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. James

    What a deceiving headline. To have an unknown pastor pledge support to you, is far different from willingly choosing to seek a pastor out for 20 years that espouses bigotry, and anti american rants. Boy CNN, you show are showing your lack of ability in being nuetral in presenting the news. Your slants against Hillary, and now McCain show how far you will go to not present balanced news to get Obama elected. If Hillary had been attending such a racist church she would have been gone long ago. The fact that Obama can dance around this shows how biased the media is.

    May 23, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  2. Michael, an independent Canadian

    Why did McCain ask Hagee for his endorsement in the first place?

    It was McCain's judgment (or lack thereof) that brought Hagee to the podium to endorse McCain in order for McCain to reach out to Hagee's followers.

    This is a clear case of "Gee, I really goofed. I should never have asked this radical to endorse me."

    In trying to flip-flop on Hagee's endorsement, McCain is hoping that he can use Rev. Wright against Obama without backlash of a Hagee endorsement.

    Summary: McCain is flip-flopping on an endorsement that he asked for in order for the Republicans to effectively attack Obama using the race card via Rev Wright. Or, in other words, a hypocrit proving that race is still an issue.

    May 23, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  3. Sheila WA

    Religion and politics don't mix..

    May 23, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  4. Les-Wa

    McCain did not attend the church of Hagee for 20 years like Obama did with WRIGHT. Hagee was/is not a spiritual advisor or mentor of McCain like Obama did with Wright. Hagee did not work for McCain campaign like Obama did with Wright. McCain did not seek endorsement of Hagee, in fact he rejected such endorsement from him. Obama continue to stick with Wright, as he said Wright is like a family to him and cannot disown him.

    Hillary will be the nominee for the Democratic Party, Obama cannot be trusted for our national security; he's also a flipflopper. He tell different things depending what audience he is pandering. The American people are not easily swayed by words, they want substance. Up to now Obama cannot articulate the change he keep on talking about like a rosary. He also COPY any plan of Hillary and make it his own. Why would people vote for a COPYCAT when they know its a FAKE.

    May 23, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  5. Dee Tee Gee Arlington, TX

    I won't hold John McCain responsible for what comes out of another person's mouth, just as I didn't hold Barack Obama responsible for what came out of another person's mouth. What I am curious to see is if McCain is going to catch the same level of hatred that Obama caught behind his relationship with certain preachers. My feeling is that he won't, for obvious & various reasons. The establishment isn't looking for something to knock McCain down but they're looking to knock Obama down. Let's see, there's been Rev. Wright, using the term "bitter", his middle name being Hussein, not wearing a U.S. flag on his suit lapel, & oh yeah, SIMPLY BEING BLACK! Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't McCain the ring leader in the fight against Martin Luther King's birthday becoming a national holiday? Amazing how no one has mentioned that. Never got an explanation on why he was against it. Why would anyone be against a day off of work? I guess for the same reason people will vote for McCain knowing full & well he's going to continue down the same path this country's on now, a bad path. Because some people will never vote for a black person under any circumstances, that's why.. McCain has already committed us to 5 more years of war if he's elected president, but people still want him in the White House. And you Hillary backers that say you won't vote, don't complain when you're paying $6 at the pump in a few months. Don't complain when you can't send your children to college because of rising tuition. Don't complain when McCain reinstitutes the military draft. Remember, your racist tendencies could possibly allow all of this to take place. DON'T COMPLAIN!!

    May 23, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  6. Julie

    So CNN is trying to deflect the Obama pastor conflict........nothing new.

    May 23, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  7. Nancy

    How does it feel McCain??? Finally the Republicans are having to deal with what Obama has had unfairly thrown at him in the past. Shouldn't this be about the candidate and not every person they have ever known. CNN, just keep playing those sound bites like you did with Rev. Wright. I hope John McCain's heart is strong enough to handle it. We know now that Obama can pretty much handle anything thrown at him. Unfortunately, he still has to unneccesariy contend with the lady in the pant suit.

    Go Obama

    May 23, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  8. Mr. C.

    McCain obviously thinks that rejecting all these people would puch OBAMA to reject rev. wright, hoping he would lose the Black support. I got something for you McCain. Even if OBAMA rejects Dr. MLK, black people are still going to overwhelmingly vote for him. You just dont have a clue about African Americans, Do You?

    May 23, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  9. Yasriel

    It's too little, too late a Muslim American, I cannot see myself voting for someone who would not promote world peace and harmony, someone whose goal is "Bomb bomb bomb Iran", someone who said there is progress in Iraq when thousands of people are going to their graves as a result of an Oil-Thirsty war.
    Nice try McCain, but your real intent is clear and your last trip to the ME as shown this....

    The World needs peace and McCain cannot deliver it.

    May 23, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  10. M.Shote

    Mcwise, you may have made the right decision to be unequally yoked with your pastor. But doesn't it seem political? considering that you wouldn't want to become a subject of ridicule like Obama's past pastoral experience. I bet you will need him again by your side (someday)... perhaps when the chips are down.

