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. Amy; Savannah, Georgia

    Well, I'm a Christian and I am voting for Obama. I think the over-generalization speaks for itself in this article. The world is not divided into Christians and Non-Christians. Grow up and get educated.

    October 11, 2008 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  2. West Virginians For Obama

    Arnold Conrad need to be medicated. He's clearly insane.

    Obama/Biden 2008

    October 11, 2008 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  3. Jaycee

    I imagine this prayer will be as successful as the one asking for rain during Obama's acceptance speech in Denver.

    October 11, 2008 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  4. Mockingbird

    From a committed Christian, to fellow Christians in the Evangelical Free Church, Davenport, IA:




    October 11, 2008 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  5. cindy

    I don't know the god the preacher is talking about, all Iknow is that for Barack to come this far is not by his making but by God'sgrace.If you republicans think God is on your side you better think again.The whole world is praying for Obama yes b/cos the GOD we are serving is the GOD of PEACE not war.It is only Obama's presidency will peace and unity to the whole world.period!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 11, 2008 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  6. Mike

    McCain and Palin, whether intentionally or not, have accessed a taproot into the American psyche that is filled with hate, fear, and ignorance. At just the time when our country needs to gather all of our resources together to face the challenges of the 21st century, we are tearing ourselves to shreds over the age old bane of racism, nativism, and so on. Christianity, which is supposed to be based on love, has been transformed into a militant force for intolerance over everything that is outside of the mainstream. All of the talk about "progress" in dealing with these social issues has been exposed as folly by the cesspool of a McCain/Palin rally. A McCain victory will again bury these issues to leave them festering once more in the American soul. Only by electing Barack Obama can we begin the national conversation that is long overdue on how we can actually overcome the scourge of xenophobia that continues to plague our nation.

    October 11, 2008 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    People like him are the reason Christians in America are now hated. Never mind that Obama is an active member of his church.

    October 11, 2008 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  8. AJ

    Lol biggotry.

    They're doin it right.

    Obama/Biden 08.

    October 11, 2008 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  9. TERRI

    The monsters McCain/Palin have created is scary!


    October 11, 2008 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  10. lilacs

    I am a christian ,I prayer that Sen. Obama is elected president of the USA. We cannot stand 4 more years of the republicans right wing agenda. Jesus was a man of peace and love not the hate that the republicans spit out . Please lord no MCain/ Palin .

    October 11, 2008 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  11. Ron

    A vote for the conservative right is a vote for a theocracy. It's time we banished the myth the the United States was founded as a Christian Nation. Many of the fouunding fathers were, in fact, agnostics or Theists, including Washington and Jefferson.

    October 11, 2008 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  12. Jeannie Baltimore, MD

    While John McCain's hateful, and evil supporters who chant " kill him, kill him", pray to their idol gods, true Christians will be praying to the One True God for Barack Hussein Obama's victory. Each and every day the Republic Party proves over and over how desparate and truly evil you people really are.

    October 11, 2008 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  13. Patricia Eaton

    The Republicans have reached unprecedented lows during the course of this campaign and continue to fall below a reasonable standard of intelligence, decency, and fairness. John McCain seems to be an honorable person, but he is surrounded by people of questionable judgement and character, including his VP running mate, Sarah Palin. This election cannot conclude soon enough and the only saving grace will be having Barack Obama in the White House with a new vision for peace, prosperity and intelligent leadership for the United States.

    October 11, 2008 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  14. Kirk

    Bigotry is a central tenet of the Republican party. That is why they always find an evil brown man to run against. Be it Willie Horton, Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, or Rev. Wright.

    October 11, 2008 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  15. West Virginians For Obama

    And what's wrong with Iowa? Is there something in the water? Maybe they all need medication. Wow.

    Obama/Bidn 2008

    October 11, 2008 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  16. DK

    Are you kidding me?? I guess this is to say that ONLY non-christians vote for Obama? I am a Christian believing in Jesus Christ and that is who I pray to Mr. Conrad. I pray for our wonderful country of America that gives me the freedom to vote for whoever I so choose. I pray that the right man is choosen to lead this country. I will vote for Obama but how dare anyone suggest that I am a non-christian in doing so! Their may be non-christians voting for him also. But, this is America. That is their right also! And you betcha (wink, wink) that the McCain campaign stepped up and distanced themselves from Mr. Conrad's remarks! I'm sure that was well planned!

    October 11, 2008 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  17. je-chic

    As an identified religious leader in a mainline Protestant denomination in the US, I hope that American Christians are smart enough to know that people like Arnold Conrad are spewing un-Christian messages of hatred and lies. Conrad's distorted views do not represent all evangelical Christians in America. His misguided invocation only complements the twisted tales that the McCain-Palin campaign have resorted to. The level that McCain and Palin have stooped to in recent weeks is truly reminiscent of the racist hate speech circulating in the 60's. I find it ironic that when McCain's character is challenged by John Lewis, he gets all up in arms about it and is 'shocked,' yet he continues to be 'angry' and questions Obama's character at campaign rallies where people are responding to his incendiary remarks with even more vile hatred. McCain and Palin are playing into the hands of the destructive systems that perpetuate racism. The scary part is that McCain is now trying his best to calm the very same fears that he has ignited. I am tired of McCain's 'anger' and realize that there are many other Christians in America who are praying for the hope and change we see in an Obama presidency. I am a Christian who wants Obama to win.

    October 11, 2008 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  18. Paul

    This individual calling himself a minister should be ashamed of himself, not for his poor political choices, but for invoking the phrase "their god". How dare he suggest that persons of another faith are necessarily praying to "another" Creator? To do so at the best of times is misinformed. To do so in a political context is just plain ignorant.

    October 12, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  19. Jim


    October 12, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  20. mary

    The pastor's comments show pure ignorance about world religions. Buddhists and Hindus do not believe in a god the way monotheistic Middle Eastern religions do. Allah translates to God and Muslims trace their history through Christianity and Judaism. They are three divergent Middle Eastern religions who all see Abraham and Moses as patriarchs of the religions. Buddhists technically don't believe in a supreme being, although there are many deity-looking figures venerated, but usually in a way more like Saints in Catholicism. Buddha is not a God. Buddha was a human who found enlightenment and enlightenment is available to all humans. Hinduism believes in manifestations of one large entity, where we all flow from and to return to that is to escape rebirth. Many deities are manifestations of this energy. Buddhists and Hindus co-exist in the same temples. They would have no problem typically with introducing Jesus or other sacred figures into their temples because they are not exclusionary like the monotheistic religions.

    October 12, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  21. truthhurts

    Interesting – I know many Christians in this country and around the world that are praying for Obama TO win.

    Seriously, who is this pastor that thinks he can “manipulate” God into voting for John McCain and then, suggest that if McCain DOESN’T win this election, God’s own reputation will be at stake. I wonder if he prays for sports teams as well (and what's his track record…)

    October 12, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  22. Jeremy

    1st off, Buddha isn't even a god, and Buddhists don't see him as one, they see him as an enlightened figure.

    2nd off, I hate it when these "Men of God" use religion to further their agenda, it been going on for far too long and needs to stop.

    October 12, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  23. fat indian

    little minds

    October 12, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  24. ek


    October 12, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  25. Peter of Oregon

    Much of McCain's base appears to be full of bigotry, ignorance and hate. Those so called Christians aren't followers of Christ at all.

    October 12, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
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