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. Tony

    John McCain and the Republicans have made it clear they want to attack Obama over Rev. Wright.

    The reason John McCain is denouncing these pastors is because he wants the ability to criticize and attack Obama about Rev. Wright. He can't really do that if he has his own problems with his pastors as well?

    It wouldn't surprise me if this is all part of elaborate strategy to make McCain look like he's the better man because he rejected his own pastors while it took Obama some time to do it.

    Anything to win when you can't win on the issues.

    May 23, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  2. John, Catholic

    I work with an Evangelical who does not believe in separation of church and state (which for those who do not know was established by the Catholic Church).

    So for those people who are unable to distinguish between morality and ethics (no they are not the same thing and yes Christ does make the distinction several times most notably with the give to god what is god's and to ceasar what is ceasar's) congratulations. You have got what you wanted. You have misinterpreted the heart of the law by bowing to the letter of the law.

    Hegeel and this other guy who said the bad things about Islam are the fruits of you. Be proud.

    By the way Islam accepts Christ as one of the Five Great Prophets. So they are not anti-Christ as some people say.

    May 23, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |

    What about his book "WHAT EVERY MAN WANTS IN A WOMAN" Where he says the difference between a terrorist and a woman with PMS is that u can negotiate with a terrorist" , He has also said that ................".there was to be a homosexual parade in New Orleans that Monday...........and that he believe hurricane Katrina was in fact, the judgment of GOD against the city of New Orleans.".......-sept.18, 2006, edition of National Public Radio's "fresh Air"

    May 23, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  4. Xavier, St. Louis, MO

    Flip-flop, flip-flop! At first he hound these pastors for their endorsement, now he rejects them. McSane also said in so many words that he would talk to our enemies, now he won't.
    Maybe his doctors should run several tests and make sure his memory is in good condition, because it seem like he is having the same problem Reagan had, "I don't recall".

    May 23, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  5. Rachel, NY

    Both Hagee and Wright need serious help. They are relics from the past, and this is a new day. Their messages of hate have no place in America, and I'm glad the light of the national news is focusing on these pastors.

    Having said that, I do think the focus on Rev. Wright was over the top. He didn't help himself by coming back out, but he definitely helped Barack.

    I believe in the separation of church and state and I don't want to hear from another pastor. The only people I want to hear from are the candidates.

    May 23, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  6. DR

    Thinking and actions like this show why McCain is the most qualified person to lead this country.

    Forget about bringing the political parties together. That's not what it is about. It's about bringing the country together!

    We are all Americans. We need to start acting that way!

    May 23, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  7. Len, Colorado

    McCain is not honorable, the media is finally questioning the remarks and his endorsement of those pastors.
    Vote for McCain and please be responsible and have your children/grandchildren enlist in the military. Because we are tired of fighting your battles.

    May 23, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  8. Chi-town gurl

    Agreed, McCain did not sit down in a church for 20 years and listen to these pastor's sermons (funny, does the American public really think that Pastor Wright gave sermons like the "manipulated" sound bites that have suraced in the media on every Sunday for 20 yrs??? lol not too bright) but he did sought out the endorsements of these two pastors. Doesn't take a rocket scientist dem or republican to figure out that he must agree with some of their religious/political doctrins and beliefs, and the influence these two men have in the pulpit. Quite honestly, all of the remarks I've heard from all three pastors are highly inappropriate.

    I think it's cool that someone like Sen. Byrd endorsed Obama. Think about it. . . this man had very different and radical beliefs about race many years ago. . .but has since renounced and shifted his beliefs. . . to a point where he endorses an African American! My point is that none of us hold the same beliefs over time. . .we grow and change (at least we're supposed to). So it's a weak argument to say that any of these men, Revs Wright, Paisley, Hagee & Sens Obama and McCain,are somehow linked to each other in terms of thinking and beliefs. I like to think that many of the weak arguments I've read on this blog comes more from heightened emotions rather than common sense. America.....lets move on....PLEASE!

    May 23, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  9. Vee

    ...Are all pastors crazy...Huckabee sounds good to me?

    May 23, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  10. Gaby, in TX

    McCain is no better, he should have not even sought the endorsement of those that preach fear and hate, especially, Hagee and Parsley. McCain is supposed to be smarter and wiser for his age, and experience. This I question, because he has thus far turned out to be the biggest hypocrite. Bad move on McCain's part, and this is what his "experience," gives the American people? No thank you!!!!

    May 23, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  11. Independent for Obama

    To all the people saying that Obama "subjected his children" to the teaching sof Reverend Wright – have you heard of Sunday School?

    OBVIOUSLY Obama's girls weren't listening to sermons, they were in Sunday School...

    May 23, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  12. Larry, Apex, North Carolina

    Who cares?

