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. barry

    McCain can reject these endorsements but it is very disturbing here also that such extremism supports his presidency...we should have no discussion about candidates pasors and focus on the real issues..McCain will have plenty of trouble justifying his "war presidency" and his unconscionable refusal to support the GI Bill

    May 23, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  2. me

    wow...hate the muslims, hate the jews...well who do you like besides christians?

    May 23, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  3. Petelo

    McClown may not have sit in there church for 20 years, but he definitely sought out their endorcement. I doubt seriously that Wright spewn hatre for 20 years. Most of you rallying around the "GOD Da.... America" rhertoric probably never heard the entire content, but want to crucify the candidate because of the message his ex-pastor delivered. Yet, you don't see or at least want to deny the same for the ministers that McFlipped sought out who are nothing more than current day scribes, Pharisees and Hadaces. I encourage all of you to go back and listen to the Wright's sermons in it's entirety before condeming the man and the sermon. Then cast the 1st stone!!!

    May 23, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  4. Pam

    Kuilor2k May 23rd, 2008 10:06 am ET

    Interestingly enough, the Obummer supporters showed uss all that they put Candidate above Party. And we (the Clinton and/or McCain supporters can show them that we put Country above Party or Candidate.

    LMAO! Nice try.

    May 23, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  5. Tony

    HEY CB!

    NIne out of every 10 of my comments here are "awaiting moderation"!

    CNN won't post this one either, but thought I'd take a shot. Either you see things from their point of view or are subjected to heavy editing.

    Glad to see Freedom of Speech and fair and balanced, unbiased reporting still rules. Yeah, right!

    May 23, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  6. Efi, Hutschison MN

    I also think this a slap in the face of Christian leaders who instead of preaching to the whole nation and evn beyond national boundaries, have lost their bearings and credibility and are endorsing very corrupt politicians. The make Christianity look like an ideology and a subset of the GOP. Please so called Christian leaders, you seem to be behaving like the pharisees in Jesus' day. What did Jesus do when He came in the midst of a corrupt Roman empire? Go back and read your Bible change your ways and appeal to the entire nation. I particularly like those who have come up with the "evangelical manifesto". Please do not betray the Christian cause be politicizing Christianity. It is bigger than any party or nation. As a Christian my soul aches for what Christianity has become in America!

    May 23, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  7. Truth

    So, McCain got the help of these pastors and lobbiests to get the nomination of his party and now it's time to get rid of all of them because of fear of liabilities...

    What an opportunist...Similar to what he did with his previous wife!

    May 23, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  8. Darth Vadik, CA

    David O,

    I couldn't have said it better myself.

    May 23, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  9. dorothy

    McCain, Hillary and Obama are all politicians and will divest themselves of any entity that prevent them from becoming President of the United States. I don't condemn them for that. It is the smart way to run the race.

    The difference lies in the inequity of the media. Excerpts from Wright's speech was played incessantly. Where are the excerpts from these individuals sermons? Why haven't they been played incessantly? Hillary's Bosnia misrepresentation was played often. If she showed emotion, that was repeated and repeated and decried by the media. In the interest of fair play these pastors' sermons should be viewed at least as often as the negative aspects of Hillary and Obama's campaign were allowed to be aired along with McCain's repudiation of them as well.

    May 23, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  10. Le

    I am so sick and tired of political leaders selling out because of people votes! Be real!!!! if you do not agree with homosexuals marriage then stand by it. I am against GAy marriages and all the other immoral mess that is taking place in America and I can care less how you feel or how it rubs you the wrong way SIN is SIN! my goodness, WE need a leader that has a back bone!!!!!!!!

    May 23, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  11. kaz

    This is one of the best decision by John McCain. Now I can vote for John if sen. Clinton get the nomination or Obama picks sen. Clinton as running mate. Obama and John McCain both are good leaders.

    May 23, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  12. alex


    Have you ever READ the Quran? Jesus is mentioned MORE than Muhammad is. And everytime a Muslim says Jesus's name, they say "may peace be upon him." You are ignorant.

    May 23, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  13. Jamaal Kansas

    Mccain is a liar and him and his two pastors are racist and he wanted to talk about Wright Mccain you are an Old Dirty Politican and do not deserve the right to Sit in the Oval Office

    May 23, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  14. taylor richmond virginia

    I won't be voting for him, but I will give him props for doing the right thing........but man, those aren't the only crazy ministers on the right. He could spend from now until the election denouncing crazy ministers that support the GOP.

