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. Kevin

    Can you say "Barack Obama is a Christian?"

    What happened to Religious Freedom anyway? That only applied to the colonists who didn't wanna worship God as the Queen wished?

    October 11, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  2. Arjun

    Obviously this Evangelical Minister is highly deluded about the real God. Their is one God who is experienced by all humanity via the the specific filters of its cultures and religions. One God sustains the spiritual basis of each human via its diverse religious perspectives. One God that has manifested his energy in infinite ways across cutlures, faith and time. We all pray to the same God in many ways. This is the Hindu view.

    October 11, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  3. ken

    john now it's god who is on your side and obama has all the other non gods running his campain, which means that if you belive in god america's god, then you must be for mc cain, and all other gods are pushing obama, how more iratic can this campain get, lets stop and think about the last 2 weeks , mc cain fails the first 2 debates ,sarah, also looses,the campain has jumped all over the place , every day it's something new and so far fetched , there was a rule that no one talks about the familys , there off limits, then cindy goes after obama useing her son in iraq, who was off limits, then sarah uses her son as a tool for abortions and why not to ever have one , this was the same sareh that used her daughter in the same way for reasons to not have abortions, then they show a young man 1 day who will marry her but not acording to him, and this is a woman who belives that the comeing of christ will be in her life time, folks be scared , be very scared. ken

    October 11, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  4. dariusz from london

    shame shame shame... another racist comment from someone who calls himself Christian. would Jesus say that ?! NOOO!!!

    October 11, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  5. Grant E in MD

    Clearly, there is a deep cultural / Religious divide in the body politic. I thinks it's time for the candidates to stop refighting the cultural wars of the 1960s and the Vietnam war. We need some serious civil discussion about the policies which will take us forward from here. This charcter debasement on the part of all parties should stop. Keep in mind that we cannot simply divide ourselve geographically into CaliforiniaCopia and Jesusland. We all share this same space. Collectively we need to "Shape Up" and get past these cultural-religious wars. All presidential candidates need to lead us there.

    October 11, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  6. willpen

    McCain's futile attempts at distancing himself from the fray are extremely transparent and most probably useless. It is time to pay the piper Johnny Boy...

    October 11, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  7. Natalie

    That minister will be harshly punished by God, because he knows how he is manipulating people under the religious guise. He knows that what he is saying is wrong and misleading, but he is taking advantage of his position as a minister of God. He will definitely be punished!!!!!

    October 11, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  8. Indiana Dave

    I am a Christian, Republican, White male in his 50's and I do not understand how some people will refuse to face the reality. The republican party was a great party until George Bush took this country to the wrong path. If Obama offers some new ideas, we as American should think about this country first and help him get the job done. I worry more about how I am going to pay my bills and what is left on my 401K than who Obama worked with 15 years ago.

    October 11, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  9. carol sullivan

    its time for palin to start speaking in tongue oh i guess thats not in her planned written speech rove and that boy chaney vice president \need to write that in and also 12 republicans and just a few democrats voted on her quilty as charged in moose country lets see if you prit this

    October 11, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  10. sarah (not palin, duh)

    hold it, hold it...

    "non christians were PRAYING"

    right. 'nuff said.

    October 11, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  11. Michael


    How offensive that should be to any real Christian in America.

    Waiting for the same repudiation that McCain has asked for from Obama on Lewis' comment.

    October 11, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  12. Indy2008

    Well I am a Christian, I don't believe in abortion, gay rights or any of that but I am voting for Obama. I believe mentally he is the most stable of the 2 canidates and he has the best economic plan. He also has the better VP canidate. So for someone to say that because you are not voting for Obama you are not a christian is just down right wrong.

    October 11, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  13. Licha

    Just want him to know that a lot of Christians are praying for Obama to win, me included. Why would God want to honor McCain and Palin with a win after the way they have been conducting themselves in their rallies. Jesus told us that we are to love our "brother" as ourselves and the way they have slung mud at OBama does not show any love for another Christian. Maybe when those that claim to be Christians start acting like Christians God will hear their prayers. My hunch is that Obama will win.

    October 11, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  14. Tom

    It just keeps getting better doesn't it! What kind of people are behind this campaign, they just don't get it. The are looking more fearful by the hour. Mr. McCain, you can stop this if you want...have you no honor left. This pastor should be praying for the people of this country who are losing their homes and jobs and need food. This has gotten beyond sad.

