October 11th, 2008
09:30 PM ET
11 years ago

Speaker at McCain rally says non-Christians want an Obama win

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/11/art.obama07.gi.jpg caption="A pastor at a McCain rally said non-Christians are hoping for an Obama win."]DAVENPORT, Iowa (CNN) - A minister delivering the invocation at John McCain’s rally in Davenport, Iowa Saturday told the crowd non-Christian religions around the world were praying for Barack Obama to win the U.S. presidential election.

“There are millions of people around this world praying to their god—whether it’s Hindu, Buddha, Allah—that his opponent wins, for a variety of reasons. And Lord, I pray that you will guard your own reputation, because they’re going to think that their God is bigger than you, if that happens,” said Arnold Conrad, the former pastor of Grace Evangelical Free Church in Davenport.

The remark was made before McCain arrived at the rally but the Republican nominee's campaign quickly put out a statement distancing itself from the remarks.

“While we understand the important role that faith plays in informing the votes of Iowans, questions about the religious background of the candidates only serve to distract from the real questions in this race about Barack Obama's judgment, policies and readiness to lead as commander in chief,” said McCain campaign spokesperson Wendy Riemann.

This incident comes a day after a Minnesota voter asked Senator McCain if Barack Obama was an Arab at a town hall in Lakeville, Minnesota and just three days after Lehigh GOP County Chairman Bill Platt made a speech at a McCain rally in Pennsylvania where he refered to the Democrat nominee for president as Barack Hussein Obama.

Filed under: Iowa • John McCain
soundoff (1,974 Responses)
  1. phillygal

    Mr. Arnold Conrad's statements are frightening because they are the type that breed hatred and radicalism. He is no better than 'others' in distant parts of the world (who I'm sure he claims to be enemies with) who USE religion and God to create radicals for their own political agenda. Words like Mr. Conrad's are stepping stones. Also, he needs to go back to theology school, "Allah" of Islam and the "God" of the protestant world that he is referring to are one and the same. It's like saying that the jews and catholics are praying to their gods against the gods of the baptists and anglicans. Go get an education. I'm a Christian, and I'm tired of people purposely misrepresenting the ideology of Islam in the US for political purposes to the gullible and uneducated. Not all Muslims are 'terrorists', or 'arabs' (ha, being an arab doesn't even mean you are a muslim, but whatever kentucky lady), or people whom we should fear- so Mr. Conrad needs to stop painting them that way, lest he breed radical Christians that do their own form of hatred and discrimination.

    October 11, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  2. Brandon

    wow...dig that hole deeper mccain campaign...

    October 11, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  3. jason, tx

    Those going to McCain/Palin rallies are getting scary. Who are these people and why are they so un-American.

    October 11, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  4. Stew

    Is it true or not? If it is true then it is true.

    October 11, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  5. Frank

    We are getting a good look at the McCain mainstream: bigoted, backward looking ideologues.
    Notice how most of the moderate Republicans have stayed away the last two weeks.
    It's Cindy, Sarah and John the aka " the angry menage a trois"

    October 11, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  6. Lary Johnson-Tampa,FL

    I am Christian and I want Obama to win. Now, I don't agree with Obama's stand on Abortion, but I agree with almost everything else. John McCain needs to stop this hate at his campaign events or he is going to be in serious trouble.

    October 11, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  7. Diamond

    Cnn please post:

    So is he saying that only non believers are voting for Obama???
    This christian is voting for Obama and I know plenty more who will.
    This is one of the reasons why independent and undecideds are going to Obama, because Mccain is offending people.This is the type of hateful stuff Lewis was talking about. And they call themselves christians? They are so called christians. That so called "christian" does not represent me. The McCain/Palin Campaign are growing even more desperate everyday.

    October 11, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  8. marlies

    i am starting to get angry too, when i see all these racist, ignorant people attacking barack obama that way. he is such a great man and spirit and i am tired of THESE HOOLIGANS talking about him that way. shame on the republican party for letting this get out of hand!!!!

    October 11, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  9. rob

    these people,every day that goes by, make me more and more nervous. They talk about Obama being extreme, yet they are farther out there than anything Barack has said.

    October 11, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  10. Alex

    Earth to Conrad. You do realize the rest of us are laughing at you, right?

    October 11, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  11. Janet from California

    And this man professes to be a "Man of God?" How disgusting! This shows the ignorance of many of the evangelicals who profess to be so religious. They are intolerant and self-serving! What happened to "Love thy neighbor?"

