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. Susan

    Another example of the devisive politics the McCain campaign has fostered and encouraged. While McCain is apparently making a feeble attempt to reign in some of the venom, it is all too clear that it is still being tolerated- this preacher, the intros using Barack's middle name and Sarah Palin's continuing lies that continue to paint Obama as outside of the acceptable norm. Shame on McCain and Palin. I don't expect more from Palin, but I sure did from McCain.

    October 12, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  2. Sesha Rao

    Look, when I go to a hospital I just want my doctor to know his medicine. I could care less if his middle name is Hussein, his dad was from an African country, or if he eats arugula salad for lunch! I'm voting for the guy I think can best move us in the right direction.

    It seems like all these people supporting McCain are doing so for the same reasons they supported Bush. Look what that got us.

    Vote with the issues. Save this country.

    October 12, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  3. Tony

    Just want to confirm Conrad's screed. I'm proud to be Jewish and an Obama supporter. Although I'm not "praying" for any candidate, given the religious intolerance and racial bigotry John McCain and Sarah Palin have come to rely on, I suppose they could use a little praying over. When the votes are counted, that's all they and the Republicans will have left.

    October 12, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  4. Rachel

    "And Lord, I pray that you will guard your own reputation, because they're going to think that their God is bigger than you."

    Whatever happened to, "You shall not put your God to the test"? Because I'm pretty sure Jesus said that.

    October 12, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  5. Anna

    I'm Catholic and I'm praying for Obama to win.

    This is just ridiculous. My friends who are leaving from other countries are praying for Obama's win because they think that McCain-Palin government will bring down the US.

    And lastly, are the McCain supporters truly believed that Barack is an Arab? For crying out loud, do you guys really believed what the McCain and Palin telling you? My god!!!! Can you just be smart for once and don't vote with your emotions?

    October 12, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  6. joyce

    this is a so called minister
    god help us all if all christins were like him. he better not just pray he better beg for forgiveness. he need not judge no one. that is gods job to do.
    god does bless mr obama

    October 12, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  7. R

    Exactly what we don't need; another right wing ruler of our country. I know Mccain isn't a religious guy, but the people who will pull his puppet strings are, and I'm terrified of that. 1st ammendment of the constitution is about separation of church and state. Can't happen again.

    October 12, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  8. Kyle

    Seeing some of McCain's reactions to what idiots are saying at his rallys and some things he's said lately, I honestly don't think this the way McCain really wants his campaign to go. It makes me wonder who's actually running his campaign.

    October 12, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  9. Sean

    Christians. Non-Christians. See, that's the thing with Obama. He's a uniter. His events don't build hatred. He builds unity. And we want him as the next President of this great country!

    October 12, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  10. Robert

    If people invoke the Lord's name in order to air their favorite football team, it seems plausible that they would invoke the Lord's name in a political campaign. There are alot of conservative Christians watching years of efforts go down the drain with an Obama win.

    October 12, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  11. Barbara Blezard

    Why does CNN make it so hard for those of us interested in news and politics to vote in your polls? Why don't you just list all the polls you advertise on your news programs in one place on your website?

    I am a senior and by the time I get a paper and pencil to write down the website for a poll advertised on the show I'm watching the information is gone from the screen. What are you afraid of? You sure discourage participatory democracy.

    October 12, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  12. Gabby

    Are you kidding me? They are really getting desperate now. Will November 4th come already. I'm tired of them smearing Obama.

    October 12, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  13. observer

    that's really mean and a low blow. can't he just say something like "dear lord, please let the person whom you believe has the best interests of the country at heart, and whom you believe is the best person to lead this country to win the elections. we pray that we be guided to vote according to our conscience and that we have the grace to support the winner, if the person who wins is not the candidate we wanted".

    some minister he is. instead of promoting unitiy, he promotes divisiveness and is one step short of inciting a jihad.

    October 12, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  14. Patania Eiland

    This is just another statment from ingnorant people. I am a Christian and in fact an Ordained Minister who loves the Lord, and yes I support Barack Obama......

    You know it is sad that the world can see the true color of America is shining through during this election.

    Now we know that we haven't come too far from the days of the 60"s, that thing called racism is still alive and well in this country, it's just been dormant in the hearts of some.

    October 12, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  15. TheTruthHurts

    Poor McCain. Before Palin, at least most of the racists kept quiet. She's emboldened all the bigots to come out from hiding. We've all known that fear of "other" is a primary motivation for many who support the Republican party. I wouldn't call them Republicans because Republican principles don't inherit include bigotry. It's just the conservative, status quo aspect appeals to bigots that don't want to see some of the worst aspects of our country changed.

    I go to church and this minister ought to know that God is in control and whether "other" religions are emboldened is irrelevant to God's plan. God hardened Pharoah's heart and had persecution heightened. All of that showed God's glory in our weakness. Any pastor knows this and needs to pray for God's will because He is sovereign and we do not understand his ways. Some of these pastors are scary and don't speak for all Christians by any stretch.

    October 12, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  16. Roy

    The minister is nuts. I along with millions of American Christians are for Obama.

    October 12, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  17. Sarah from Sacramento

    Just another reason why church and state is separate. wow. Lets see Mccain talk his way around this one.

    October 12, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  18. Phil Newton in Murphy, Oregon

    It just gets...weirder.

    Is it November 4 yet?

    October 12, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  19. Lois in Florida

    So here we go again. I think at this point McCain needs to suspend his campaign before they do anything else that is offensive and plain dumb. I have witnessed the horrific meltdown of McCain these last weeks since July – he should be ashamed and it is sad that he is not. He does not have the honor he so desperately claims that he does. Very, very sad to see him choose to end his 10-year quest for the presidency in such a vile way. I pity him. He is waging a campaign far beneath the office he seeks. Lacking ideas, vision and now time, he resorts to tearing down the man who will likely be our next president. It's almost unbearable to watch anymore of this.

    October 12, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  20. david


    October 12, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  21. Arthur T

    As a Cristian I'm offended by the political use of god.

    October 12, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  22. Spencer

    This article makes me sad.

    October 12, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  23. Ohio Voter

    Oh no! He used his full, given name. Shocking!

    October 12, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  24. Yinka Lawal

    I wish people know that GOD is GOD and politics is politics. God dont care about politics. I wish all this fake pastor will shut up.

    October 12, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  25. Liberal in Chicago

    Because that's totally the Christian thing to do...

    October 12, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
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