May 23rd, 2008
10:01 AM ET
15 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. Levi

    Well, Well ! What hypocrisy ! They crucified Sen. Obama for the statements of his pastor, now it's Sen. McCain's turn. However, I do not believe McCain will face the scrutiny that Obama faced. McCain said that he was not aware of their religious views, where has he been for the past 5 yrs. These guys gave been speaking openly like this for a very long time. I am pretty sure if the dig up some more of their TV sermons they will find more things that appear to be anti-Semitic or inappropriate. It is evident that McCain's people drop the ball when they sought their endorsements. Roland Martin warned that this would be an issue, because of the way they handled the Rev. Wright situation. However, I do not agree with what is being said about these ministers. Ministers tend to speak from a different view than those that sit in the pew. The see the world through the pages of the Bible. The sad thing is, people in most people in America would rather believe a lie than the truth, because the truth hurt. John McCain is your basic politician who is all about political deception. Be careful America not to deal inappropriately with God's anointed!

    Thank God for President Obama

    May 23, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    That has been the subject of many of my posts. The real truth is not in the media, or is being ignored. There are many facts that the public is just not aware of.

    Most people do not realize that both parties, GOP and DNC, agreed to and implemented similar rules.

    That the GOP penalized both states by cutting their delegate counts in half.

    That the DNC gave the states 30 days to correct the primary dates, or they will loose all delegates.

    That their have precedents for states loosing their delegates due to rules violations. Delaware 1996.

    May 23, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  3. WOW!

    So a man (Sen. Obama) that has a friend (Mr. Wright) that is hateful and he TRIES to stand by his side is worse than a man (Sen. McCain) that only accepts support from a hate mongering like Hagge just to get votes from radical christains???

    Mr. Obama did what he did out of personal friendship and standing by his friend, (even if this friend is a crazy man) knowing he could lose everything by doing it.

    Mr. McCain did it to get elected, and only pandered to the pastors people to gain power.

    I really can't see how one is better than the other. They both sound pretty wrong to me.

    May 23, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  4. Javone

    For all of those people who say that this situation is not the same as the Reverend Wright situation live on a whole other planet caled fantasy. The REAL fact is that the situations are exactly the same. Barack was accused of knowing that his pastor spewed hateful talk and yet he did not leave. What is Mccain's excuse?!?!? He knew full well what kind of fools he was dealing with. Yet the fact is that he did not let them go....he repeatedly went after them...courting them for YEARS for their endorsement depsite knowing what kind of messages they portrayed! IT IS THE SAME THING!!!! Parsley and Hagee have been hateful windags for YEARS yet he continued to court them. It's the same thing as Barack was accused of...if not WORSE!

    May 23, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  5. Gion

    the lesson this canadian viewer has learned from the media this week is that if a black preacher is angry, its news, when a white preacher is angry, its to be expected? minor news? not to be replayed at nauseum. no speech on race to come from McCain i suppose, and no hand wringing from Fox News.

    what a joke.

    May 23, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  6. proud army and navy mom

    preacher's preach, that's what they are supposed to do.

    sometimes we agree with them, sometimes we don't. let the pastors alone. God will deal with them if they are wrong.

    OBAMA '08-12

    May 23, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  7. LT

    ALL THE WAY TO DENVER May 23rd, 2008 10:16 am ET


    You are so naive not to look at History (obviously not a college major these days). Obama's arguments for winning in Nov are weak

    I am college educated and have voted since turning 18 some 22 years ago.

    I am looking for chnage in Washington and not the status quo or repeat of current failed economic or military policy.

    Where does that leave me?

    Obama or an Independent who has zero shot of winning.

    Again many people blindly "support" the Clinton "brand name" or "Kennedy" brand-name without looking at the individual.

    I guess it is easy to foregt that no single candidate brings everything t o the table. This is importnat when selecting a running mate and cabinet members.

    What irritates me about the arguments given FOR Sen. Clinton, the same arguments are used AGAINST Sen. Obama. Meaning it seems the country is willing to elect the first woman President (long overdue), but will make all sorts of excuse not to elect the first non-white male President.

    Let all the so called DEMOCRATS who are so pro-Clinton and anti-Obame get what they deserve by choosing Mc Cain in November. More soldiers losts , poor world relations, and a continued weakened economy.

    May 23, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  8. Gaby, in TX

    Vote Obama 08 for eight years.

    May 23, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  9. Independent

    McCain sought out people to endorse him who holds his view. This is worst than spending time in church with someone who you chose as paster long before he expressed comments you don't agree with. Now that it's politically expedient, MCFame is now throwing these endorsers under the bus. This guy is very unstable.

    Obama '08/12

    May 23, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  10. sheryl

    5-23-08 – Added Rep. Jim Costa (CA) for Obama
    Switched Rep. Dennis Cardoza (CA) from Clinton to Obama

    Go Obama!!!!!!


    May 23, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  11. vic nashville,Tn

    Mc Cain is better candidate than Obama
    I am Hillary supporter if she not the nominee I will support Mc Cain
    Mc Cain is great American
    Hillary 08 or Mc Cain 08

    May 23, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  12. Javone

    By the way, Parsley was indeed Mccain's spiritual PLEASE get over yourselves!

    May 23, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  13. David Tamez

    There's a big difference between someone who endorses you and a preacher who you spent your life with, baptized your children, and is your campaign's spiritual advisor. CNN is desperate to try and connect McCain to anyone controversial. It's sad that you try and give an endorsement the same coverage as the Obama/Wright relationship. Shows your bias.

