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. Gwendolyn H. Barry

    You know, McCain-Palin has sown these seeds and now they will reap whatever dark harvest comes for them .... and the rest of us.

    I suggest that folks go on over to the NYTimes Opinions and read Frank Rich. He's put forth an awareness of how dark, how dangerous this campaign has become. Rep. John Lewis is quite right...whatever 'maverick' or politi-honorableness John McCain once held, he has abandoned it. And history will orphan him from his precious political honor, service and leadership. I'm angry too. That means I'm frightened. For my candidate. For his wife and his two little daughters. I am deeply ashamed of the Republican Party, of Palin rhetoric, of John McCain's lack of leadership over his own campaign and of those frightened folks attending his rallies. Deeply. And if anyone dare question my loyalty to my country for saying so....SHAME ON THEM. How quickly we forget the funerals of the 60's! Deeply ashamed, I am.

    Gwendolyn H. Barry, Lake Worth, FL

    October 11, 2008 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  2. Senobia

    republicans as a whole tend to be the biggest hypocrites. who of faith would think that christianity would be mutually exclusive to republicans only. and they definitely need prayer if they think God
    would answer a self serving prayer like that. the bible says Jesus walked among all types of people. and he said when you help do it as if you were doing it for God. faith without deeds means nothing. WWJD.

    October 11, 2008 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  3. Vito Corleone

    Fools. If there is only one God, what has he to fear that muslims and hindus think their gods better than him? If the Christian God is right, than he is not concerned with world opinion. He'll smite as he feels spiting is right. This election is about men, not gods. Obama is the only sane choice.

    October 11, 2008 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  4. Steph

    McCain and especially Palin brought this on themselves. Racial and religious fears among the uninformed voters run high. McCain and Palin have done nothing but say Barack is "scary" or "different". They say we can't trust him. So, what do you think the ignorant or extremist people will do with those words from the republican candidate?

    October 11, 2008 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  5. jack zucker

    Can someone identify this minister because I would like to speak to him personally. I think Jesus would have a slightly different view of this minister's racist agenda.

    October 11, 2008 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  6. Amy

    So...did I read that incorrectly, or does this joker think that "Hindu" is the name of a god?

    How special.

    October 11, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  7. Anonymous


    October 11, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  8. CC

    McSame is constantly appologizing for things his own people have done which clearly shows he is NOT in control of his own campaign...looking just like the Bush presidency where most of his buddies are either locked up or in court.

    October 11, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  9. GK

    What a moron. 'Their God ????'. In these troubled times, people seek peace and solace, and recognition of the fact that ALL GODS ARE ONE !!!!!! Period.
    And these people, the so-called pastors and priests go ahead and divide people, scare them and try to shake their belief.
    DEPLORABLE !!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 11, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  10. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia in CA

    The crazy just keep getting more and more crazier.

    Anything to win, eh, McCant?

    God forbid someone who is not a Christian vote for Senator Obama.

    Guess what, McCant? I bet there are going to be some misguided "non-christians" voting for your sorry ticket too.

    What a ridiculous farce the McPalin ticket has become!

    October 11, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  11. jmf

    FYI, there are also plenty of Christians praying for Obama to win

    October 11, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  12. vp

    Politics is politics but defamation of character is something that is against the law. Maybe someone should enlighten the minister as well, that it is a sin to lie in the eyes of God . Shame on you. This is so pathetic that it makes me throw up. Sue him

    October 11, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  13. anne

    I know a lot of Christians who want Obama to win too!!
    Hate and fear belong to republicans, not good Christians who believe in making the world a better place and who will be voting democrat this year.

    Christians for Obama!!!!!!

    October 11, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  14. jaya khanal

    I cannot believe that a Pastor is so threaten about other beautiful religion like Hindu , Buddisht and Muslim. To the pastor "There is one religion the religion of LOVE" and there is "One Language the language from the Heart." Why would Jesus all loving would not like who see him in a Hindu god and Jesus in Alah. There is one God and he is Omnipresent. '
    In the name of religion why do people who call themselves Pastor give such message to divide the world. We are all one and all loving being. There is ONE Race the Race of Humanity.
    All religions has the same ten commandments only in a different order, and given to them in different books beside the Bible, example Gita, Koran.
    Let us pray for these people's ignorance.

    October 11, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  15. Harry

    Ah ah ah, you know a race is over when the losing side has nothing left but pray that the opponent loses.

    That is the definition of desperate loser.

    October 11, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  16. mello in New Mexico

    Have millions of Americans forgotten that this country was founded upon the principal of "freedom of religion" and that the founding fathers in their great wisdom purposefully set about creating a clear separation of church and state? As one of the many "non-Christian" Americans who has voted in every election since I turned 21, and dedicated my life to improving conditions in this country for ALL Americans, I am deeply insulted by these comments and the negative rhetoric that spills from Sarah Palin, who has less understanding of the principles on which this country was founded than most immigrants to our land, and the McCain campaign on a daily basis. If they are elected they will distort and abuse the public trust on a level that makes Bush's excesses pale by comparison.

    October 11, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  17. George Pulin

    Therefore God wants McCain to be president? Interesting logic.