    May 23, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  11. Generation X

    I would like to personally thank Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff (R) and Rep. David Rivera (R) of Florida for moving the Repulbican and Democratic Florida primary date up! Thanks to the Republicans and Hillary Clinton for turning this around and BLAMING OBAMA for the cause in this mess. Don't believe me....................,%202007%20-%20HB%20537.pdf

    May 23, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  12. roger

    Parsley comment on islam in which it's radical followers have commited to kill us all is correct. If Mc Cain doesn't want to hurt someones feelings he is running on the wrong ticket. In the world we live in with threats to our nation everyday be it the economy ,gas , terror from outside our borders and within illegal alliens we must stand up for our rights and fight to survive

    May 23, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  13. Pat

    Though McCain did not spend 20 years in Pastor Hagee's church, he sought out Hagee's endorsement for 365 days! And while I agree that he should not get the same amount of attention and the Rev. Wright issue, this story should get it's far share of attention and probing.

    May 23, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  14. Robert

    CNN, quit trying to fabricate a story. These Pastor's have no connection to McCain except that they have endorsed him. This is no Jeremiah Wright, pastor for 20 years story. These are independent pastors who love to get their name in print by making controversial statements but are not officially or personally connected to McCain. Quit trying to make it appear that McCain has the same pastor issues as Obama. There is nothing here so leave it alone.

    May 23, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  15. RayRay,NC

    Will CNN and other major news networks harp on these pastor issues as they did with Rev. Wright?? I doubt it!! This will die down in a day or two and show how bias the media really is.

    May 23, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  16. Dave in Houston

    With McCain's rejection of Hagee and Parsley, and Obama's of Wright, I think the day of an atheist being able to compete for the presidency may be getting closer. Not because of any rejection of religion, but because an atheist would be free from having to align him- or herself with any of the lunatic clergy that seem to attract large followings.

    Except for Joel Osteen, it seems that the clergy has to be shocking and controversial to fill the pews and the coffers.

    May 23, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  17. Tanner

    How does this equate to a minister who's church you attend and who you give money to? Is the media's view that all people who are not journalist will be too dumb to understand this difference?

    May 23, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  18. Ken

    I would have considered this irrelevent had McCain not made his dig at Obama. If he wants to play that way, then it's open season.

    McCain YOU sought out Hagee's endorsement to pander to the Christain Right. You were so busy tripping over yourself to get his blessing that you did not vet him.

    If we're going to talk about Obama's judgement and character because he was a member of Rev Wright's church, then it is just as valid to question McCain's character and judgement for seeking out the endorsement of known hate mongers.

    May 23, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  19. nobama

    Come on, how can anybody even begin to compare Pastor's Hagee endorsing MacCain to Obama's affiliation to his racist pastor?
    MacCain NEVER attended pastor Hagee's church, much less listened to any of his sermons. On the other hand, Obama DID ATTEND Pastor Wright's church for TWENTY YEARS, he DID LISTENED to his sermons and would have continued to be affiliated to him where it not for Pastor Wright's controversial comments being made public. Obama is a hypocrite and a traitor. Even though I do not agree with Pastor Wright's views, I felt sorry for him when Obama ditched him just to get more votes. Obama betrayed the man he counted on for spiritual advise, the man that married him and his wife, the man that baptized his daughters, the man that was a close friend and almost like family. How can anybody trust him? I, along with MILLIONS of people, don't trust Obama.


    May 23, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  20. Dave W.

    A persons preacher, priest, or rabbi and what they say should have no bearing on the candidate. How many Americans are willing to take responsability for the things that come out of their own mouth let alone someone elses? Not very many.
    There has been enough said aboiut Hagge, Wright and Bill Clinton this campaign. The ones who open their mouth and spout out crap are just seeking attention. Ingore them and hopefully they will go away.
    Fixing America is what everyone should be talking about, not about some old fools that can't keep their mouths shut.

    May 23, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  21. Clinton/McCain

    The endoresement by these pastors and their relationship to McCain is no way the same as the reliationship between Obama's buddy, Rev. Wright. McCain didn't go to their churches, he didn't have his children baptized by them, he wasn't married by them, he didn't sit in their church listening and enjoying the hate for 20 years. Obama did all of these and indicates that he likely shares the view of Wright.

    May 23, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  22. Julie

    I'm a Democrat and was going to vote for McCain, but I've decided, after voting every presidential election, not to vote at all if Obama wins the Democratic nomination. AND, I WILL NOT vote for Obama even if Clinton would be considered as VP. I still want Clinton to get the "nod", but it looks like all the superdelegates are jumping on the political wagon of opportunity.

    May 23, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  23. PA Man

    I will be voting for Obama now. McCain you disgust me.

    May 23, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  24. joyce in florida

    After watching Mr. McCain's acceptance of the Ohio pastor's endorsement, it seems the senator from Arizona has learned all of the Bush tactics on how to get elected, i.e. Love the endorser to get campaign money, dump them when the real person is revealed. He's a Bush insider, true and true. It's high time the American public see's McCain for who and what he is ... he will do anything and say everything to get elected, After all, he's a pro who has been getting away with it for more than 30-years.

    May 23, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  25. southerner

    There is a huge difference between receiving the endorsement of a pastor, and going to their church for 20 years.

    If we're going to play this game, don't forget to mention that Farrakhan has endorsed Obama, and so have the new black panthers and Hamas.

    The difference between all of htese endorsements, and the situation with Jeremiah Wright is that Obama sat in his church every week, got mairried by the man, had his kids baptized by the man, got spiritual advice from him, and named his book after one of his sermons.

    We're not talking about a casual endorsement here. We're talking about an entire adult lifetime of spiritual mentoring.

    May 23, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
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