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. MD in Oklahoma

    I wonder what God told him about Pres Bush?

    October 11, 2008 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  2. John Peterson

    Sounds like someone is clinging to their guns and their religion.

    October 11, 2008 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  3. Jan

    The Right has gotten out of hand . I'm Christian, I'm white and I support Barack Obama . Grow up , your antics sicken me .

    Obama/Biden 08 &12

    October 11, 2008 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  4. Obama for me

    For God's sake! What a load of BS
    God is NOT on the republicans' side! They do not own religion.

    October 11, 2008 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  5. Arvin

    Incidents like these instill a very negative tone to the political scene. Furthermore, these statements are not what a true Christian would say. Jesus' teachings do not condone hatred, bigotry, and discrimination. If McCain is an honorable man, he should never have tolerated such un-Christian acts. Shame on him!

    October 11, 2008 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  6. BC

    Is there anyone still supporting McCain who is not a total nut-case?

    October 11, 2008 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  7. Bruce in Oregon

    What a sick comment! Typical of a McCain-Palin campaign event. I am sickened by comments made during their campaign events recently! I am a christian, and I will be voting for Barack Obama!

    October 11, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  8. Trent Dillard

    These McCain supporter's just can't stop, can they. They just can't help themselves. Arnold Conrad, the former pastor of Grace Evangelical Free Church in Davenport, politicized God and Christianity. Way to go! Not only do you not understand the letter of the law of God, you actually had parishioners. WOW!

    October 11, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  9. Linda

    Why does McCain attract these kinds of people to his campaign. A pastor believing christians worhship the only true God? How can a Pastor have this kinds of hate for others? Why are McCain supporters so hateful? I'm affraid for Obama. Please God, If Obama is going to Die for being The President of America, Please Make him Lose. At Least he will be alive for his two young daughters. America will get what it deserve.

    October 11, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  10. Susan, Overland Park, Kansas

    The McCain campaign has taken a volitile and extremely dangerous turn. I urge everyone, no matter your party affiliation, to contact your elected state officials immediately and demand they put pressure on McCain to pour water on this fire that his campaign has set ablaze.
    This has gone beyond politics, beyond the pale and beyond belief.
    Is this what America stands for? Is this the face of America?
    Ugly. Incendiary. Offensive. Treacherous.
    America....contact anyone and everyone in your state and let it be known that you will not tolerate this hate-mongering!

    October 11, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  11. Danni


    October 11, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  12. David

    The McCain statement is as troubling as the pastor's crazy prayer.

    I don't think the pastor made any reference to Obama's religious background, which is really no different than McCain's. Just because Hindus in India want Obama to win; just because Buddhists in Tibet want Obama to win; just because atheists in Venezuala want a sane, intelligent President in the U.S. doesn't in any way mean that Obama is a Hindu Buddhist Atheist.

    McCain's statement just furthers the crazy perception that Obama is "other." The really troubling thing about the pastor, and what McCain should've condemned, is that he said pretty clearly that Obama is opposed by God. Such bullhockey is blasphemous.

    What arrogance for this pastor to claim to know the will of God! What incendiary audaciousness for McCain to claim that because there are Buddhists out there who favor Obama that Obama must thus be Buddhist.

    October 11, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  13. montanamama

    I just watched Palin being booed at the NHL game. No one should condone this kind of behavior either. Unfortunately, like I said before, McCain and Palin have set the stage...and today, she was in the center of that stage.
    Hopefully, this will not continue. Let's rise above the examples given by McCain and Palin. Let's show the world who Americans can be...not what they already think we are!

    October 11, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  14. Chris

    What ever happened to the concept of separation of church and state?
    These Christian wingnuts need a refresher course in seventh grade civics.

    October 11, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  15. Joe

    The McCain campaign becomes more disgusting by the day. Here's a news flash. I'm a Christian. I love America. And, in part because of these things, I STRONGLY support Barack Obama for President.

    The GOP loves to rail against what they call the liberal elite. What about these elitist religious view? Very sad. Seriously not very Christ like (at least in my opinion).

    October 11, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  16. Helen

    Does anybody besides Sarah Palin think that God has an investment in this election? It's ludicrous.