    Obama/Biden 2008 – Yes, God loves us too!

    October 11, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  15. Lindy from indiana

    Oh Please!!!!
    This guy must be of his rocker! I suppose he calls himself a christian.
    What a joke. He should be ashamed of himself and so should the people who buy into his nonsense!!

    October 11, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  16. John Alamogordo New Mexico

    the lyrics of that old Bob Dylan tune
    With God on Our Side
    seem appropriate for this article
    google them

    October 11, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  17. Michael, Port Hueneme

    Just to let Pastor Conrad in on a secret, I am a U.S. Army Airborne vet, a police officer in southern California and a Christian who is voting for Barack Obama. I do not want any more of my friends to die in a needless war in Iraq and want us to finish in Afghanistan what should have been done already. I am tired of so called Christians like the good Pastor Conrad "speaking" for real non hate filled Christians like myself. You and Gov. Palin need to start remembering the golden rule.

    Obama-Biden '08-'12

    October 11, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  18. MattZ

    Does anybody really believe that the separation of church and state is taken seriously any more? I, for one, doubt it.

    Does anybody really think that ANY good can come from viewing the presidential race through a religious POV? I'm very skeptical.

    After a bit of thought, do you think that the same blind faith/fundamentalist mentality most religions espouse leads to the same sort of incredibly dogmatic policy decisions (like "trickle-down" economics and abstinence-only education, which are dead-ends that have failed to yield any fruit in real life, despite their ideological appeal?) I'm pretty much convinced of it at this point.

    Maybe if you're willing to accept such nonsense in one arena of your life, you're more willing to accept it in others, and maybe that's led to this shocking low point in US politics. Maybe that's what is causing ridiculous arguments like the one furthered by this holy, and therefore, influential, man. Maybe Arnold Conrad doesn't really know what's best for America, since he seems to think that the concept of god is some sort of pissing contest. Maybe it's actually "God" that's bigger than the trivialities of the presidential race, and people should instead vote for the policies that will improve their lives and move the US forward once more.

    I'll leave it to you to guess who I think that person is.

    October 11, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  19. Sifa

    Too bad. I am a Christian and believe, I want an Obama WIN this November. This man should not be called pastor. God is not one to instigate violence or hatred. So, spare the phony christian rtetorics.

    October 11, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  20. sarah (not palin, duh)

    because if you aren't christian, even though its been around THOUSANDS of years less than some of the other established religions, you MUST be evil.

    oh, my.... save me SOMEONE from the far right. its scaring me.

    October 11, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  21. GERRY


    October 11, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  22. Doris,Memphis,TN

    This is not true! I am a Christian and I support and love
    Barack Hussein Obama. I pray every night that God will shield and protect him from people like the ones that I saw in the McCain rallies. Thank God that most Americans want to work for
    peace, prosperity and acceptance.

    October 11, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  23. lynn latham

    As a Canadian (Christian) I am watching your march to the elections with dismay and total disbelief! At one point, the contest was interesting, even exciting to watch. (Our elections are pretty dull, for the most part) However, the recent downward turn of the republican campaign is downright terrifying. To an outsider, it screams of hatred and even seems to incite and encourage violence. How can this happen in a civilized country? Political rhetoric? I don't think so... these feelings have to be in the candidates' hearts or heads or they wouldn't express them so vehemently. I shudder to think what will happen if the republicans actually get elelcted. Stand back, people, and try to take an unbiased look at what's happening!

    October 11, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  24. Dee

    What about all of the Christians in this country praying to God that we don't end up with John McCain and Sarah Palin?

    October 11, 2008 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  25. Crystal

    Well, duh. Of course religious right groups are praying for Obama's defeat. The same groups prayed for Gore's defeat, Clinton's, Dukasis, etc. This is nothing new. But to that speaker, I would like to say, Shame on you. I am a non-Christian republican, who will be voting for McCain. I am a pagan, feminist, pro-choice republican, and at some point, the religious right has to realize that they are not the only members of the republican party. I am optimistic that eventually my party will be more inclusive, and that someday we will have a female, pro-choice nominee for president. To me, Sara Palin, though far from that candidate, is at least a step in the right direction.

    October 11, 2008 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79