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. Boris Chevenski

    Obama, show us your medical records, NOW!!!

    May 23, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  2. Army Wife

    No Dream Ticket

    There's a list of dead people who've had ties to the Clintons or crossed them ( just google friends of clintons). I'm concerned about Sen Obama's safety, I hope he is too.

    May 23, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  3. Elizabeth

    These videos of Haggee and Parsley were available at the time of the Wright blow up. Did the MSM think of being honest and fair and playing them then? OH no that would be smacking too many right wingers in the gut.

    By the way there is another video of Parsley raving and ranting that AMerica has committed genocide against African Americans. Where is that video CNN?

    For those who think the media has been one sided against Clinton – think again. McCain SOUGHT out these pastors – don't tell me he was not aware how radical these pastors are.

    May 23, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  4. Ken


    You must be a member of Operation Chaos. Are you part of the "Cheetos Brigade"?

    May 23, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  5. hillbilly lover

    i've never seen so much ignorance on one blog. I think it's insane for those of you who think obama has ties to the hamas. i think it's silly as hell for those of you who think it's ok for the dnc to change the rules for the sake of hillary and that obama is stealing the nomination from's called good judgement and management. i get so tired of hearing people be so angry about the truth, hatred filled people just because. i'm not even gonna call it a race thing anymore, i just believe that some of you wake up and take a big dose of hatred ignorant drug every morning.

    dumb gullible americans

    May 23, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  6. Doug R.

    Let's remember that McCain openly accepted the endorsement of this Hagee. He was honored to get his endorsement. Then McCain tells us that he was unaware of all of the nasty things Hagee spewed out about Hitler, Jews, and Catholics. I don't believe McCain...and this is another flip flop!! It is only after this has come to light that grandpa McCain rejected the endorsement. Flip Flop.
    Let's also remember that McCain is constantly talking about war and bombing other people, including civilians, to death.

    May 23, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  7. JamesAAMale

    OK, now let's have Obama medical records, form past 10 years. Also his current physical and pee test and hair frolic test to screen for controlled substance. Also first and foremost we want his FULL LIFE'S FBI FILE RELEASED TO THE PUBLIC, NOW !!! Oh yes, and don't forget Michelle's file too. I mean you very same democrats insist on steroid screens for sports, let’s see who steps up to the plate to hide their own.

    May 23, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  8. Florida democrat

    Republicans are full of religious extremest that are very dangerous to America and to the world (just like other religious extremest). It is about time a republican publicly separates themselves from these extremest.

    Funny, it is exactly these people that gave Bush 8 years in office. Sometimes I wonder what Bible they are reading. Certainly not the one I read.

    May 23, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  9. Eith

    Good for you, Sen. McCain. You are a very honorable man. And many will agree with me.

    May 23, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Honest questions here.

    Is it true that McCain actually sought the endorsement of these guys?

    Do these pastores represent a significant or insignificant of McCains's support base?

    May 23, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  11. Bill, Kansas City, MO

    Is McCain trying to win or not? He just doesn't get it.

    May 23, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  12. Vaughn

    McCain will get a bye on his pastors comments...and we all know why! But the ridiculous statements by Hagee are as bad if not worst than Wright's. Hagee's comments are current but not new and McCain has heard this all before. It is just now that he knows he better be politically corrct, that he denounces him now. It's a bit late. Let the media harp on this!

    May 23, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  13. DJ

    I really dont understand these idiots who vote republican

    May 23, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  14. CSF

    Once again we are listening to bits and pieces of a sermon. If all of you folks would take the time and read the bible, you would know exactly where Pastor Hagee was coming from. If you're too lazy to ready the bible, then talk to someone that knows the bible, and let them explain to you what the scriptures say. You have got to believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you don't, there is no need for the commentary on Pastor Hagee, because you will never understand.

    May 23, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  15. Michael

    Are you seriously going to try to tell me that McCain didn't know about these radical beliefs up front? Come on McCain we're a little more intelligent than that. Lets call this what it is. You NEEDED these endorsements in order to be Republican enough to win the nomination, now that you've won it you need to move more to the center, so now it's time to throw these guys under the bus. And if you truly didn't know about their beliefs before courting them for their endorsement is this the kind of vetting we want from our President as he puts guys in high ranking positions? McCain is a Hawk, this is the the quintessential politician and not the man I want serving as President.

