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. a grad student in biomed research

    simply unbelievable...

    October 11, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  2. Anonimous

    I cannot believe so much ignorance still exists today.

    October 11, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  3. scott brookdale ca

    Its going to be such a relief to see these "Christian" extremists go the way of the payphone and 8 track tapes when Obama come to power.
    When will these people learn? So ...when thier "prayers" go unheard, and Obama wins ,what will the excuse be? It wasn't meant to be? Thats the ususal excuse. They have it covered either way.

    October 11, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  4. anonymous

    Unbelievable! pastors like this one turn people away from God which is the oposite of what they should be doing. Christians should display the love of Christ, not such hate doctrine. I feel bad for the people who attend his church.

    October 11, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  5. Shocked and Awed

    Any respect I had for John McCain has evaporated. The guy will stop at nothing to gain power – including stirring hate and potentially putting Obama's life at risk. Reminds me of when the current administratin leaked the name of a CIA agent to retaliate against her husband – also putting an innocent life at risk.

    As for Palin and her subpoena-dodging? She's not even in office and already she looks like Dick Cheney.

    October 11, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  6. alex

    I can't believe McCain has stooped so low as to try and make Obama into a terrorist. One day hes dangerous, the other day its wrong to call him an Arab

    October 11, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  7. Jenn

    AAHHH that is just nonsence.... I am a devoted Christian, in fact I even work at one yet I among many other Christians will be voting for Obama. I am so tired of all this political fighting and the media really playing it up... let's keep on topic as far as what is really important, THE ISSUES!

    October 11, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  8. Cindy Stafford

    For rhe record, Senator Obama is Christian.  As a Christian myself, I am alarmed by what has happened in the Republican party.

    October 11, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  9. ObamaROCKS!

    it seems like McCain has to make it his FT job correcting his own supporters...

    October 11, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  10. From the North

    Hey, John. Here's someone who needs to be repudiated. Wanna man up and repudiate this guy? Want to go farther and tell your supporters you forbid that kind of talk? Yeah. Thought not. Jerk.

    October 11, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  11. Jack

    Ignorant hick conservative Christians! It's nice to know that there are still morons out there trying to pretending that Christianity is our national religion. Well you know what, non Christians are not evil. We just don't want a president who can't keep church and state separated like they are supposed to be. Do you think politicians really care about what christians believe? They are just pandering to you and you swallow their BS hook, line, and sinker.

    October 11, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  12. Cheryl

    Dear Rev. Conrad...
    Newsflash...There are many, many,devoted CHRISTIANS who are hoping and PRAYING for an Obama win...I think God is big enough to handle this, and doesn't need any advice from lowly humans...God will put into place whomever He chooses....

    October 11, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  13. Bernell McGehee

    If I live until voting day, I will vote for Barack Obama.

    I am a conservative Christian.

    The fact is that both John McCain and Barack Obama claim to be Christians. My Bible tells me "Judge not that ye be not judged." So, absent evidence to the contrary, I accept that both of these gentlemen are Christians.

    My Bible also tells me that God will place those in power that He chooses. He doesn't need some ignorant minister wannabe challenging Him to select one candidate over another.

    I pray that God selects the right president for our country. If it is John McCain, I will support him.

    I also pray that God deals with people claiming to speak for them on this earth.

    October 11, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  14. Brent

    That minister sounds like an amazing moron.

    October 11, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  15. Godson


    October 11, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  16. Not a fan of the 'Cuda

    I would like to say this is unbelievable, but it isn't. You'd think this late in the game McCain would have some clue what his warm up act is going to say, but either they are completely clueless or they just don't care what horrible things are said. This after all the Hussein, terrorist, Arab stuff – its just surreal, and it will not end well.

    First, the incredible intolerance of a man like this – and theoretically a man of faith, at that. Buddha is not a god, but an enlightened person. It is a core tenet of Buddhism that people must deny earthly desires, as the root of suffering is desire, so the idea Buddhists would pray for an outcome in an election is laughable. Jews and Muslims both believe in the same God as Christians, they just use different terms to refer to him. So I'm not sure how their prayers would indicate "their God" is stronger than the "Christian God." And Hinduism is pantheistic, so I'm not sure who'd get the credit. Shiva? Vishnu? Ganesh? Maybe Kali, goddess of Destruction? There is no singluar "Hindu god".