    October 11, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  17. Just Me

    Where does these people come from at McCain's rallies. Evidently they are influenced by something McCain has said or done to make them feel comfortable enough to make statement like this one and the one the police officer and attendees at John McCains rally has done so openly.

    I'm a christian for Obama. I just asked that God's will be done. Is this guy really a pastor?

    October 11, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  18. Rosemarie

    This is appalling!!! What a perverse distortion of religion. McCain and Palin brought this on themselves, inciting this behavior at their rallies. They can both slither back to their burrows where they came from. When they are ready to evolve with the rest of the humans, they can come back and join civilized society.

    October 11, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  19. lovable liberal

    Smart, forward-thinking people everywhere of all religions are hoping for the election of a U.S. President with calm, intelligent, insightful leadership. That's why they prefer Obama to McCain.

    October 11, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  20. Obama is for UNITING of the PEOPLE

    SO we are to believe McCain had no ideal this preacher was going to say these false non fact things about Obama‘s religion? ops......I guess we are that dumb. That's what's wrong with the Republicans, they think we are STUPID. This is their typical kind of detraction for the DRAMA KING/QUEEN…..new type of distraction for the next 20+ days. It’s time for us as Christians to hold these Preacher accountable for using us for their own personal political agenda. God made us all smart enough to let him be our guide to know who to vote for.

    Abortions has nothing to do with the financial economic woes 98% we suffer with today. What happen to all sins in the bible....liars, cheaters, gossipers, false speaking of tongues and adultery, ect…, why are they not important issues for our Preachers who want to tell us who to vote for, and does any of these pastor‘s believe in witch craft or speaking of tongues? These are the things as a Christian I NEED my pastor for. God give me enough sense to know who to vote for. As long as my pastor has a church, he earn a wage, my financial woes are totally different then his. I have to vote for my finances.

    This is just another ACT of detraction from the DRAMA KING AND QUEEN…..so we DON’T focus on the bad ECONOMY. I will vote for Obama because he has ran a excellent campaign and has never BEEN as negative with religion or character attacks as McCain.

    Obama/Biden 08

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

    I live in Davenport and am absolutely shocked at this news report. I am a white christian female and an Obama supporter. This is ridiculous evangelical mumbo jumbo! My whole family is voting for him. This kind of divisiveness and hatred HAS TO STOP from the evangelicals and the republican party who is calling him a terrorist. This is very dangerous for our country and for the parties involved.

    October 11, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  22. Jim

    As a minister and follower of Jesus, I am both deeply saddened and frightened. I cannot imagine any one who really understands Jesus' core teachings saying such things. No wonder so many find Jesus interesting and attractive and Christians and the Christian ChMurch so distasteful. When I am asked if I am a "Christian," I tend to say, "No, but I am a follower of Jesus." The anger and prejudice now surfacing truly disturbs me. The man who wondered the other day how McCain could be losing to Obama really meant, "How can you, a white man, be losing to a black man." May God save us from those who are racists and who call themselves Christians!

    October 11, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  23. Republican AND Catholic for Obama

    Mr. Conrad...SHAME ON YOU! WWJD?? Smearing the name of an honorable Christian man..what's wrong with you! Instead...you should be praying for all the teenage sex that's going on...

    OBAMA/BIDEN '08, '12

    October 11, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  24. Liliana Wisconsin

    Perhaps that is the reason he is a FORMER pastor. McCain surrounds himself with losers & hippocrits. Im so sick of his rhetoric, he and that dizzy Palin have been consistently invoking anger, hatred and blatant RACISM. There is no way Obama should denounce Lewis. Should they both, (McCain and Palin ) be taking medications? Do they think we are not paying attention and they can say anything they want and make fools of us fellow "prisoners." I guess they and their followers are the "chosen ones" Any one who votes for them has to have their heads examined. They don't have a base they have a MOB. It is a scary time for the american people!!!!

    October 11, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  25. much much prefer moose, polar bears, and wolves to Palin

    It's TRUE– there are millions of non-Christians praying for Obama's success, and there are millions of Christians praying along with them.

    McBush and Palin would be a mean, bumbling, disastrous DC duo. May God (of any and all religious renderings) protect us from them. Please.

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