    May 23, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  16. mathew martin


    May 23, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  17. Dave W.

    Now each side is debating whose preacher or reverend is more evil. The media is leading you fools around by the nose.

    There are important issues that are at stake in this election. The war in Iraq, the economy, gas prices and the mortgage crisis. McCain does not want a policy change on any of these items. He is going to continue to follow Bush's position until America is bankrupt.

    Obama 08
    (but would vote for Clinton if she steals the nomination, definetly not McBush)

    May 23, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  18. Ron L

    The media needs to press Senator McCain on this. Is he not the STRAIGHT -TALK EXPRESS??

    He actively pursued this EXTERMIST just to get votes from the conservative part of the Republican base.

    THAT IS PURE POLITICS which is in direct conflict with Straight -Talk.


    May 23, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  19. Truth

    See hw people justify hate when the shoe is on the other foot, you simple minded people, I knew this day would come, and the more you say it's not the same the more your hate becomes clear.. this is great!!!!

    May 23, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  20. voter in AR

    Ya'll must not go to church...

    I've never been at a church that didn't say doing the wrong thing will send you to hell... I've never had a pastor that didn't eventually have some sermon that reminded us that much of the bad things we experience are due to our devices... and sometimes they like to yell.

    Who cares? Do you really think any of these candidates would have gotten as far as they did if they were terrorists or bigots?... If they didn't care about people?

    They may have personal leanings but to make it to the big stage, you have to be able to connect with alot of people. None of them are polarized enough to be considered "radical".

    Stop worrying about the "brand" of American... Just start thinking about America! A choose your favorite out of all these GREAT AMERICANS running to be our POTUS.


    May 23, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  21. James

    I'm so happy I'm not voting for Pastor of the United States or I might have a real tough call here.

    Good luck Hillary backers its gonna be tough swallowing that bitterness all the way to Nov.

    Obama 08!

    May 23, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  22. K

    CNN you're comparing apples and oranges...why can't we turn to one single news network for unbiased reporting?! McCain has no relationship with either of these men, you and your fanatic bloggers need to stop trying to smear this man!
    Wake up people, he's by no means perfect, but he is the most honorable and honest candidate in the race. Why do people boo hoo about that being what they want in a candidate and when we get one, we put treat that person as though they are non-human just because they don't belong to your respective political party; wild animals behave better than most of you hiding behind your angy blogs. I have no doubt most of you are unaware what your party's platforms are anyway, you're just voting a specific way because that's how you've been told to by family, community, and liberal media.
    And why do you come up with all the annoying nicknames for Sen McCain, or any candidate for that matter? Do you think it's cute and imaginative? It's grating and immature and reflective of a bigger problem...the dumbing of America...

    May 23, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  23. Jody

    Though I am not in agreement with everything Parsley says and I'm not fully aware of his comments but here is the issue. Christianity and Bible – which I am a beliver and fully rely on the Bible and its authenticity and authority – are going to disagree and cause conflicts with other religions and belief systems. You either believe the Bible or you don't. If you do, I would hope that you stand by it – no matter what other people say. This is what bothers me the most with McCain and many other Christians is they are not willing to stand behind what they profess. In order not to make people upset and lose a vote, a position at work, a grade on a paper – too many Christians will not take a stand and instead cower to the populus. Christianity and Islam are different, Christianity depends upon the work and witness of Christ for eternity and no other religion does.

    May 23, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  24. Gaby, in TX

    McCain's problem is worse, he sought their endorsements. That speaks volumes. He can not walk in another man/womans shoes. He does not even support the Vets opportunity to benefit from their service, because he wants to keep soldiers fighting. As a former soldier. why did he not look into the treatment and deplorable living conditions in hospitals and barracks that many soldiers are in. Recruitment of soldiers is down in this area, because of Bush and people like McCain.

    May 23, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  25. Chris

    Better then the 20 years Obama took. This guys was also not in McCains life as much as Obama and Wright were together!

    May 23, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
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