23, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  20. Rhino

    I really dont understand these idiots who vote democrat

    May 23, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  21. White female voter

    Exit polls in recent primaries indicate that there seems to be a correlation between religion and racism and Clinton capitalised on that of course. As in W. Virginia and Kentucky.
    Only in this country it seems do politicians feel obligated to drag his or her god on to the political platform. We would all benefit from freedom from religion in my view, it does nothing but promote hypocrisy and intolerance.

    May 23, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  22. Relle Boston

    The people who have commented on this blog are idiots. Those who feeel that Hagee and Parsley are worth anything they preach hate and it is ok. Barack's pastor was rejected in the beginning of his presidency he asked him to not advocate for him. All of the comments I see are racially motivated. Come on CNN do you really need to keep this devisiveness out there. You are not helping. Putting these stupid comments out here. Its all about the ratings and all fall for the BS. They keep this crap going to boost ratings. Those who are going against Obama I can say were never going to vote for him in the beginning. OBAMA 08' GET OVER IT!!!!!!

    May 23, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  23. If not Hillary, then Mccain

    For those that have been told that there is no chance to obtain their hopes or dreams and that it was useless to try look towards Hillary Clinton as a symbolic figure of hope and strength – the only experienced candidate that has solid solutions to our everyday problems.

    I attended a rally by both candidates last week – Obama definitely is a speaker, orator and can move a crowd – but once you get home from the rally you wonder what DID he say – only thing I can come up with is he is going to change politics in Washington DC – yet accepts the endorsements from them.

    Clinton (although the media is trying to make Obama the next President rather than letting the voters have their own say) was warm, sincere, experienced with her answers to questions and genuinely wants to help us help ourselves – she enjoyed being there with us – Obama appeared that this was a situation that he had to be there but really was looking towards the general election – so just give me my votes and I will move on – similiar to what happened in New Orleans after HE received the black communites votes – was too busy to attend a reconstruction rally later on – Hillary Clinton attended even though she had not received the votes.

    I just recently found out that Obama voted for the liquified natural gas pipeline of Bush-Cheney Energy plan where Clinton opposed it – guess he doesn't have to live here with it.

    Please fellow Oregonians – vote with your heart, your conscience, do some research before voting tomorrow – even if you don't like Senator Clinton – a vote for her will be a wake up call for Obama that he can not take Oregon for granted like New Orleans – and that he has to work for us if he wants our vote in November should he be the nominee.


    May 23, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  24. Nicole, Atlanta

    Whatever CSF.

    OBAMA 08!

    May 23, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |



    May 23, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22