    October 11, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    I find it ridiculous that the minister states that non-Christians are praying for Barack Obama to win. I pray for this minister because he is misguided since there are miliions of Americans such as myself who are Christians who are voting for Barack Obama. We are tired of the Christian right and its notion that only Republicians are Christians. America is a country of religious freedom and as an American Citizen, I pray everyday that Barack Obama wins because of the lack of tolerance of the Republican Party for anyone who is not cut out of the same mode as the Minister above. As a true independent, I intend to vote for a man of God by the name of Barack Obama. He is a Christian man. John McCain's supporters can continue to try to give the notion that he is a Muslim/Arab which is what that minister intended to imply. I will pray for the minister that God forgives him for his misguidance and his lack of ignorance of others who do not share his religious conviction. It is evident that he doesn't realize that there are many Americans who are Jewish and Muslim who love the country just as much as he does and may find his words hurtful. Thank God for our founding fathers and others who came to this country who gave us the right to worship in spirit and in truth. God Bless America and its religious freedom!

    October 11, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  19. Jay

    More of the same McCain. If you cant control people who speak at your rallies, how can you run a country?

    October 11, 2008 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  20. darrell

    Typical. This campaign has turned into a real disaster for McCain. They just don't know when to shut up.

    October 11, 2008 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  21. Mita Havlick

    Yes, as a non-Christian US citizen, I want Obama to win because he believes in the sanctity of all faiths. Oh and he also believes in the separation of church and state...

    October 11, 2008 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  22. Sheila

    I mean, do these people watch the news or read the paper. I just don't get it. Barack is more spiritual then McCain. He is a Christian. He was born here, his mother is from Kansas, and he hardly knew his father, who was from Kenya. That is not an Arab country!

    October 11, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  23. JerZeeGrl

    My mind is racing with a million thoughts, feeling frustrated and utterly disgusted. The Republican Party has reached a new low in this Presidential Campaign. Desperate times lead to desperate measures which can lead to dangerous terrain. To be fair, McCain has been consistent in his acts of desperation – his choice of VP (to satisfy the “agents of intolerance”) and his canceling of the campaign and 1st debate to save the economy.

    Now we have a new type of desperation. However, when it comes to McCain, desperate times does NOT translate to be the global economic tsunami that is currently affecting each and every American. It's not home foreclosures that are rendering families homeless and penniless. It’s not the hardships that Joe Six-pack and the hockey mom's are facing, where on any given day they need to decide whether they will pay the electric bill or put food on the table.

    Nope – that's not the desperate times that McCain sees. Because if he was visionary, a patriot, a maverick he would invest some time in gathering a team of economic advisors to come up with something, ANYTHING can make us feel safer and more secure about our economic future. Even if the ideas were not the best, at the most it would seem as if he were serious about being president. It would give the impression that he was making attempts to be ready to take over on January 21st, 2009. At the very least it would give us the impression that he cared about the American people.

    Instead, McCain's interpretation of desperate times is very different from the rest of us. For McCain, desperate times are the polls that have him trailing Sen. Obama. In his desperation, he has hit rock bottom. All that McCain said he is, HE has proven contrary. But we should have seen this coming. Wasn't after the RNC that one of his advisors said that "it’s not about the issues”? Obviously for McCain it really isn’t.

    If Sen. Obama’s affiliations were a real concern it would have been an issue from day one. Instead, McCain was primarily focused at Sen. Obama’s inexperience. When Palin was nominated – miraculously, the experience issue, was no longer one. Instead, the McCain/Palin ticket hijacked the “Change” slogan, dismissed the Troopergate investigation and embraced teen pregnancy. If only Jamie-Lynn had waited a little bit longer, she would’ve been such a big hit at the RNC!

    Now in the mist of a global economic crisis, the Republican camp has all but given up on an economic plan because it’s easier to attack a man’s character than his intellect. They said so themselves. The McCain camp knows what it does and who it does it to. While the results are not shocking, it is sad to see that there is still so much hate and distrust among our citizenship. It’s repulsive to see and hear McCain and Palin fan the flames of fear. How can anyone call themselves patriotic and a Christian when hate and violence are completely opposed to the fundamentals of these ideals? How can you claim you want a democracy when you reject difference? How can you call yourself a Christian, a patriot, an American when you hear someone yell “kill him”, and you don’t reject that?

    I’m tired of the intentional divisiveness, rhetoric and spin that McCain continues to spew out. McCain has no place in this election. Running for president is an honor that is bestowed to the running mates. McCain has recklessly abandoned the principals of our democracy. He has lost that honor when he lost his (“maverick”) voice by following those that shamelessly derailed him in his first run for President against GW Bush. We need someone different. Someone positive. Someone who believes in the American dream, who is living the American dream, and can continue providing us the American dream so our children can have a chance to live the dream as well.

    October 11, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  24. dan - N.M.

    This election will test the true religious convictions of Catholics and other Christians: Abortion.

    October 11, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  25. Sue in MI

    I am tired of the fake outrage from McCain and Palin and Cindy. Did you hear McCain call Obama a "good and decent American" yesterday? No, he did not. He was informed that there was concern about the rallies inciting violence, and he took the least step he could to seem as if he cared. Ha! Today Palin did everything but call Obama a baby-killer. Sure am glad they now respect him.
    I think the Flyers' fans spoke for many of us today...Sarah, go away and take care of your "precious" children and your state (or do they want you back?)

    October 11, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
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