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. Jon

    Again, as much as I hate McBush, ... er, McCain, I have to say this is in no way comparable to the Jeremiah Wrong,.... er, Jeremiah Wright controversy. McCain did not sit in Hagee's or Parsley's church for 20 years and listen to his insanity just to get credibility with their community. He did not title his book after a phrase they uttered. To make this look like a similar situation is dishonest and borders on libel.
    There are plenty of real reasons to not vote for McCain – don't waste time on this one.

    May 23, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  2. Ryan

    I'm an Obama supporter, and will be voting for him in November, but I will give credit to McCain for his rejection of these endorsements.

    My question is this: What took him so long? And why did he go after Hagee's endorsement in the first place if "there is no place for that kind of dialogue in America?"

    May 23, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  3. Treveon

    Man Hagee has been a hate monger for sometime now. I used to watch his church program daily a few years ago, but I stopped once I heard him ranting about how 'evil' Islam is. Anyone who is supposed to be a Christian should know that they are not called to bash other peoples religion. If people like Hagee back McBush, then I definitely won't vote for him.

    No Repubs in '08.

    May 23, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  4. Cal

    lol this is a pretty stupid article just as pastor wright, get to the real issues!

    Why are americans despised almost world wide?

    Why is our economy falling faster then a falling star?

    We have to transcend this in the box thinking, if we are to survive as a world power.

    Obama will win in 08, mark my words.

    May 23, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  5. Hollywoodaholic

    "Now all he has to do is reject and denounce George W. Bush . . ."

    Brilliant, Alice.

    May 23, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  6. New Day

    oh goodie!!!!! So, ummmmm does anyone really care, anymore? I think that both candidates know wack-job pastors. Let's move on to see if they both know any unicycle-riding, juggling malaysian sculptors, who are anti-gay marriage but, pro stem-cell research.

    May 23, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  7. stephanie

    Moral Clarity? I don't know if he has moral clarity. How can someone be focused on gay marriage and not universal healthcare and claim moral clarity? In the NT, adultery is a heart issue not just an act. How can he focus on adultery and not poverty? As a Liberal Christian, I do believe in loving God with all your heart, mind, body and soul and love your neighbor (including the gay ones) as you love yourself. I think the bigger "sins" of this country this guy needs to focus on is greed (look at all the fat people walking around not to mention the obvious greed for money), not loving our neighbors (poverty stricken neighborhoods and schools). i think that gay marriage and adultery is the least of our worries in this county.

    May 23, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  8. After further review,Texas

    Maybe its time for these churchs to pay taxes since they cant seem to seperate themselves from the political pulpit.

    May 23, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  9. Can't wait for the DNC Primary to end

    I think its crazy that our elected officials have to reject endorsements from first any AMERICAN. If this be the case....I'm quite sure that many more rejections and repudiations are due to us "average Joe's" who may make a controversial statement or two at home.

    I'm an Obama supporter and this is just STUPID on both sides of the isle. Its fine to disagree...but lets not reject the one and not the other....lets reject every single voter that has an opinion that these candidates disagree with!

    May 23, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  10. Monica

    This is so ridiculus... I reject this endorsement. The republicans created this problem with Wright and Hamas. So now what do we have to do? Analyze everyone who endorses us and reject or accept. Next there will be a check list if you endorse someone.
    Did you ever cheat?
    Did you ever say a bad word?
    Did you ever say anything mean about anyone else?
    Noone will be able to accept any endorsement!
    Maybe this kind of stuff happens every 4 years buy why does it seem so stupid this time around. To say you don't agree with what they have said or done and reject that fine. But the media pressuring candidates to reject people and their endorsements is going a little to far.

    May 23, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  11. James, SC

    How can the American people support this kook!? John McShame is the most pathetic creature to claim American citizenship. And to think that the American people really want him to become President of the USA. This pathetic excuse of a politician has no morals, integrity, or honesty. He chased these folks for their support; and now that he has the GOP nomination – Bam! he drops them like flies on you know what. Shameful, shameful, shameful. A most lying and sick scab of society.

    May 23, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  12. Ding, Washington, DC

    I hope republicans can now point their big fingers onto themselves especially Sean Hannity. How pathetic a very little man like him causes this huge problem for all pastors.

    May 23, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  13. Dan, Idaho Falls, Idaho

    McCain isn't wearing a flag pin. He must not support our troops.

    May 23, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  14. sophia nyc

    Thank you, Senator McCain.

