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. Seminarystudent

    THank God there are also a lot of wonderful Christians who support Obama and are insulted and horrified by the homophobic, hateful, and divisive venom from the religious right. It's not the Christianity or God I know or will recognize.

    Thank God that there are people who like Obama represent inclusiveness, justice, and bringing people together so we can get through these very difficult times.

    October 11, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  2. Andy W

    This man's comments are uninformed and irresposible. My suggestion for him is to familiarize himself with Christian scripture and glean some understanding. "His" God sends rain upon both good and evil and uses all leaders to further his will. Then, I would suggest he pray for one of his fellow publicly professed Christians, Barack Obama, and seek God's will and favor for his life.

    October 11, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  3. odiethecat

    McCain's intros have included Obama's middle name twice, and the the campaign says that they don't condone it. Then these remarks today, and of course the campaign repudiates it again. Talk about double talk – they get their slime message out and try to redeem themselves as well. Get back on your Low Road Express and keep driving.

    October 11, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  4. Dave from MD

    Wow!!!! Just wow. When will McCain stop this nonsense stop?

    October 11, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  5. Chris F.

    I think it is sad that any person who claims to be a Christian can actual tell these lies. I think this preacher is not a true Christian. If this preacher does not like Obama because of his stance on Abortion. Why did George W. Bush not sign an executive order to stop abortion? George Bush was supposed to be a great Christian and he does not have to guts to sign an order to end abortion. Maybe abortion is not that important and there is a fear of upsetting moderates or independents that may vote for the Repubs. I think people like this are just hypocrits and liars who will get judged in the end and may not end up in heaven. This also proves the religion and politics should never be mixed..

    October 11, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  6. AP (ATL)

    McCain's campaign will soon be learning one biblical truth: you will reap what you sow...

    October 11, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  7. Obama/Biden 08/12

    I am a proud Christian, and will be voting for Obama. What McCain supporters were spewing about Obama to 'kill him' and 'terrorist' is what I call non-Christian. That minister's remarks are hypocritical and he needs to be praying over those enraged McCain supporters who have been stepping out of line.

    October 11, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  8. Colin

    Real Christians for Obama. We don't need the support of racist, ignorant, and bigot Christians who are more interested in spreading fear and hate than the love preached by Jesus Christ.

    October 11, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  9. semperfimamabear

    Are you people who plan on voting for Obama really Americans?! I can't believe this nation has become so desperate that you would think of voting for a this person! Our founding fathers are turning over in their graves! Remember this is American, not some muslim nation or maybe that's what you wish it to be! Obama has lied! Now we have a charismatic, albeit inexperienced candidate for president that does not repect our flag and refuses to wear one on his lapel except when it becomes politically expedient, and whose own wife and pastor that he loves profess to have a strong anti-white feelings and you want him to run our country? We have allowed muslim mosques to operate in our coutnry funded by Saudi Arabia and proclaim anti-american, anti-christian threats and terrorism and you want to put a muslim in the white house! God forbid!We have the power to change the course of this election and to keep a man as suspect as Obama from leading our country to who knows where with his message of change. A change which I fear will be away from our christian hertiage and ideals and away from one nation under God to one nation under Allah! You would rather vote for him then one of your own who defended this country and suffered for this country so we can have the liberties we have today?! That's pretty pathetic and sick! To choose him over an American hero! What does that say to our fighting men and woman. Wake up Americans! God forbid and Obama-nation!

    October 11, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  10. lolilo

    this is ridiculous, God will answer your prayer in his own way! Good luck

    October 11, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  11. Joe Regis

    The McCain campaign is becoming more and more eratic, I mean where will it end?

    I think they are digging themselves a bigger hole than the one they find themselves in already.

    Landslide Obama/Biden 08/12.

    October 11, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  12. John in Gig Harbor

    Another problem with a minister. Isn't that a surprise! If you ask me, all ministers, priests, reverends, and any religious leaders I may have missed are a bunch of dingbats! KEEP YOUR BELIEFS TO YOURSELF!

    October 11, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  13. BT

    ... and the rest of us are praying that Obama/Biden will win so that America can start the long climb up from the bottom where the Republicans have put us.

    October 11, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  14. Not again

    Remember the last time the Rep, ask God for his help. It rained on their convention:) LOL ..... I know God and Mr Conrad you're no repesenitive of God.

    October 11, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  15. Real Talk

    This person should be banned form his congregation, and if they accept this type of behavior then may god bless them.

    October 11, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  16. dagnitaggart


    NO MORE hiding hate, bigotry, anger, fear behind a mask called 'christianity'. This is not 'christianity'. At least not that which bases its teachings on the words, actions and love of Jesus.

    This land is strong because of our freedoms. One of those is freedom of religious expression. There are over 9 million Muslim citizens in our country, who work, raise their families and worship quietly as they choose. Many are second & third generation. This is their country as much as it is yours' and mine.

    You so-called 'christians' attack the 'muslims' when you mix up faith & politics. It has always been the extreme nut-cases in every religion, throughout history, who use 'religion' as a political tool: to cause such disaster, divisiveness, hatred (they're 'different' than we are, so they must be 'wrong')

    The Christianity I've learned, understood and practiced throughout my 56 years doesn't understand this hate. I know that our country is stronger & more beautiful BECAUSE of our religious, ethnic and racial diversity.

    That a 'minister' would spew such hateful incinuations is shameful. That he would get by thinking it's OK is UNCONSCIONABLE.

    Those of you who practice your Muslim faith, your Sikh faith, your Hindi faith, your Buddhist faith, your Christian faith....please know that there are those of us who respect you and your traditions.

    And, we love this country which constitutionally enables you to be free to worship as you choose.

    October 11, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  17. This Christian is offended!

    McCain, all Christians are not Klan members. If you think you can use the old divide and conquer technique this election season you got another thing coming on Nov. 4th


    October 11, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  18. bob

    this is getting crazy, what is going on with the ignorence in this country, this thing is truely hope versus despair and ignorence

    old thinking versus new thinking



    October 11, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  19. Charles Los Angeles


    Why is it so hard for people to understand that Allah is the arabic word for GOD. Just like Dios is the spanish word for God. Islam and Christianity are both monotheistic religions that pray to the same God.

    And how dare they use RELIGION and PRAYER to wish for defeat! Is there no end to their selfishness?


    October 11, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  20. Natalie

    I'm a devout Christian who is praying to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for an Obama win!!! Guess that disputes your theory Mr. Minister! It's funny how this minister believes it's possible to manipulate God into answering his prayers with a McCain win! WOW!

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 11, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  21. Forever Conservative -except 2008

    Well if Ayers questions Obama's judgement I wonder what this does?

    October 11, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  22. Bud

    Wow! The question of "Who's God is bigger/" never occured to me. What in the world are these zealots/fanatics thinking? I almost feel sorry for Senator McCain. He is supported by many good people and,yet, his fringe lunatic supporters are taking center stage. He made his bed with some of his and Palins remarks and now are stuck with the words of his "supporters". He must be so ashamed.

    October 11, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  23. Closely Watching

    Conservative Evangelical Republicans=Narrowminded Holier-than-Thou Hooligans

    October 11, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  24. Mike

    And there are a whole lot of people praying to their Christian God for Obama's victory too. As far as I can tell, that makes Arnold Conrad pretty much the outlier.

    Besides, somehow I don't think God is too worried about his reputation.

    October 11, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  25. davit

    If there is a God, and if that God actually cares about the safety and morality of the people in the United States, the big man in the sky with the white beard would undoubtedly be casting his vote for Barack Obama.

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