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. christian

    Vote for one who is not a fake chritsian. Obama

    May 23, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  2. Carmon

    McNUTZ is out of his mind, who are you going to repudiate next?

    May 23, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  3. R.T.

    Lets see.

    Rejecting the endorsement of a crazy Reverend whom you have had little contact.

    Or the spiritual guidance for 20 years by a racist who hates America and whom you only rejected out of political convenience.

    Sounds equal to me.

    May 23, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  4. Roxanne

    It took me quite a while to figure out how Dr. Hagee's comments could in any way be controversial. The interpretation given about hunters and the hunted have been around Christian circles for several decades. I first encountered it personally back in the mid 70's. The fact that the Jews were "hunted" by the Nazi's is just as true as the statement that the holocaust DID indeed happen. The fact that the news media could possibly misconsture this is a sad commentary on how the media trying to sway the election. What will the media say next, that there is 'proof that the holocaust is a hoax'? I wouldn't be surprised. As far as Pastor Parsley's comment that Islam hates Christians...most people already know that he was referring to radical Islam. Why is the media so slow in catching on to this? The fact that John McCain distanced himself from these Godly men is a shame... oh well, the media has already elected Obama anyway.

    May 23, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  5. CB

    CNN why you keep moderating my comments and never post them. Is it because they make too much since and not in line with your views. I thought this was a COUNTY OF FREE SPEECH. PUT THIS ON NOW!

    How prepared is he to seek these pastors endorsement and not know their back ground. He knew months ago of these two pastor statements. Now that it's more on the news he has to reject their endorsement. How out of touch is he!

    On another note.

    Even with FL and MI Sen. Clinton will not receive all of the Delegates, which mean she still can not over take Obama. Sen. Clinton should have care about the little state when it matter. Now she wants to pretend she care. Give us a break and stop being so phooooony.

    I don’t want to support a president who do not have a plan B in the event that plan A don’t work. But if Sen. Clinton manage to get the nominee I will vote for her, because I am a true democrat. My loyalty lies with the DEMOCRAT PARTY NOT WITH AN INDIVIDUAL. I have routed for the democrat nominee who ever they were for years whether I like them or not, which leads me to believe you who say because Sen. Clinton don’t get the nominee are not true democrats as simple as that and just plan crazy.

    Obama to reach 2026 minus 1965 needs 61 more votes for the nominee.

    Clinton to reach 2026 minus 1779 needs 247 more votes for the nominee.

    Who do you think will get there first?

    We have DEMOCRATS who say they won’t vote for OBAMA, but we have just as many REPUBLICANS who say they will. Just something to think about for you CLINTON SUPPORTS who won’t support OBAMA.

    It sounds like an EVEN TRADE TO ME, except the cross over REPUBLICANS is getting the better part of the deal. Just my 2 cents or 1.

    Now is the time to SHANK HANDS, KISS and make up to get ahead of the game.

    Just my view as an under educated voter against the well educated voter.

    Obama 08!

    May 23, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  6. atypical white person

    Revision to my original posting:

    I inadvertently wrote: "Obama supporters would do well to keep this in mind when posting inane comments directed toward authentic HRC supporters. Many of HRC's true supporters are creating the division.

    But I meant to write " Many of HRC's true supporters ARE NOT creating this divison.

    My aplogies!


    May 23, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  7. Ralph

    Some posters keep mentioning Obama's situation being worse than McCains which is not true. First, Obama did not seek out an endorsement from Rev. Wright. McCain did. Obama's relationship was non political. McCain's reason was politically calculated. That "my friends" is dangerous especially since Hagee believes that Iran must be attacked to start Armageddon.

    On a side note, some of you keep saying that Rev. Wright is a racist which is not true. Furthermore, you act as if he said those statements everyday for 30+ years. That is ridiculous. I bet most of you who keep making that ridiculous claim didn't even listen to the entirety of the sermons that are considered controversial.

    May 23, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  8. Derek

    Sure, I keep hearing this is different from Rev. Wright. But nobody said anything when the GOP was using these guys to organize the party in the last two elections. This is indeed the exact same thing as the Rev. Wright debacle. These are preachers using the pulpit to sow hatred. No difference.

    How could either Obama or McCain not know this is what these guys were saying. They both just didn't do anything about it while these preachers were useful to them.

    And no I am not for Hillary. I just call 'em as I see 'em.

    May 23, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  9. David O








    6) ELITIST


    May 23, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  10. Darth Vadik, CA

    Oh yes, back in 2000 McCain said he would be too old to run in 2008.
    But right wing hypocrisy is always unoticed by the "liberal" media.

    May 23, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  11. Wolfhound

    All of this goes to show that religion has NO PLACE in politics. The fact that all of the candidates feel the need to prove which one of them gives the most lip service to believing in their invisible friends and that the American people, in general, think this is a good thing show what a downward spiral our country is truly in.

