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. Stick To The Issues

    Several times I have challenged everyone on this website to point out one racist statement either Obama or Rev Wright has said. JUST ONE!!!!

    I have yet to get a response.

    That's the new thing in America. Some ignorant whites are constantly complaining about racism everytime someone black says something they don't agree with. The irony is, they're only taking offense because the person who's saying it is black.

    Talk about hypocrisy. I guess black people still aren't allowed to have an opinon that differs from the status quo.

    May 23, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  2. lol

    mccains pastor problems don't even compare to obama's. obama chose to stay at that hate church for over 2 decades, and donated over $20.000.00 . obama has a problem with jews, and catholics. the ideology of his church is scary. jewish people have every right to doubt his loyalty to israel, considering he has made palestine sympathetic comments in the past.

    May 23, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  3. former hillary supporter

    Hillary supporters posting on cnn are absolute trolls. They truly are.
    They spew nothing but hate – hate hate hate hate hate – about anything and everything obama does or says.

    They hate the man for no good reason, only to hate. So I say to these trolls, please vote for mccain. You deserve nothing less than for history to judge you for the hateful imbeciles that you are. Your choice for anything NOT obama only further confirms my position that obama is absolutely the right choice.

    And I have no doubt this hate stems from race. I would never, never chose to support someone, anyone, that would attract such a crowd of spiteful, incessant hate mongers and closet racists.

    Such a pathetic crowd of subhuman, detestable people you show yourselves to be. Someday we will have a woman president, but Hillary absolutely does NOT deserve it judging by the crowd who is vying for her.

    May 23, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  4. TexRN

    You know this is rediculious. McCain may not have been a member of Pastor Hagee or Parsley's church for 20 years, but he did seek out their support. The stand that Pastor Hagee and Parsley espouse is not anything new or revelational as "new" or "recently". McCain has the resources to have veted these individuals and made a decision that their stance would be controversal. This shows that he seeks people only for political reasons and when called upon by reports to answer the question or "How can you be the president for everyone"? and seek the support of pastors who have said these things about Jews, Catholics, people from New Orleans, etc. then you turn tail and run. If I were an evangelical Republican, he would have just showed that he is luke warm. You sought these men out, they did not seek him out. Sometimes you get what you ask for. What does this say about his decision making principles or being nieve.
    Please!!! do not show the under surface racism by showing that this should be swept under the rug.

    OBAMA 08.

    May 23, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  5. Willie Hale

    I find it hilarious given all this preacher talk the amount of people in West Virginia and Kentuck (and to some extent all across the country) who insist they wouldn't vote for Obama because he is a Muslim. That is ignorance in its saddest form. McCain isn't as bad as he is coming off nowadays, but he's got bad people telling him that he needs to be something other than he actually is and has been. That flip flopping will be his downfall.

    May 23, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  6. Josh

    well, my posts never make it but here's hoping...

    The fact is this story has been around for a while. I was talking about this four months ago and you tools are just now hearing about it and quickly dismissing it as irrelevant.

    This is huge. Some of you keep crying and making excuses that this doesn't compare to the rev. wright situation. I laugh at the thought of your existence if you don't see the similarities. Are you telling me that hate speech against whites ranks higher on your insult list than, say, hate speech against homosexuals, catholics? If you answered yes to that question then you don't even deserve to engage in this dialogue because you are already too blinded by bias.

    May 23, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  7. Charles

    This was a very clever move on McCain's part. First of all, the media wasn't blasting him on this issue as they did Obama and by doing this he effectively took the attention away from the problems within his campaign crew as well as re-inviting the preacher thing to the light. Now we'll have more talk on Rev. Wright and an opening for the republican machine to attack Obama on that subject. Devilish, underhanded, but clever none the less.

    Look folks, this is getting out of hand. Yes Rev. Wright was Obama's preacher for 20 years. Does that mean he has to think the same way Wright thinks? If that's the case, every person that follows him must think the same way. Are you prepared to say that? I don't call what's happening with racist. I just call it ignorance. Pure ignorance which is the worst thing we can have right now in this country.