    May 23, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  15. Javasia Jones


    You need to get a life. Let me guess, you’re a woman who feel that it is Hillary turn to be president. How many mistakes did she make running her campaign? She doesn’t deserve the nomination.

    May 23, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  16. mr.dem

    I am a Hillary voter (voted in ny states primary for her) i think people that want to vote for McCain if hillary does not get a spot on the ticket is just plain dumb hillary never said anything about voteing for mccain

    May 23, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  17. Patti

    We need to remember the concept of separating church from state. Politicians ought not involve themselves with matters of the pulpit; pastors, preachers, priests, imans, rabbis ought not presume to involve themselves in politics, especially insofar as they attempt to influence their flocks. Their remarks - all of their remarks - ought to be disragarded.

    May 23, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  18. Paul W. - Houston, TX

    Clinton is not going to win the nomination and that is fact. If you at that point choose to either not vote for Obama or you choose to vote for McCain and McCain wins please don't complain about how bad things are. YOU using your unlogical logic MADE the CHOICE.

    May 23, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  19. Le

    These Pastors are NOT PREACHING HATE MESSAGES: What they are preaching is called TRUTH!!!!!! You would have hated Jesus Christ if you read what he was against. (HE SAID Repent or Perish) is that hate speak. The bottom line: Repent of your sins or burst hell wide open

    May 23, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  20. JC Weatherby

    As a condition of tax exemption under 501(c)3 rules; religious and other public benefit companies are not allowed to "agitate for political change."

    Ergo, preachers like Hagee, and nonprofit organizations like Family Research Council are not supposed to publicly endorse any political candidate.

    This is important. Corporations, legally defined as persons, should not participate in the political sphere and be tax exempt. If they wish to participate in the political arena, they should pay taxes like other corporations and people.

    Secondly, our traditional separation of church and state demands such restraint on religious figures and institutions. Our constitution suggests politicians should make no law respective of any religion – and with good cause. The history of religious governments is not a particularly "progressive" one. Take for example the Spanish Inquisition. One has only to look at recent history in the Muslim world to see how religion and government should not mix.

    Why does no one in media talk about this???

    May 23, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  21. McMan

    Drop them like they're hot!!!!!!

    May 23, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |



    May 23, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  23. Dem to the End

    People wake up!!!! The media has you guys literally getting upset over this nonsense. First of all, how a person worhsips and who they talk to for spiritual advise has nothing to do with politics. So what Barack was a member of Rev. Wrights church, just becasue he was a member doesn't mean that he attended church on a regular.. and so what McCain got the endorsement from the 2 pastors Haggee and Parsley... who cares!!!!None of the candidates can control what people say and we need to stop holding them accountabe for what these pastors are saying. Whether it be Obama or McCain, there are so many other issues that need to be discussed and I can't believe that we are spending time on these blogs talking about things that are of no substance. In the end the media has won!!!! Turn your focus to the candidate that you support and let that be that. If you are a true republican then this situation with McCain will no matter and likewise if your a DEMO. GET OVER IT AND LET"S MOVE ON TO NOV.

    I'm so glad that God is the judge and not some of you otherwise all of us would have been dead long time ago!!!! Besides I guess everyone on this blog is perfect and without flaw?????

    May 23, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  24. Ruben Regan

    I like what Darth had to say

    "80% of the country things we are on the wrong track but 45% of people would still vote for McSame.

    Maybe some people are born to harm themeselves.

    Thats sad. we complain but some fools are willing to voce for Mcsame

    May 23, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  25. Yes, it is...

    I'm an Obama supporter, and I must say I was a bit disconcerted about Barack's handling of the Wright controversy. I'm glad he got it all right in the end, but there are lingering concerns.

    McCain's situation with these two fundamentalist freaks is a bit different that Obama's. McCain never went to church on a regular basis at either of these joker's churches. He showed them some friendship, which is concerning, but generally he's not had a whole lot to do with them. I don't think he has near the problem Barack has with his situation.

    I believe that McCain rejecting the endorsement of these two boneheads is an indication that the Republicans are turning away from their evangelical base very gradually. The American people are tired of radicalism from the left and the right and are looking for a more centered government that will stop spouting rhetoric and get to work. The Republicans realize this, and realize that if they stay aligned with their evangelicals, they'll lose a large percentage of the more moderate sectors of the population. McCain's rejection of these two endorsements is the first sign of that process beginning.

    Still, the Republicans will, if the stars align, lose this election. They've had eight years, and have generally ignored the will of the people. They may be squirming now, but it's too late. It's time for a change.

    May 23, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
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