    May 23, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  13. Cogs

    McCain sought out Pastor Hagee. There was a competition among the Repub candidates in the primary to secure Hagee's endorsement. McCain won. McCain then asked Hagee to campaign with him. Now McCain dumps Hagee for well-known positions Hagee has held. What was McCain thinking in the first place? Makes one question his judgement...

    May 23, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  14. Marc in Virginia

    Hillary is the only one without pastor problems. What is wrong with you Obama people? Your boy has never explained his 20 years with Wright! Doesn't that bother you? Are you okay with his "judgement"? What is it you like about this guy? And please, don't use any of the words below:

    "yes we can"

    They're all meaningless and more fitting for Dr. Phil or a cult leader.

    May 23, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  15. FEDUP

    Not the same as Uncle Wright. When has Obama been to Iraq? Too dangerous for him? Obama is a coward and a liar. Will he run the White House like he has ran the chairmanship of the committe on Al Qeada in Afghanistan? Write Hillary Clinton on your ballot in November.

    May 23, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  16. Independent in Iowa

    Steve from Oregon:

    You've got to be joking...with Rev. Wright and Obama's history your comments are laughable. Twenty years! You are the true definition of an Obamabot.

    You are like Borg drones. Mindless automatons.

    May 23, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  17. Ryan

    These comments came to light months ago and were being reported all over the internet blogs, and NOW because the mainstream media's finally gotten around to picking it up because they're focusing on the general election rather than Hillary's latest lesson in crazy person math, he's denouncing them.

    Don't be fooled people, he's known for some time about these comments. That said, he's spoken out against similar types of people like Falwell back in 2000, before the Christian Right made him lose an election and he was just trying to appease them. It's sad to see someone like McCain, who used to be well regarded for his independence, pander so much.

    May 23, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  18. Autumn, NC

    During this Memorial Day holiday, remember what's really important–bringing the soldiers home. We need to regroup and strengthen ourselves in case there's a serious threat.

    Bush made huge mistakes, and he brought this country down, down, down. Now we have to select the right person to take this country back to where it was before the Bush administration.

    Gas prices used to be 28. a barrel-today it was 135. We need a change.

    May 23, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  19. RejectandDenounceRepublicans

    The Stupid republicans and Foxnews where running the snippets of Rev. Wright 24 hrs a day. Now they are hiding under their bed when one of their own people Pastor John Hagee and Pastor Rod Parsley are in the spot light what a double standard republicans are a disgrace to America we should all reject and Denounce them, in my view this world shoud be ruled by Liberal Democrats and by the False Christians(Republicans).

    May 23, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  20. Diva in Pennsylvania

    @ Paul: "Considering McCain left his disabled wife (she had a car accident while he was a prisoner of war) and had many affairs while still married to her, including one that lead to his current wife, Cindy."

    Thank you for your intelligent insight! Not to mention that the Billary supporters pounced on this one to tie Obama to Hamas again (and again, I'd like someone to explain why the Palestinians can't be angry that we stole land from them and gave it to another race of people), but none of you talked about Hilary's pastor being jailed on child abuse charges...

    May 23, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  21. Nicole, Atlanta

    Where's the honor in a man who believes in the continuation of this war killing our sons and daughters for another 100 years! Our economy is in the pits! We are suppose to be a super power? We are suppose to be leaders of the free world!

    May 23, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  22. Wayne Philips

    McCain Pastor Problems?

    McCain did NOT sit in either of these pastors pews for 20 years listening to anti-American and anti-White hate speech.

    This is just the elite media trying to create drama for their 24/7 news monsters!

    No Carter second term!

    Go McCain!!

    May 23, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  23. Ladies United for BO!

    oh please.AFTER weighing and balancing the politcal consequences of these rejections.. he FINALLY decides to do so?..we call can agree (even i as a Obama supporter)that Rev Wright was vile to some degree.. but that Obama ALMOST choose loyalty over political correct-ness in his hesitation to denounce the pastor.. in fact, he had nothing to GAIN OR LOSE with having ties with the Rev..Mr. MCcain sought after these endorsements without even knowing about them... duh! anyone?

    May 23, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  24. DannyCali

    Both of Obama and McCain have problem with Pastor so let dump them
    and elect Hillary to be our next President. She the most Experience than
    anybody else in the White House.

    May 23, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  25. Tim

    McCain must not of liked how that Pastor ruled Adultery as a Crime!!

    Adultery is how McCain met his current wife Cindy, who is 18 years younger than him.

    They met in 1979. Later in April of 1980 McCain divorced his 1st wife, and then married Cindy within 30 days!!!

    Ofcourse, there's that whole lobbist issue around 1990, and the possibility that McCain committed Adultery a second time, but this time against Cindy.

    May 23, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
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