    May 23, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  8. Mike in Scranton, PA

    Actually, in my view, this story misses the mark entirely.

    McCain's situation involves "a" pastor. This is readily distinguishable from Obama's very real problem: Obama's situation involves HIS pastor of 20 years. And Obama's lack of credibility in the way that he chose to handle this further exacerbates his problem. Period.

    Hillary '08
    McCain '08

    May 23, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  9. Carlie from New York

    Well, let's see. First Obama says he cannot disown the Rev. Wright anymore than he can disown his white grandmother; then when he sees which way the political winds are blowing he decides to disown him.

    Obama is a slick politician who is going to disappoint a lot of people down the road. Forget what he says, look at what he does:

    1. Puts the American flag lapel pin on after he's criticized,

    2. Puts on a blue shirt with no tie when he speaks to blue collar workers,

    3. Tells Jews in Florida that he won't negotiate with terrorists but can't wait to sit down with Ahmadinejab.

    4. Ignores the fact that over 400 people have been gunned down in Chicago this year which is his own backyard. Never speaks out about this and would never think of testing his negotiating skills on Chicago's gang leaders. And most of these 400 people are black-so what exactly is it that he's doing for them or anybody.

    This is a guy with a slick vocabulary who does nothing. He voted "present" over 100 times; not exactly a man of conviction.

    The only answer to this fraud is to get Hillary to run as an Independent.

    Hillary08' Nobama.

    May 23, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  10. Bush was never elected

    "ALL THE WAY TO DENVER May 23rd, 2008 10:59 am ET

    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!"

    What could you possibly see in McCain? He's a wishy washy flip flopper, and he has no idea how to fix this broken economy so he would rather continue down GWB's crooked path.

    and could you clarify as to why WE are the race baiters? I think you're a very confused individual.

    May 23, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  11. Jimmy Gillman

    Wow, its funny how cnn reports only negative McCain stories. Ralph, you dont have to seek an endorsement when you sat in front of that racist biggot for twenty years(so-called Rev, Wright).

    May 23, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  12. Larry of Boston

    Kudos to Senator McCain He is NOT going to bow to the radical right conservatives. This give me great hope that as President he will be truthful and fair. If my candidate Hillary Clinton is not in the race I will vote for Senator McCain as he can be trusted, and he has the experience to lead us in these troubled times. We do not need a youngster with absolutely no national or international experience.

    May 23, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  13. jeff

    what's the difference between 1 year or 10 years or 20 years, If Obama has been blamed by the racist american and the media so much, why not John McCain, his pastor is also a racist and doesno't share the american values, McCain is a typical politician, foreign policy, he even doesn't know the difference between Iran and Iraq and Afganistan, and I think he's too old to be President, He's older than my dad. even at his 70s people can be so power hungry and warmongering. Shame on you McCain for invading Iraq and supporting failed Bush policy.

    May 23, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  14. Blake, NV

    McCain may be in good health, but the country is on life support. We need someone who will give the country a good bill of health. That person is Barack Obama.

    Obama 08

    May 23, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  15. aaron from minneapolis

    He went after these endorsement. He went after these endorsements! And now that this came out he's rejecting them??? That's a bunch BS.

    May 23, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  16. Elly

    I thought McSame was going to run a clean campaign
    first thing he does is get a dirty Jab in about Senator Obama
    Senator Obama took the the high road and said MCsame is not responsible for what comes out of anothers mouth ..pastor Hagee
    I have went to the same church for 30 years but I dont live by my pastors ideals I listen to and live by my OWN..Any intelligent person could figure that out
    thats why the republicans are going down
    Americans are sick of the rovian playbook politics!!!
    Obama is intelligent and trustworthy
    He is quite capable of making sound judgements
    thats whats important!!!!
    Obama 08

    May 23, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  17. Darth Vadik, CA

    McCain didn't even bother to show up to vote on the Webb/Hagel GI bill, and he supports the troops?

