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. Wake Up Please

    It's a shame when idiot-Christians give non-idiot Christians a bad name.

    October 11, 2008 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  2. Zach

    Why are you reporting this garbage? Come on - we're fighting two wars overseas and facing an unprecedented financial meltdown. But you choose to cover irrelevant character and demographic politics. The only reason the McCain campaign is pushing these kinds of stories is because they can't win on the issues. He's trying to shift the focus and you're playing right into his hand. Voters don't care about this.

    October 11, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  3. Jen M.

    Well you know what a pastor asked people to pray for rain when Obama spoke at the Democratic convention and it ended up being a gorgeous day in Denver. These are small minded people and it makes me ashamed to say I'm an American.

    From a FORMER Republican

    October 11, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  4. Ellis R. Roy

    I read this actical, and was sadden by the fear factor "The McCain Camp", and Sarah Palin has brought to this election process. They have created a very dangerous atmosphere for Senator Barack Obama, and his family. Palin lead the charge in her anti-Obama Rally's until the crowd was at a fear pitch, shouting threats, racial slurs, and lies. Senator McCain stated, He was going to run an "Honorable Campaige"! I guess that only holds true if you ahead in the polls. He made the attempt to defend Senator Obama with one of his supporter, and quite the rowdy crowd! but what Senator McCain doesn't get, is that you don't start a forrest fire, then throw a cup of water on it. He and Governor Palin are wrong, and they need to admit it. Senator McCain should win with honor, or lose with honor, but do it with "Honor".

    October 11, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  5. Sandy

    I think the McCain campaign has unleashed a genie and now can't get it back in the bottle. I pray that this country turns away from his campaign of intolerance, rage, and hate. Let us remember what has made us a great nation and a great people.

    October 11, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  6. Anne

    This story is ridiculous! The minister in Iowa didn't say BARACK wasn't a Christian, he was talking about "non-Christians all over the world", and that they'll be thinking the Christian God is weaker since their favorite candidate won. He didn't mention one word about what religion Obama was.
    It's a true statement that Islamists and Muslims and all kinds of other religions around the world are hoping for Obama to become president. There have been stories in the press for months about that. To say this Iowa minister is calling Obama something other than a Christian is misleading and untruthful of the press. ONCE AGAIN they're being biased against anything McCain. I think I'd fall over dead if they weren't though... it's become expected by now.

    October 11, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  7. Becky in Indiana

    This Christian prays for an Obama win. Republicans are not their neighbors keeper.

    October 11, 2008 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  8. J.R. Stuart

    This Christian is voting for OBAMA, because he promotes peace and feeding and clothing the poor -Christ-like things that Christians should be doing.

    October 11, 2008 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  9. Angela

    Comments by the McCain-Palin's spokesperson are unethical. The words "questions about the religious background of the candidates only serve to distract from the real questions" have obviously been chosen to confuse voters. Sen. Obama's religious background is clearly Christian.

    October 11, 2008 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  10. E

    I wonder does God look down and say let's see I have a man preaching hope and change and who's crowds are civil and enjoying themselves. And I have another man who's crowds's say kill him, bomb obama, he's a terriost and many other hateful things. Now which one am I going to help out! The candidate of hope or the candidacy of fear!

    Evangelicals quit using the lord's name in vain!!!

    October 11, 2008 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  11. DSK

    Obviously pastor Conrad is possessed by demons! Once I heard that he spoke in tongues and it sounded just like Hitler...wait, that was today.
    Please pray for him before it is too late!

    October 11, 2008 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  12. Jesus was a liberal

    Just another example of religious right behavior that is so very wrong.

    This Christian Democrat is NOT a socialist,
    DEARLY loves this country and is voting for Obama!

    October 11, 2008 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  13. LancePearce

    I find it interesting and disturbing that McCain has to frequently distance himself from his "supporters" and their comments. I question his judgment about who he picks to organize his rallies. It seems to me that his & Palin's fear mongering is bringing out the crackpots & nutcases to these rallies. The crowds are mean and surly and I worry that they are getting out of control.
    I hope McCain truly does put Country First and stop the fear mongering. We are all Americans. Unlike what Hannity says, there are no "good" Americans, just Americans and we all have live here in peace when the election is over.

    October 11, 2008 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    This is what all the untrue negative remarks has led to, uncontrollable remarks, why be surprised now McCain?

    October 11, 2008 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  15. Geoffrey Sperl

    "There are millions of people around this world praying to their god—whether it’s Hindu, Buddha, Allah..."

