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. Steve Lewis, Holly Springs, NC

    McCain needs to be careful. Many endorsers are going to have some extreme positions that he (McCain) doesn't need to agree with. He needs to be careful and not alienate himself from his base.

    Unlike Obama who gave money to, and attended Wright's church for some 20 years is one thing. But McCain does not nor has he gave money to those pastors with extreme views.

    May 23, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  2. Tam/Stone Mountain


    Not the same. Wright- an Uncle of Obama, 20 years in church, Married him, childrens baptism , close family relationship.

    Obama campaign should not use the comparison. It only keeps the issue around that will hurt in the general election.

    May 23, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  3. TJ Johnson

    No matter. Evangelicals will not support Obama so they will come around to McCain at the voting booth. In this year's election, we have to select from the lesser of evils, we all know that the worse of the evils is Obama.

    May 23, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  4. Sick&Tired

    Wait a minute, I thought McCain claimed both were great men of God. Now it seems that all of these men of God–Hagee, Wright, Parsley–all have some types of hatred for one groud or another. I am a follower of Christ, and I am ashamed to have any of these of these talk on his behalf.

    They are no different than a blind a man claiming to have seen another man steal a purse.

    May 23, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  5. mike e. cooney

    It is amazing how the far left radical fools state that this is McCains' pastor,WHEN HE IS NOT!! Liars on the looney left lie so blasted easy ,it is incredible.McCain lives in Arizona.The'pastor' in question resides in Columbus,Ohio.Apparently,a 1700 mile commute to church every Sunday is not something the lying leftists took into consideration when they dreamed up this blatant fib! But,when you consider the average IQ of your typical American hating socialist,it is not all that incredible.Nice try to compare McCains so called 'pastor' withB.O. Husseins, Rev Wright,a real ,American hating,racist,buffoon he has seen for 20 years!!

    May 23, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  6. Ed

    Good for McCain. Good for Obama. What is scary though is that Hagee, Wright, and Parsley have a following at all.

    May 23, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  7. Meg

    You can't compared the pastor issue of MCCain with obama, is a huge and I mean huge difference!!! McCain didn't attend for 20 years to either of this pastors churches..........Stop being so unfair with the other candidates obama is not God...........

    May 23, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  8. Norb

    You go John. McCain/Lieberman/Keating 08!

    May 23, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  9. Tim from New York

    at least mccain is rejecting these if obama would start rejecting endorsements from race baiters(sharpton, jackson, martin,his wife) we would be ok

    the double talk out of the obama camp is so blatant – "the country is so racist for refusing to vote for a man just because he is black"
    yet they refuse to touch the fact that obama is getting 90% of the black vote! why is this, because the media is scared of being called racist...

    until obama starts sounding like the "change" candidate instead of the "divide" candidate...i will not vote for him(coming from a die hard dem)

    May 23, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  10. Josh

    Well its nice to see that he nipped that one in the bud real quick! Too bad Obama took FOREVER to denounce his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Looks like overall, McCain is more intelligent than Obama, so I will be voting for him if Hillary does not get the Democratic nomination! Even though I'm a strong liberal, I do not think this country can afford to go downhill any longer with an unexperienced, empty suit, all talk and no game candidate.

    May 23, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  11. Get Real

    And the nerve of this guy to jump all over Obama about Rev. Wright.....the old saying for the OLD man "What goes around comes around"

    May 23, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  12. Ellis Armstrong -Fla

    When did it become necessary that candidates had to accept responsibility for every word/thought of supporters?

    May 23, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  13. Cyrus

    At this November, he will be both cancer-free and pastor-free.

    May 23, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  14. IAMWMD

    Who's gonna drive Tales from the McCrip's so called straight talk express now that the lobbyist running his campaign are being forced or thrown off the bus at a steady pace?

    Obama 08

    May 23, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  15. Diana from PA

    It really makes you wonder what kind of candidate this man is, that he's getting endorsements from these racist hate-mongers. There is a difference between speaking about the plight of your own people and just slamming anyone who's different from you – supporting the policies of Hitler, for example!