    May 23, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  15. ABB

    yeah, mike e. cooney, "the looney left liars" claimed that Hagee was his "pastor".Never saw that, never heard that, but, maybe an "intelligent right" person like you had divine inspiration. All that was said was that McCain sought his endorsement, and now is refusing it. You might want to do a little research before you engage your frothing-at-the-mouth diatribes against the so-called "looney left" fools, and I, for one, am curious about your own I.Q.

    May 23, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  16. Jon

    The real question is – How on earth do these churches run by Wright, Hagee, or Parsley keep their tax exempt status when they blatantly endorse candidates? I'm not a lawyer but I'm pretty sure that is illegal.

    May 23, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  17. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    After proudly appearing with both of these hate-mongering ministers and making clear he sought their backing, he "rebukes" them ONLY after clips of him with them, and their disturbing rants made the rounds on the Internet on YouTube, etc. Principles? Why is he so often looking like a little boy with his hand caught in the cookie jar, such as the clips making the rounds now of his bald-faced lies about "The Surge" working so well that he and Patraeus can stroll in Baghdad with no armor...the look on his face when confronted with the facts says it all. Bush all over again.

    May 23, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  18. Matt

    I actually think it's WORSE to SEEK OUT an endorsement of people like Hagee and Pasley, then it is to disavow someone you have known and loved for 20 years. Think about it. Obama cared for Rev. Wright like a father figure, and it's very hard to just abandon a family member because of a few statements that he disagreed with. How many have fathers, or uncles that have said bad things? Did you walk out on them immediately? Can't you love someone in spite of some of their views?

    John McCain sought out the endorsements of these pastors to boost his popularity among evangelicals. He knew of these statements BEFORE he went after their public support. He did it all for personal and professional gain.

    Obama held onto the Wright relationship as long as he could, IN SPITE of professional destruction, because he cares about the man and doesn't want to end that relationship.

    Sorry, but to me McCain's situation is worse.

    May 23, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  19. Ken

    You are a liar. McCain actively sought out Hagee's endorsment. Stop listen to Clinton spin and get real facts for once.

    May 23, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  20. Jaci

    Between the Lobbyist, Brokers for Terrorist Regimes and Hate Mongers , McCains not gonna have anybody left working for him or endorsing him soon!

    May 23, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  21. Matt

    He will have to turn away every major pastor and priest who endorses him. Almost everyone of them has said something contraversial I bet. Hillary this who you want to vote for and lose the right to choose?

    May 23, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  22. D

    First of all they are totally different pastors and no comparison between Obama and McCane. McCane did not attend his sermon for 20years or did not call him uncle or did not have personal relations. It is very clear that Obama knew about his pastor being Anti-American and still kept on going there and even took his family there.
    Bottom line is , without the help of CNN and likes, Obama would be nowhere. How can Obama even speak something about McCane when more than Obama's age, McCane is in service of this Nation. Will Obama serve the country the way McCane did? Would he even servive the torture of more than five years where he can not even bear the attack from journalists? Again and again I am saying that without the help of media he would be nowhere.
    About foreign policy Obama is trying to show the world that he is trying new ways of 21st century. But it does not work that way. McCane has seen the world leaders acting and reacting in so many different ways.And there is something like your inner inteligence which draws the line between good and bad way of dealing internationaly , which is not there in Obama. He is just trying to portray himself as Masiah which he is not.

    May 23, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  23. Darryl M. Arlington TX

    Again, a man can only be held responsible for the words that come of his mouth and the action they performs. McCain often attempted to place fear in the hearts of man when it came to Senator Obama with is pastor problems howerver Sen. Obama in front of the Jewish leaders defended Sen. McCain against allegation that he share the views of those ministers.

    Wake Up!!!!!!

    We must standup for what right and good in man and hope for a better tommorrow.

    May 23, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  24. Chris

    Another dubious hyperlink for CNN. "McCain has some pastor problems too." This isn't exactly true, is it? I mean, McCain has been REJECTING these pastor's endorsements. McCain cannot help it that some people prefer him over other candidates. McCain hasn't been pandering to the Center for Moral Clarity. He has not attended the World Harvest Church over the past decades, choosing to participate in worship services which endorse hatred towards other peoples through the preachings of his pastor. Shame on you, CNN politicalticker Editors. People of higher integrity would take your misleading hyperlink as a lie. But you probably have no qualms about it. You disgust me.

    May 23, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  25. Linned

    There should be a separation of church and state. The pastor stuff should have never been brought up in any candidates campaign. The people in the news media had to find something against Senator Obama and that was all that they could find. They had to report the Hagee & Parsley comment in order to appear fair.

    May 23, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
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