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. amer

    I mean a non white ...

    October 12, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  2. Dema

    What's the surprise here? Palin's addition to the ticket has brought the right-wing loons out from the woodwork. It's why she was picked.

    October 12, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  3. tired of the McHaters

    McCains crew (haters) are just running scared, and I have lost respect for all his "fallowers' supporters whatever they are but the point is they are getting so petti and stuping so low to bash Sen. Obama . People need get stop being so small minded and realize all of the Major issues -Econamy,healthcare,reteirment,hungry babies,Etc . Get focused people and realize what is real!

    October 12, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  4. yal

    well if this guy is a pastor, how is he concerned about other gods? Christians only believe in one God. Therefore, they would not even think about the concern of safeguarding god's reputation. Clearly thisg guy is a whacko!

    October 12, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  5. JS Canada

    It is very sad to see that the nation that claims to be the leader of the world is SO FAR BEHIND the rest of world. From racism, to sexism, and religious prejudism your country looks foolish on the global level. I certainly hope there are enough intellectual, level headed americans left out there to prevent another republican term. Your country is falling apart at the seams-and on the world stage. VOTE...and prevent the primitive minds with racist and prejudism ideologies from ruling your country. For a country against terrorism...you certainly have a whole lot of people with terrosistic philosophies of their own right at home.
    The whole world watching this election, don't disappoint us!

    October 12, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  6. Bob Shearer

    The neocons need to adopt a new state religon: Psychiatry. They are so deep in denial that they have reached a new level of despair never before witnessed in the history of mankind. I'm waiting for one of their prophets to come out and declare that God himself has revealed to them that Sen. Obama is the true antichrist.

    October 12, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  7. CNaylor

    Yes its true that Mccain does have the majority of support from Evangelical Christians. But Evangelicals are not ALL christians– in fact they make up only a small percentage of christians worldwide. The facts are Obama has the majority when you include ALL those who profess belief in Christ.

    The Republicans trying to paint believers as being on their side are going to fail. In fact they are just making alot of us very, very angry. Hiding failed and unfair policies behind a religious mask. Christians will not be so easily fooled. We know what this country is like after 8 years of republican leadership. Its obvious we need a change.

    October 12, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  8. T. Miles

    Wow............how stupid can you be?? Can theses people really believe that?? So if your voting for Obama your not a Christian? If I'm not like you.....I'm wrong??? That really sounds like some Nazi type talk. Oh, I forgot this is the Republican party.....if your not like them your the ememy.

    October 12, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  9. Shawn

    I doubt anyone is praying to the god 'Hindu'.

    October 12, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  10. David FL

    Jesus always say love each other.what kind of pastor this guys is a republican..

    October 12, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  11. Chester Wilson

    What do you mean 'referred to as'? What exactly is his name today? Or is that not politically correct? What should his chosen name be something to fear?

    October 12, 2008 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  12. HINDU for OBAMA my hero

    I don't undersand where this is going. Mccain & Palin sowed the seeds of hatred & division & now they are trying to prove that Obama is against Christians, he is a terrorist, arab, muslim.. what not? I believe educated americans with commonsense will realize the truth & vote for this great man looking at his accomplishments so far. He was never been a muslim. Mccain ads always ask who is Obama & Palins remark of 'pals with terrorists' , their repeated saying of Obamas middle name, trying to prove that he is risky evrything is so negative. They just want to win somehow making ordinary americans scared of Obama by saying such baseless remarks.
    This minister is so senseless person to say that Christian God is bigger than Hindu God. Also he does not know Hindu relogion does not have A god. It is not even a religion, it is a culture. The oldest culture of the world. They don't have a specific God. According to Hindu , everything is the universe has Gods essence it it. Noone is biger or smaller than any other thing.Everyone is equal. This minister should atleast read something to get some knowledge.
    Even if Obama fails, he does that with honor as he never said anything so basless or truthless like Mccain or Palin did.
    You are right minister, people are praying around the world for Obama to win. We don't pray to allah, budda or 'hindu'(you are so illiterate minister) as u said!! We are praying to that great power above all of us & we do that not because to defeat 'your' god, but to save america from the crisis of today &to bring back this great countrys fame.
    He is the historical president for America and wait & see how we can be the center of the world again!!! The whole world looks at USA and we need the best of the bests as our president and Obama is the ONE!!