    One has to wonder about Arnold Conrad's ability to do a minor amount of research: A "Hindu" isn't a god, it's an individual who follows Hinduism as a religion. The Buddha is not a god or even a prophet – he was the founder of Buddhism and is not prayed to. And Allah – whether Christians, Jews, and Muslims want to agree or not – is just a (slightly) different facet of the same god Conrad claims to believe in.

    If this is the caliber of thinking going on amongst McCain supporters then it's no wonder that he's sliding so far and so fast in the polls.

    October 11, 2008 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  16. Apoo

    Ignorance is bliss huh?

    F you republicans!

    October 11, 2008 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  17. Lydia, Georgia

    Macain may be hard press to save his campaign at this point but I do encourage him to attempt to save his reputation which will rightly take a hit because of the tone and rethoric that his campaign leadership have allowed in his campaign. This bigoted rethoric has whiped up the radical base to near violent proportions. Winning is never worth a hard fought reputation. Macain do you want the possible injury of a candidate to be the final ending on a life long career of service to our country?

    October 11, 2008 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  18. Catrina R.

    I am a devout Christian and a Barack Obama supporter.
    Even though I am pretty conservative on many social issues, I find that there are many others issues that I see eye to eye with Obama on, i.e. education, healthcare for all, Iraq, taking care of soldiers, veterans (making sure they get the benefits they deserve).

    You can not put a hierarchy on sin. Sin is sin is sin... There have been thousands of innocent American and Iraqi lives lost because we were lied to and mislead– waging a war that should've never been waged. I will be praying (along with other Christians in my church) for an Obama presidency.

    October 11, 2008 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  19. Bellamy

    Since when is God a republican? I don't think God cares about the elections in a country that has been around for less time than Israelites were in slavery in Egypt and I know God doesn't reference democracy in the Bible. God always talks about the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven in the Bible which tells me God is more likely a divine monarchist instead of a democrat or republican. If the McCain campaign doesn't care about a candidate's faith than why is the republican right describing Obama as a muslim or "arab" and why do they make such a big deal about jeremiah wright if a candidate's faith isnt an issue?

    October 11, 2008 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  20. Barbara-California

    Well, I feel bad about that; those Republican campaign workers who "denounced God" will suffer the consequences.....READ YOUR BIBLE, IT WILL TELL YOU WHAT HAPPENS TO HUMANS WHO PUT ANOTHER GOD BEFORE THE CHRISTIAN LORD JESUS....read it and weep America, you are a "doomed nation because of these actions!"

    October 11, 2008 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  21. Soji Brown, TX

    Hmm, let's go back to the constitution on this one...the First Amendment about religion.

    The freedom clause in the first amendment was to ensure that there was no religious persecution essentially. Now here are Christians trying to do it again, but in more subtle ways.

    The United States has a large number of non-Christians who pay taxes, serve in the military, are small business owners, mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters.

    The other religions, except for the extremes in them, like the extremes in Christian religions, don't care about the other religions. They follow their faith, because that is what faith is. The people of those religions don't pray for McCain to lose because of religion, but because of the economy, because of the future of their sons and daughter.

    These are the types of remarks which will cause the US to move backwards in time, back to the hate of civil war, the hate of suffrage, the Crusades, the Holocaust and other eras of embarrasment for humanity.

    It's time to end this type of talk and thinking. Pray to your God or Gods, whichever that is, or absence of it, that the world and the US will move to the way it needs to act: for the benefit of advancing humanity as a whole, all people, not greed and money, and not power.

    October 11, 2008 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  22. jg

    has this narrowminded man taken a recent look at the photos being sent back from hubble,at the immensity of the known universe,the millions of galaxies, that contain tiny little planet stars,like ours,and if he has what a warped sense of ego he must have and an utterly minute faith to think he has the only answer to God,that his tiny finite mind could even begin to grasp the infinite being of the creator,and that for some reason it is only available through his religion. small things amuse small minds....

    October 11, 2008 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  23. Christian

    Who cares?

    October 11, 2008 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  24. JPM

    DISGUSTING!!!! How dare he say that! Millions of Christians are going to vote for Obama. Including this one.

    McCain where are you??? Why aren't you stopping this nonsense?

    October 11, 2008 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  25. flamingbanjo

    Why would an all-powerful God need to get a particular candidate elected to see His will enacted on Earth?

    October 11, 2008 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
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