    As a former Devil Dog I say this with all humility,


    by the way both Hillary and Barrack voted FOR the GI bill.

    May 23, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  18. Matthew

    Good idea McCain why not take endorsement from someone who's the ideals and views you don't known! This Guys is desperate, good thing he is going to lose anyway!

    OBAMA 08

    May 23, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  19. Jeff in Hampshire, IL

    Some of you are saying that Hagee and Parsley are not in league with Rev. Wright? It is no different... I guess it depends on who you think it is ok to hate. McCain sought the endorsement of these two hateful beings because he thought it would make him apealing to the religious right. Unfortunately, someone had to tell him what they stand for and that he should separate himself from them to save voters from other demographics. Bonehead move for a guy who wants to be president of the USA. It's all a game.


    May 23, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  20. Sharon Minnesota

    My experiences tell me that these preachers sermons are ultimately designed to scare people into getting "saved". Sometimes it works, sometimes it puts people off.

    Armageddon has always been a subject of interest to many Christians/Muslims. The interpretations are varied and many among the faithful. It's alright to warn the lost but ultimately, the Love Of Christ Jesus brings people to repentance and salvation.

    So what has politics have to do with this? Nothing, unless you're an American running for the office of president. It's time to get on with the show and elect a new president on the issues that are facing the entire world and our country.

    Peace be unto you, and Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend.

    May 23, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  21. Anonymous

    I think all of this is just a distraction from the issues that we are facing. McCain is burning bridges that he will not be able to rebuild. He lost my vote months ago. Obama NEVER had my vote and NEVER will. Then there is Clinton. I will more than likely vote for her, although I think we are in serious trouble regardless of who gets in office.

    May 23, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  22. douadavid, PA

    Congratulation to my vietnam war hero! Thank you very much for our freedom that your fought for us. Every time I saw your name on the news , I always thinking about my older brother who never a chance to live in a full life. My older brother was a commander of a small Airforce Fighter Jet Squadron of American CIA secret war Army in Laos. I remembered very well that he was shot down twice like you but he was never captured by the enemies. His last mission was ordered by former General Vang Pao and CIA agent in august 1972 to destroy the enemy tanks in Plain of the Jars (the most bombed place on Earth).In this mission , he ordered 3 fighter jets to go along with him. When they got to the destination , he was the first to shoot the missile and dropped the bombs. After dropping the bomb , his jet was hit by enemy surface to air missile and exploded on the the sky.
    He died instanly and his body was recovered in three days by fighting into the enemy territory. Our family secret most constant fear for his life for the last 4 years came to end and became the darkest day of our life. He left behind a Vietnam war widow mother , a wife with 4 little kids , a younger brother who was sent to study in Hawaii by him , 3 younger brothers and 4 younger sisters. Our future , our dream , our income , our father figure and role model , my belove son , my dearest hunsband , our daddy disappeared all together in one time. Because his sacrifice for the country and the family , we will never let his dream
    die with him so we live on. Finally , we came to USA in 1975 and became citizen of this country .Thank you very much for your service for this nation in this Memorail day. I am a democrat and vote for Hillary But I will vote for you If she lose the nominee. I never trust racist Obama.

    May 23, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  23. Ruben Regan

    I hope the DNC doesnt force HRC on us. Her crazed self is scary.
    God Bless AMERICA.

    May 23, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  24. web_designerswiss

    will someone fix this website so it displays the comments correctly!

    May 23, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  25. Tejano

    There is no comparison to this endorsement from a preacher whose church McCain does not attend than to the one with Rev. Wright whose church Obama continues to attend.

    A comotose McCain would still be a better choice for America than a
    young energetic American hater named Obama.

    We will not surrender to the Islamic Jihadist.

    May 23, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
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