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. Hilary B

    First they want to divide people based on race, now it's religion?

    October 11, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  2. Julie

    I take offense to anyone saying that non Christians are voting for Senator Obama. I have been a Christain for many years and feel that Senator Obama knows the Lord so much more than John McCain does.
    What happens is although the Republican do have many good Christians behind them they have the ones that think they are "doing God work" and basically smear anyone that gets in their way.
    ROE vs. WADE has been a "tool" that the right uses. I do not believe in abortion and I also do not believe in baring false witness, in which you will see are the same offense in God's eyes, I am refering to the Ten Commandments. See you cannot be against one and doing the other or your sin is just a bad. Sarah Palin claims to be a Christian...no Christian I knows so intentionally misleads and lies in order to acheive worldly goods. God does the judging not the right winged Christian conservative...although they will answer for what they have done when their judgement comes!

    October 11, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  3. God Help Us ALL

    One Word


    Can we please stop this, please..... CNN can you please stop covering this type of information. I know it plays to the lust of our culture, but this is getting out of coutrol. And it is incumbent upon the media to cover this from just one side: Denouce the ideolgy without giving the story life.

    October 11, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  4. Matthew

    one thing i CANNOT stand which republicans always do is when they refer to the president as the commander in chief. do they not realize this title is only in reference to the president being the leader of the US military?

    besides commander in chief, a president must also serve as chief executive and chief administrator among a few others. please republicans, if you are going to criticize Obama's readiness to be president, you better know what being president means.

    October 11, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  5. Jeanine G

    McCain will have a lot to regret after this campaign. He will regret that he allowed his honorable reputation to be tarnished for political gain in such a shabby fashion, he will regret if anyone is harmed because of the vitriol he has allowed to be tossed by his camp, he will regret that he allowed his camp to make this a religious, racist crusade filled with foot soldiers brimming with hate, misinformation, and paranoia.

    McCain will feel shame....eventually...I hope.

    October 11, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  6. stephanie

    This is just down right sick. What kind of man of the church is he.

    October 11, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  7. I am voting for "That one"

    Here we go again!

    October 11, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  8. Jocely

    John McCain and Sarah Pelin tell these people Obama
    Obama is teorist
    Obama is an Arab
    Obama is not one of us
    Obama can not be trusted
    These people at your rilly threat Obama because you LEAD THEM TO IT

    October 11, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  9. DJ in Colorado

    praying for God to consider his or her own reputation in deciding who is going to decide our election is beyond belief. God gave humans this thing called free will. we will cast our votes and decide the election. if there is a fraud, it is the people's fault – not God's. God comes into play in the afterlife when we have to answer to him or her for our sins. and another thing, God is different things to different people. christianity is not the only way to heaven. christians – the sky's the limit all in the name of HATE! for shame!

    In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.
    Mohandas Gandhi

    Obama /Biden '08, '12

    October 11, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  10. paulman

    If memory serves correct, the Minnesota voter didn't ask if Barack Obama was an Arab – she stated that Barack Obama was an Arab, and then Sen. John McCain took the microphone back from her and said repeated "no" a couple of times.

    October 11, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  11. Sarah

    These people are really sick. I don't understand their belief that God only hears their prayers.

    October 11, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  12. Kaye- Jacksonville FL

    Holy Sh....!!!! This campaign and those attached to it are really starting to scare me...I mean REALLY....how can anyone with a rational mind comprehend this sort of stuff?? Words can't describe – I'm blown away...

    October 11, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  13. TheIntellect

    These evangelical radicals are so ignorant, Hindu is not a god, it's a noun referring to people practicing Hinduism...

    October 11, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  14. King of Iron Fist

    Yeah I think I'm going to distance myself from anyone that supports McCain publicly. This was the final straw.

    October 11, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  15. Drew Hecht

    Goes to show how some people in this nation are just as radical as some of the people we are fighting. All in the vain of God.

    October 11, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  16. Jimmy from New York

    WHAT??? They think their God is better than our God?? We better vote for McCain to show them whose God is better.

    Pretty soon we'll be calling it "the holy city of Washington" like it's Najaf or Mosul....

    Enough with this God crap already...

    October 11, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  17. Kelly

    WOW Now that is a new low!!! If McCain wins America is sinking to that low as well.

    October 11, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  18. political teen

    really? this is what they are resorting to? president obama is a christian man ! he is what the world needs to recover from bush which gave the united states such a tarnished reputation.

    obama/biden 08

    October 11, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  19. Luke

    I'm beyond disgusted and outraged. And Joe Lieberman should be too. Surely you don't believe that the Republican campaign staff didn't vet this minister's remarks/prayer before he uttered them. In other words, they were approved.

    October 11, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  20. Frank

    Jeesh, c'mon already. What Palin and McCain are doing (and God only knows what and why) has turned me off so much that I just may not vote.

    Even if I do vote, it will no longer be for McCain. This is just bordering on ridiculous. One attack, then another....at they just throwing things out there to see what sticks.

    Palin is (of late) showing her self to be a little teenage mall girl. She is 44, grow up. McCain should reign her in. Just because she says says things and he doesn't, doesn't mean the public doesn't know it's from McCain.

    Palin is that creepy unpopular school girl coming back for revenge. She makes me (lately) to be ashamed to be a republican. She is acting like a shrill Dem.

    McCain, you've lost my vote. TALK TO ME ABOUT ISSUES. And when I mean talk about it, I don't mean mentioning it and then attacking Obubba there, I mean TELL ME WHAT U ARE GOING TO DO IN DETAIL.

    October 11, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  21. George

    John McCain has lost all control of his campaign. It's time for him to hang it up. This is just wrong. Now they're putting God in the middle of this political mess. I'm not running against the McCain-Palin ticket yet i find myself just frustrated with the stuff they're doing. This is going too far.

    October 11, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  22. David

    These rallies are becoming disgraceful and un-Christian. Obama is a Christian just as is McCain. People quit being so ridiculous in your behavior and words.

    This minister is fear-mongering and where does he get his information from. Those other religions he is referring to are legitimate and does not make those people who practice them any less human or worthy than us.

    What a poor example this minister is of the Christian faith. I will pray for him and pray that God will forgive this minster for the ill that he speaks.

    October 11, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  23. Mary

    ....and there are a lot of Christians praying that Obama wins!

    October 11, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  24. Corey

    Its strange to me that the McCain campaign tries to distance themselves from this and other recent comments. Its as if they don't recognize who their base is, and now that they do, they're a little frightened.

    October 11, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  25. PD

    Does the McCain vet any of their speakers beforehand? Do they ask to see speeches in advance? Do they provide guidelines for what is or is not appropriate to say? This smacks of the usual incompetence and ugliness for which we've come to know the McCain campaign. What disgusting remarks. Christians everywhere should be deeply ashamed when they hear this kind of intolerance.

    October 11, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
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