    BTW, I am a proud HINDU who loves America & its pepole whether christian or nonchristian. I am sure Jesus will agree with me.

    October 12, 2008 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  13. Laszlo Fulop

    The hypocrisy demonstrated by you liberals does not seem to find any bounds. You talk about racism among white McCain supporters. What about the 98%+ blacks who will vote for Obama compared to the almost even split among whites? Are whites really racists or are blacks much more of racist? Come on, let’s treats both sides evenly. Call both sides for what they are.

    October 12, 2008 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  14. Ron

    Wow. All I can say is wow. What could be more American than telling the world's religious communities that their gods are inferior? Does John McCain have any control left over his surrogates? I predict that when the history books are written, the McCain/Palin ticket will ultimately be defined by its efforts to use racism and hatred as their best campaign strategies. So sad.

    October 12, 2008 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  15. MEP

    Congressman Lewis is right.

    October 12, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  16. Gerry

    It appears that Senator McCain has stooped to using god as a weapon against Senator Obama. Good Grief, Senator McCain, have you no shame, after all this time and all the words you have spoken about tolerance and respect you allow this kind of sham to be perpetrated on the American people. I can only hope that a sound defeat at the polls on November 4th will convince you that God is not interested in who wins elections as much as He is interested in winning souls.

    October 12, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  17. Stephanie

    It's amazing how many times it has been reported that Barry Obama grew up in Hawaii and attended the Catholic Church there while living with his grandparents and got Saved as a young man and began attending Christian services in Illinois with his wife, Michelle. Barry Obama is an AMERICAN Christian. How many times does this need to be said? The problem isn't that he's a great guy and very accomplished. The problem is that ignorant racists PREFER to call him names because it's not policitally correct to say they don't want an African-American as president. Why don't they just stop with the lies and tell the truth for a change?

    October 12, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  18. JWR

    Seems like every time McCain complains about something connected to Obama, there are people on his team, in his camp, or something connected to him winds up doing the same thing. Got to be careful digging all those graves for folks. It looks like you are digging one for yourself. No weapon formed against you will prosper is in action here.

    October 12, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  19. AaronInTampa

    This is really starting to make me mad. The Repulican party has completely hijacked God. They have fooled the majority of American Christians into believing that the GOP is the party that God wants his followers to be. God IS NOT a Republican. Neither is He a Democrat. Christians need to open their eyes, and start thinking for themselves rather than believing everything their pastor tells them from the pulpit. What this pastor said is horrendous. He acts as though he can speak for God. God doesn't need to defend His reputation, if He did, He should strike pastors who say things like this mute.

    October 12, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  20. Say NO to Religion* (* of any kind)

    Please, please, PLEASE... bring back the lions and toss these creeps to 'em!

    October 12, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  21. Anonymous

    I am a , if you will conservative. Christian. And I vote for Obama. He is an American citizen and Christian. He stands up for peace, justice and free agency. Christians who know their scriptures should know best.

    October 12, 2008 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  22. tobias merriweather

    This was by far one of the DUMBEST statements I have EVER read....

    "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.”
    What GOD (there is only ONE GOD) is going to hear this and go; ohh, yeah, he's right – I better get down there and do something and QUICK!" Nevermind he is Alpha and Omega and all knowing. I don't think GOD is in the least bit concerned about Obama running let alone winning (the) election. This person calling themselves a man of the cloth orrr faith needs to have his "whatever credentials" stripped and sent to the quiet room (wherever). Sheesh! guard your own reputation – too sickly funny....

    October 12, 2008 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  23. Tim

    So suddenly this is an election about religion?

    That's insane. We're approaching the territory of Nazi rallies here.

    October 12, 2008 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  24. Borignal

    The citizens of our country are multi-racial, multi-cultural, and of many different faiths. These are some of the characteristics of our country that makes it great. Here In the United States, freedom of religion is a constitutionally guaranteed right provided for in the First Amendment. Like Sen. Obama, I am a Christian. I pray for our nation and "all" of its citizens. Sen. McCain, if he has to continue distancing himself from people and activities within his own campaign, must not be in control of his campaign.... then how could he possibly control his administration if he were to become our president????

    October 12, 2008 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  25. Kamp

    I am a Christian. I want Obama to win because he embodies the core beliefs of Christianity – truth and morality, unlike the hypocritical, phony born-agains. Christianity is not political – it is moral.

    October 12, 2008 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
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