    May 23, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  14. Deb

    I think the comments of Parsley and Hagee are taken out of context. If you follow scripture, it will be offensive to all at some point. Christian conservatives tend to vote Republican - perhaps now they'll (we'll) carefully weigh all issues and realize there's time for much needed CHANGE!

    Obama '08!

    May 23, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  15. Tim

    McCain has been getting criticized for months about Hagee and Parsley. He needed both of them so he could look more conservative during the Republican primaries. Now that he has the nomination, he dumps them both and hopes nobody notices all the praise he heaped on them. McCain is a phoney and a double-talker who tries to be conservative and liberal, depending on who is audience is.

    May 23, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  16. Ed From Milwaukee WI- Swing State

    It's about time John 100years McCain rejected the endorsements of both these controversial pastors. I have known about these comments since January, and I am sure he knew about them too. If he didn’t, what is that to say about his judgment and so called experience? Someone with so much experience should not make a rookie mistake like this one. Furthermore, McCain said that he welcomed Parsley’s endorsement and that Parsley’s is his spiritual mentor. So why did McCain wait this long to reject these endorsements?

    May 23, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  17. Doc Sinn

    Please stop saying "Obama spent 20 years listening to Rev. Wright". It's ignorant as well as inaccurate.

    Obama was a member of the church for 20 years. He was also active in politics. Anyone who believes he was in the pews every Sunday, waiting with baited breath for Rev. Wright to speak is an idiot.

    And even if he WAS, by your reasoning, all Catholics are child molestors. They sat in the churches while children were being abused. They must have known right? How could they not know?

    Dont be ignorant. I know its hard but think. This p does prove however, that Preachers need to get the Hell out of politics(pun intended). There is a reason church and state are separate.

    PS. All you people pretending to be Hillary supporters claiming you will vote for McCain are very sad. If these are the kinds of tactics the GOP must use to get their people elected, what does that say about their policies?

    May 23, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  18. Lora B.

    CNN – do you have a moderator who looks at all of your posts to see if you are fair and balanced in reporting the political news?

    Looks to me as though you are always attacking Clinton and McCain, yet never Obama. Be careful what you wish for. If you push too hard for Obama, you may be responsible for a backlash at the polls come November.

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

    "ALL THE WAY TO DENVER May 23rd, 2008 10:16 am ET


    You are so naive not to look at History (obviously not a college major these days). Obama's arguments for winning in Nov are weak.


    1. Extreme liberals have a history of losing the general election
    2. Some states always vote Republican
    3. Moderate Democrats (swing voters) are voting for Hillary. These are the voters that have a history of voting for a moderate Republican over a Liberal Democrat. These are the so called Reagan/Democrats.

    Don't be naive to the facts. Obama will not re-write the electoral map. Most educated people learn from history.

    I guess if the DNC forces Obama on us, they will learn that history repeats itself.

    Good Luck Dems…."


    This is not about the repubs, this is about the good of the country.
    Go use your fear on your kids and see how it beats them down and demoralizes them. Oh and watch "zeitgeist" at for a history lesson.

    May 23, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  20. Rob Johnson

    True, McCain didn't attend this guy's church for 20 years.

    However, to me at least, saying that "God sent Hitler to help the Jews fulfill their biblical destiny" is far more offensive than anything I've heard Rev. Wright say.

    When the whole Wright controversy boiled up, one of my first thoughts was that there are right-wing fundamentalists who say crazier and more ridiculous things from the pulpit on a weekly basis. This quote from Hagee proves my point.

    McCain may not have been aware of this specific quote, but Hagee is a right-wing fringe nut job however you slice it, and McCain actively solicited his support. This will help Obama neutralize the Rev. Wright factor, and may be the biggest gift the Obama campaign could ask for at this point.

    May 23, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  21. latone

    Unfortunately, we as Americans has basically turned its back on Jesus the only true living God and taken up with other little gods. Its amazing that when a pastor who preaches the true gospel and tell the truth, it is a hate message. The only reason you think it is a hate message is because it forces you to be accountable for your actions, when we don't want to be. The truth hurts. We don't want to be told that we are immoral even though we kill babies, homosexuality is treated like it is a birth defect, murder ing your brother is second nature and we call it freedom of expression and wonder why God withdraws himself from us. We need to stop the madness. The truth is never popular.

    May 23, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  22. Michelle S.

    If the DNC forces Obama on us, Dems will lose the general election.
    With Obama as candidate, Dems are throwing away the election.

    Poster named "All the Way to Denver," I agree with you. And I have been a Democrat all my life.

    Obama's star is fading. And his wife has never connected with the American people. Many people think she has racist views.

    Obama's bid will be John Kerry all over again. A weak candidate with a wife
    that many do not want to see as First Lady. (Not because she is Black, but because she has a big mouth and ignorant views.)

    May 23, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  23. Independent

    What a flip flopper!!!!!

    May 23, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  24. Banko

    California Rep. Dennis Cardoza switches from Clinton to Obama
    Today’s net gain: Obama 2, Clinton -1
    -Cardoza and California Rep. Jim Costa.

    May 23, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  25. Waiting in Florida

    I am registered independent in Florida. I could not vote in the primary, but I will vote for Obama in the fall. Many of my republican and independent friends also support Obama, but none of us bothered to register as a Dem to vote in the primary since we knew our votes would not count. Florida is not so pro-hillary or pro-mccain as some people claim it to be. We are waiting for the fall to vote OBAMA! It is time to turn the page on the Bush/Clinton political dynasties. Enough already.

    May 23, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
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