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. Chris B

    I'm a Christian. I pray to my God every night for Barack to win. At this point, I'm starting to think Rev Wright had a point.

    God is looking at America, seeing the hate rallies, seeing our response to health care, our response to flood victims, our obsession with pop stars, our greedy CEO's, and intollerance to other peoples fath's around the world and is probably saying: I hate America.

    October 11, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  2. FactCheck

    It will only be a matter of days before a McCain representative (hi Sarah) delivers a speech on the failures of the Weimar Republic and the rise of a new Reich.

    October 11, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  3. kathleen

    our God...their God? I hope this guy doesn't think he's helping McCain.
    God is God, no matter what he is called. We are all a part of the same creator, and that prayer sounded very selfish, like someone praying for wealth or status. who wins this election will be the will of the PEOPLE and not the will of God.

    October 11, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  4. Independent

    It's good to hear that McCain's right wing extremists think they are the only ones that are Christians. It's getting a little old hearing the McCain capaign have to distance himself from his followers. His follower's actions over the last week validates in my heart for sure that this country needs change.

    The revolution will be televised and led by Barack Obama!!!

    October 11, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  5. David

    Gee, where to begin?

    First, there are billions, not millions, worshipping something other than the Christian deity.

    Second, what kind of preacher is talking polytheism? Doesn't this guy believe there's only one God?

    Lastly, since when did God worry about his "reputation"? Who's he got to impress, the other gods at the gym?

    This preacher is a joke!

    October 11, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  6. Natasha

    Are those who vetted Sarah Palin for VP in charge of vetting rally speakers too?!? That's what it seems like to me.

    What irks me though, however, is that the campaign staff knows what these rally speakers are going to talk about and they still let them go out there, and then later on backtrack from it and try to take the high road. Those thousands of people that showed up at these rallies and those watching at home will most likely only hear these ridiculous inferences and charges, but won't see a trivial, brief statement refuting them. But they probably know that and don't care. They're just saying and doing what they know their supporters want to hear, even if it's bordering on race or patriotism-doubt.

    It's dishonorable. period. Instead of all these dishonorable ads, let's see McCain make an ad refuting the recent hatred and misconceptions...perhaps then, just maybe, I'll regain a smidge of respect for McCain again.

    Palin, on the other hand, has proved that endeavor hopeless.

    October 11, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  7. Adam habib Plano, TX

    John McCain's campaign is how a KKK member would his campaign

    October 11, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  8. Dave

    As a Christian, I find this disgusting. John McCain does not represent Christian ideals. For example, Jesus often spoke of helping the poor. Which candidate listens to those words? This Christian is praying for Obama.

    October 11, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  9. Andy from Ohio but living in Texas

    At first I thought this was funny. It's looking like Obama is going to win the election, and I've watched McCain supporters whip themselves into a frenzy in an attempt to turn the tide. But the more I thought about what I was going to write, the more I realized that this is actually very terrifying. I'm a devout baptist with a deep faith in the Almighty, and I can tell you that, as sure as I breath, he doesn't care one iota who wins this election. Turning this into a Holy War by framing an Obama victory as an afront to God is both blasphemous and profane. I saw a brief moment of humanity and statesmanship last week when McCain called for respect in this election and dealt with some misguided and overzealous folks at a townhall meeting, but I don't think he's in charge of his own campaign anymore. While Palin and his surrogates run around this country and pour fire on the fear, rage, and frustration of the right-wing base, McCain caught a glimpse of the product of those efforts and looked genuinely surprised and dismayed. He's not at the helm anymore. His campaign has taken on a life of its own, and I don't think a few gestures from him can control it anymore. This is serious, people, I'm not afraid of an Obama victory, I'm afriad for Obama and his family should he win. There are racist nuts out there already, but whipping up the rage and fear of these religious fundamentalist in this country is only going to promote domestic extremists to do something dangerous. We do need to all calm down. This is an election for the President of the United States of America, and it is important. But this is not, Is Not, IS NOT, a referendum on the God Almighty, on Christianity, or our eternal souls. If Obama wins the election, God will continue to be all knowing and all loving. In fact, I have to point out the sheer arrogance of thinking that we mere mortals could somehow dimish God in any way by electing another merre mortal to any political office. This isn't just getting ridiculous; it's getting downright scary.

    October 11, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  10. Di

    I'm Christian and I want an Obama win. How very... un-Christian of me.

    October 11, 2008 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  11. Lola

    McCain just can't seem to keep controversial people out of his campaign can he? I almost feel sorry for him, almost.

    O'BIDEN 08!

    October 11, 2008 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  12. Barry

    This is disgusting.... McCain really needs to stop these loonies from speaking at his rallies.

    October 11, 2008 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  13. Brian

    This is one of the most disheartening things I have read in a long time. May God have mercy on us all.

    October 11, 2008 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  14. danielktaylor

    this christian wants obama to win

    October 11, 2008 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  15. Lisa

    Here we go again, another "christian" telling me I'm not a christian because I don't follow their "club" rules. When God makes his judgement the churches will be the first place he will go.

    October 11, 2008 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  16. Nervous in Texas

    Way to go McCain, you've got the ball rolling and now there's no stop. Honestly what did you think would happen. Your right wing nut jobs are so ready to pounce and you've just given them more encourangement. The rest of the world sees this and are amzed tht in this day and age, we still have this type of behavior in a country that's suppose to be the leader of the free world. Is it only free if we believe in Christian values and not for anyone else and of course I'm sure are skin have to be like yours right? If something happens to Obama, it will be on you Mr. McCain. You need to stop it now bc you know the that most of these folks don't have the common intelligence to stop their way of thinking. A nut job will do something very drastic. Put a stop to it and do it stronger than what you are doing now. This needs to stop.

    October 11, 2008 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  17. Melanie

    Republicans are quickly becoming theparty limited strictly to uneducated, white judgemental christians (rather than the many open minded Christians). Nothing wrong with being any of those things really but not a great way to win elections in a diverse country like our (thank god... or buddha, isis, whoever...) is!

    October 11, 2008 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  18. Bruce

    McCain/Palin have become a threat to national security. Something must be done.

    October 11, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  19. Stan

    How very christian of him.

    October 11, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  20. politicallyconcerned

    Sad, but not surprising.

    October 11, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  21. Obama08

    This is why there is such a thing as separation of church and state.
    I don't want religion influencing my government.

    October 11, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  22. Howard

    It sickens me, as an American, to see just how much hatred and bigotry is still present in America. I had hoped we had come further than this in the past 45 years.

    October 11, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  23. New Voter for Obama

    Oh come on!!!, we're going back to the " if you don't support the Iraq war you're unpatriotic" gimmick.
    Whatever will they come up with next?

    October 11, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  24. Brian

    And they say al Quayda is nuts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 11, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  25. Michigan Mike

    It would actually be in McCain's favor to vote today instead of 3 weeks from now. Every day that goes by McCain and his sidekick just dig the hole a little deeper. By the way, I usually vote Republican. My only alternative is to vote for Ron Paul – almost as a protest vote.....3 weeks from now. Regardless, may we emerge as a greater nation in 2009.

    October 11, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
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