    May 23, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  12. fred

    I think it's dumb that McCain caved into the wants of the media here. I don't think he should have rejected these endorsements. Unlike Obama, who used Rev. Wright as his "spiritual mentor" and taught him so much, McCain never attended Parsley's church or Hagee's church. Rejecting Hagee's endorsement might win a few Catholic votes, and rejecting Parsley's might win a few votes as well, but think about this. They didn't endorse McCain because he believes everything that they do. They endorsed him because he is the most pro-life candidate, and because they are conservatives. I mean, I'm sure a lot of the governors and senators who have endorsed candidates have said their share of dumb remarks. If you think about it, maybe McCain and Obama should each reject every endorsement ever given to them, since EVERYONE says something dumb at one point or another, whether it is a pastor, a celebrity, or a politician. To outwardly reject the endorsements of these 2 mega church pastors probably just cost McCain a huge portion of the evangelical vote, which he was already struggling to get. What was he thinking??

    May 23, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  13. Mike in NYC

    White female voter wrote:

    "Exit polls in recent primaries indicate that there seems to be a correlation between religion and racism."

    That's how you read them.

    In general, Christian universalism seems to have the opposite effect. Witness (no pun intended) the Christian singer who recently lost his adoptive Chinese daughter, or Christian missionaries in third-world countries.

    May 23, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  14. Rightsaid

    McCain did NOT reject this guy right away. In fact, he embraced this pastor's poisonous support when it suited him.

    He waited until after he had the nomination in hand to do this.

    May 23, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  15. Independent in Iowa

    Go Obama! (I cant get anything posted unless I praise him...)

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    There's no longer room for anti-gay initiatives, either. This is supposed to be a free country (whether you like homosexuals or not, we are supposed to be treated equally under law).

    As a gay man living in Iowa, I have to say I have a greater respect for Mr. McCain for being on Ellen Thursday. That was a risky move for a conservative.

    I'm a Hillary supporter but I could vote for McCain. At least I know what he stands for.


    May 23, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  16. Sharon Minneapolis

    This is all politics. McCain courted these preachers because he wanted the votes of their congregations not because he agrees with everything they say. Same goes for Obama. Obama wanted to anchor himself in the community and be a part of it. What better way than to join a church in the community. He doens't have to agree with everything is pastor says and like McCain, I don't believe he does. People say this is different because Obama sat there for 20 years- You don't know what Wright said for 20 years, there's three twenty second clips to judge a man's life. Wright has some crazy ideas, but there are a lot of people like Wright and Hagee out there who have served their communities and have many redeeming qualities. It means their less than perfect like everyone else. But their not running for president.

    May 23, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  17. dwho

    McCain denounced Hagee simply because of the Jews votes. Good to hear that McCain is in good health. However, I hope knows who Shiites are in Iraq without Senator Joseph L telling him.

    Health wise no one should worry about Barack. This guy is a BOXER. This means he plays basketball. He bowls. He is remarkably energitic.

    May 23, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  18. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    Actually, in a strange way, this might be a good thing.

    Now, we're starting to have a serious dialog about religion. We start by hashing out all of our differences, and then we start to search for common ground.

    Christians believe that Jesus died for their sins, while the Jews and Muslims don't.

    There are obviously many other differences between the various denominations – Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist, etc.

    But we all believe in two things:
    1. God created us
    2. God loves us, and he wants us to love each other.

    Please, let's not forget this.

    May 23, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  19. aguy

    As a Democrat, I plead with whoever would vote for McCain if their candidate does not make it to not vote Republican. There will be at least one Supreme Court appointment which could very well nullify Roe vs Wade if McCain gets to make the appoinments.

    We need a new direction, a Democratic direction. Not more of the McSame.

    May 23, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  20. Denver


    We don't want you here. 75% voted for Obama in Colorado over Clinton.

    May 23, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  21. Chinaman

    It's interesting that McCain wants to reject the endorsement of the hate monger posing as a pastor named John Hagee but he sought out the endorsement for a year all the while knowing about his hate filled rants. McCain selectively "rejected" statements made by Hateful Hagee but never denounced the endorsement. McCain is not genuine and I suspect that his views line up more with Hateful Hagee than Obama's line up with Rev. Wright.

    May 23, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  22. Tony

    Mc"Bush", Obama. No room for either of these men to talk.

    Both of them have a lot in common with their racist, hate filled pastors.

    Of course they have denounced them and refused their endorsements........NOW that they have become a liability in their campaigns. If it were not for the fact they were seeking the presidency they would both still be worshipping, listenging to their sermons on racism and hatred, praising them, seekign counsel from them, etc.

    Just another day in the world of politics.

    May 23, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  23. Crush Rush

    Hagee and Limbaugh are having a cookout this weekend.

    May 23, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  24. Pam

    Took him long enough.

    May 23, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  25. Ed


    May 23, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
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