    Moreover, this attitude is what scares me about Sarah Palin. Like this minister, she believes there is one clear God's will in this world, that she has some power to tap in or predict it (such as knowing hat it includes a pipeline and getting Alaskan's "right with God" (conversion)) and that those who oppose her secular position must also oppose God's will. Attitudes like this – that God is measured by the outcome of secular events, or that he/she/it/they, are somehow taking sides in such petty issues – is how we wound up with ethnic cleansing, the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, and even the length of the Civil War, since both sides thought they were on the side of "God's Will."

    If McCain is not to drive this country towards violence, he must act to rein in the storm he has stirred up. People are angry, but misdirecting that anger is akin to pointing a loaded gun at Sen Obama and hoping it doesn't go off. Simply disclaiming the hatred is not enough – he must act forcefully to counteract it. He should be shaken to his core by Rep. Lewis' words and see the very real damage his campaign is doing. If he won't act, then he is not the man of honor he has always claimed to be, but a coward.

    October 11, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  17. Catherine McLeod

    Senator McCain has every opportunity to screen the comments of those participating in his campaign activities, but he obviously prefers to profit from their deep fears and hatred. His "after the fact" admonitions against the malevolence of his support base is as repugnant as their insults to the spirit of God. What makes them dangerous is that they believe their own lies. McCain has made "a pact with the devil" in his last effort to gain the White House.

    October 11, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  18. Helene

    Unbelievable ! But why not call Palin's minister ? He is a witchcraft specialist. He protected her against evil !

    October 11, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  19. John, Florida

    I continue to be amazed by the religious right. Last I checked there was only one God but I guess Mr. Conrad's thinks otherwise. To think that such nonsense comes from a pastor or former pastor is mind boggling. I pray for Mr. Obama's safety because I think all those crazies want him dead. God willing, he will be our next president.

    October 11, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  20. Dave, VT

    From where I sit, Barack is more in conformance with Matthew 25: 34-36 than John is... I'm a Catholic and believe in the Right to Life, but there's more to life than just the first 9 months. Ironic, isn't it, that the party which wraps itself in the "Right to Life" mantle is calling out "off with his head" and "kill him" whenever Barack's name is mentioned.

    For being a preacher, Arnold should know that we're all children of the same God, that He doesn't play favorites among His children, and that His ways are not our ways. I'm guessing that He's able to see what's best for more than just the wealthy, and optimizes our future over more than just one political issue.

    October 11, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  21. Kurt

    I'm an evangelical Christian who is praying for Obama to win. There is a religious left too. We believe that the Bible says a lot more about poverty, workplace safety, etc than just gay marriage and abortion and we are starting to be heard. I just pray the pastor and the crowd have their hearts opened up to hear words that: 1. Obama is a Christian not a muslim: and 2. Even if he was, so what. This is America. Our strength is our diversity.

    October 11, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  22. Chipster

    Christians and Non-Christians all over the world are praying for an Obama victory for very good reasons. People of all faiths, agnostics, and even atheists are all anxious to see an end to the mismanagement and dangerous policies of the Bush years. McCain would simply continue, perhaps even escalate, the destructive policies of the past 7 years. The arrogance of this minister reveals just how misguided he is. We should all pray for him.

    October 11, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  23. Javier

    What I can say is than in my town, all Christian churches with a good percentage of African-Americans in the congregation are praying for Senator Obama and his family's safety. I will raise the hand in my own church ( Dutch Reformed) tomorrow when the prayers of the faithful time comes; and will pray for Barack Obama and his lovely family.

    October 11, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  24. Renee


    October 11, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  25. Joe in Dallas

    Wow, that's the furthest out of line I've seen this election season. Not does the preacher for McCain implore that God help his cause, he actually threatens God with "Better watch out, God. If you let us lose, you could look weak"

    I wonder if this ticks off any of the religious right?

    October 11, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
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