    A year or so ago McCain had my vote locked up, but his run to the far, far right has just disgusted me completely. This country can't handle another four years of cowboy "diplomacy" and rights suppression.

    OBAMA '08
    ~A converted Republican single woman

    May 23, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  16. Casey

    I do not know how the American public, media and most ashamedly Christians buying into this crap by McCain. You crucified for going to church in search for Christ and maybe as usual hearing things you do not agree with but we glorify the other who seeks to use Christianity for political gains. I was up watching CNN last night and some of those who demonized Rev. Wright are the same people making excuses for Pastor Hagee. A man, deciding for God what is the truth? They can try.

    While Rev. Wright preached social justices, Pastors Hagee $ Presley preached about the religion of Catholics, Jews and Muslims and even the misfortune of fellow American but the public and media where quick to demonize Wright and give McCain & co as easy ride.

    My advice to McCain, Hagee & Co is that Jesus Christ is not up for sale and Jesus is not choosing your side because claim to be right, Jesus is looking for those to tell the truth.

    My advice to Christians is that they should look at what transpired so far with regards to character and behavior of all who are involved in the political process and decide for themselves who is behaving like a Christian.

    May 23, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  17. scguy

    this is INSANE!!! this shouldnt even be an issue! im not even a religious person nor im a big fan of either party! Im just P***ED off when i read some people's comments. Mccain does not attend this man' services, the man is NOT someone that Mccain seeks spiritual advice from...the man was preaching to his followers about how he interprets something in the religious document they study. i grew up in a strict Christain home where John Hagee was on television frequently..his sermons were NEVER anything like ive heard from Wright..NEVER NEVER NEVER..he may be wrong but it in no way comes close to the Obama/Wright issue...ive watched extended versions of Wright's so-called sermons. he goes on and on about how bad america is, how racist america is, and how we should all be ashamed. he never once mentioned the god he was supposed to be spreading the "gospel" for, oh excuse me, he did say GOD D**N way, should any man who sat throught 20 years of a church promoting this ideas, be president of the united states!

    May 23, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  18. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    It's a good thing he's distancing himself from kooks who want to criminalize activities of those who do not agree with their own moral code.

    We need a new party....I'm sick of all the entire leadership in the DEM and REP parties–including their crappy candidates for President.

    Is this really the best America has to offer?

    May 23, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  19. Tired of W, OH

    If McSame wants to say that Obama is soft of terrorism because Hamas endorsed him, then I think it's fair to say that McSame is a biggoted, out-of-touch, far-right extremist because of Hagee's and Parsley's endorsements!

    May 23, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  20. Arin

    Check out John McCain's new book "How to go from straight-talk to double talk when you are running for President". It should hit bookstands soon.

    May 23, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  21. Vedant

    McCain, Obama or Clinton... US has lost its influence in the world. How exactly do all these candidates plan to bring the jobs back to US of A. Times have changed and so has the economic and military might that US once possessed. US could not win a war in a country which had nominal military presence (Iraq and Afghanistan). Yeah..OK .. Saddam Husein was brought down.. but so what... Obama said world wants to see US lead.. guess what world wants any one but US to lead.... so my dear Americans... move aside and be happy amongst your own political race..because US wont ever be what it was no matter who is elected president.

    May 23, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  22. Greg Pottstown PA

    Obama should take notes!

    McCain dose not belong to that church. He did not lie about what the pastors said.So why should this affect him.

    May 23, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  23. Andy J, NY

    I bet you liberals are willing to claim political expediency in this situation, but it couldn't be possible that your beloved Obama was doing the same thing when he "rejected" Rev. Wright... gosh, it only took Obama 20 years to realize Wright was a lunatic.

    We don't have 20 years to waste while you, Obama, figure out that people like Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are bad people who want to see the American way of life destroyed.

    May 23, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  24. proud army and navy mom

    i told you all he is senile. mccain seeked the preacher's endorsement and now says he doesn't endorsement. flip-flop

    May 23, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  25. Jose'

    What an honorable man. He didn't try to lie to the people and brush it aside like Obama.

    What is sad is how CNN continuously makes excuses for Obama/ Wright, but watch them hammer McCain over this non-issue.

    May 23, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
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