    October 11, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  12. oregon4obama

    McCain, polls suggest, even before all these hate-filled rallies, that you are fighting a losing battle......whether or not that is true, you need to set these people straight......
    1.Obama is a Christian
    2. He is an American born citizen from Hawaii

    Everything else is fair game, within reason....but if you want to keep bringin up Ayers, its to your own demise......

    if you want to try and have your followers talk about obama's very past drug experimentation period in high school, so be it, its your political funeral.....

    If you want to bring up tony rezko even though he was convicted of things unrelated to Obama, be my guest if you want to ensure you stay a senator

    If you want to bring up Rev. Wright, cool, maybe we should ask Hillary how well that worked out for her.......

    My point is that, McCain, if you want to win, stick to the issues.....the economy is on everyones mind and you will not be able to distract people from it any longer......Time is running out McCain, drop your lobbyist friends at the door, develop a clear message, talk about the issues, promote your own ideas and show people through numbers, figures and graphs why it will work......that is how you will win

    But to be honest......i dont think you will.......because you are not the McCain of 2000 that I supported.

    October 11, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  13. shawn

    It's good that McCain is finally saying somthing after this ignorant people say the most hateful comments, but the fact remains is that he's only do it because the media is putting light on what his campaign was trying to do which was injected Barracks race into his stratagy. What confuses me lately is that I've been hearing this agrument about Republican values. What are these values because I'm a Democrat and I have a very strong family values but I also have strong values that all people should be treated equally no matter of race, sex, or sexual orientation. Republicans, and this is just my opionion, but seem to only care about themselves and no one else. If hate is part of strong values don't count on me ever supporting the Republican party.

    October 11, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  14. KD

    McCain will have blood on his hands if something happens to Obama. Americans are so afraid of a non-white male president that McCain's negative tactics are clouding thier vision and making them forget that we are on the verge of a DEPRESSION. Didn't the republicans do this in 2004 by scaring people into reelecting Bush. Wake up America!

    October 11, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  15. JM

    what a nutjob

    "And Lord, I pray that you will guard your own reputation, because they’re going to think that their God is bigger than you, if that happens,”

    so he's telling God what to do in case God doesn't know as much as he does...?

    ah, it's idiots like this who give Christianity a bad name

    thankfully, God 'will not be mocked' even by morons such as this so-called preacher (who probably couldn't recognize himself as one of the Pharisees Jesus rebuked even if someone pointed out the likeness)

    I think a lot of so-called Christians would be shocked (oh the horror) if they realized that God actually loves Barack Obama and Democrats and despises their type of self-centered nastiness.

    October 11, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  16. mid missouri 4 Obama/Biden

    McCain says one thing and STILL runs the horrible adds to continue the fear..He is a Liar ....
    McCain has no honor......

    And now this "so call prayer"......A prayer like that is why people TURN AWAY from going to a church...

    October 11, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  17. Ramesh Shrestha

    Now, that is so vicious. Everybody has the right to pray their god the way they want and about things they want. Who is that guy to deride this religious freedom? Now, I am Christian and pray to God that he will make Obama victorious. Whose prayer will God grant? Does he see the number? He will make the righteous the victor at last.

    October 11, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  18. Born Again, Pastor at Large Church

    We want Obama. True Christians have realized that McCain and those who want him breed hate. Hate was never a part of the way Jesus did things. If we were to take the two candidates and ask who has acted the most like Christ in their campaign the answer would clearly be OBAMA!!!

    October 11, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  19. A dog barks in berkley round

    That paster and his church should lose their tax exemption now.

    October 11, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  20. mitch


    October 11, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  21. Cathy, Peoria AZ

    That is vile and typical of what the McCain-Palin campaign has become.

    October 11, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  22. Sonny

    Allah is God. Is he saying God is for Obama before he was against Obama?

    October 11, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  23. Maureen / Newman, California

    This is exactly why Religion and State must be kept separate. McCain and Palin have incited discrimination and racism these past two weeks. Watching these hateful, ignorant, narrowminded McCain and Palin supporters rant and shout at their rallies, is very discouraging. I do think that Obama will win the election. But I am saddened that there are so many twisted and hateful people in our country. I always tell my son that there are more good people in the world than bad. But after watching the McCain and Palin rallies this week, I seriously wonder.

    October 11, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  24. Jaybeans

    I can't believe their concerned about who is going to win the idiot contest, repeating longer than the others...

    My God is bigger than your God,
    My God is bigger than yours...!!!

    I don't care who someone prays to...it's what they do and more importantly the impact of their policies that matter.

    I'm of a different persuasion, but clearly see that Obama is a Christian who will put reasonable policies in place, and not pursue some sick religious warrior agenda (which is totally anti-American too)

    October 11, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  25. lia

    I am a big Christian, I want Obama to WIN!!

    October 11, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
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