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. Nicholas

    This is amazing. The christian right is so desperate they are turning to spirits and rituals to win the campaign for them. They call their opponents socialists and terrorists and seem to forget that they are bigots and fascists.

    October 12, 2008 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  2. margaret

    It is sad to see such hate and intolerance being injected into this already divided country. These people call themselves Christians? Please! It is beyond my comprehension how McCain has turned his back on his morals and values just to win this election. It is simply amazing how these group of Republicans hiding behind the word of God can be such hypocrites and just fuel racism and hate – they should all be ashamed of themselves and we as a people should know better than to be swayed by it. Open your eyes America, please!

    October 12, 2008 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  3. Eyckie

    It's not bad enough McCain got his wife and Palin to viciously attack Obama while he hides behind them. Now he's got another local politician or shariff making racial statements in almost every rally. Look what he created. A campaign of hate and fear. They should charge Palin and McCain with defamation of character.

    October 12, 2008 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  4. Kathy

    What kind of Isolationism is this teaching ourchildren !!!! What a stupid man this pastor teaching intolerance is UNCHRISTIAN and he should teach the word of God without such bias. We are all under the same God and all his children be us Muslim, Jew, Christian, Hindu, Buddist. He is preaching HATE which is why our country is at war. Sign me the United Methodist ministers Wife former Air Force vet and military brat for Obama/Biden 08

    October 12, 2008 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  5. Adam in NJ

    And this is a perfect example of why church and state should be separate – to keep people like these guys from enacting a political agenda with their influence. If McCain/Palin had their way, our country would become another shade of Iran.

    And McCain followers call Obama a terrorist...

    October 12, 2008 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  6. America

    What an ignorant idiot!!

    October 12, 2008 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  7. Ron

    Its sad that members of the cloth choose to misuse/abuse their roles and positions in the church. It's beyond irresponsible and at the same time incorrectly references the use of God in an inappropriate context. But as the good Books says in response to this nonsensical rhetoric...
    “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their vindication is from Me,” declares the LORD.” Isaiah 54:17

    October 12, 2008 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  8. Jan

    Too bad Pastor Conrad does not understand that there are Christians praying for Obama to win. Too bad that so many Christians do not understand that Jesus was neither a Republican nor a Democrat.

    October 12, 2008 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  9. Jason

    THIS is why the founding fathers wanted the separation of Church and State. We cannot have religious zealots making decisions and influencing the country. Look at all other countries that are based on theocracy. It's a mess, just look at what happened to this Country after 8 years of "God" inspired policies.

    October 12, 2008 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  10. no way, no how no mccain, no palin

    This is disgusting, the mccain palin ticket is divisive.

    October 12, 2008 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  11. Lschwab

    I a word "AMAZING"

    October 12, 2008 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  12. Jessica in CA

    I'll continue to pray to my Obama voo doo doll that Obama wins.. This is ridiculous. Obama is christian for Christs sake! But seriously.. what's going on amongst McCain supporters scares the bajeezus out of me.

    October 12, 2008 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  13. Josef

    Yay! Christianity used to divide...yet again! Hooray for Christianity and the philosophy of separation!

    October 12, 2008 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  14. Mark G

    What gives some Christians the right to think they have a handle of what God wants when their own rhetoric is so unashamedly contrary to what the Bible says? There are a lot of Christians prayin for an Obama win...because frankly...we can't afford the "Christian Right" to be in power any longer. The GOP has long been thought of the Christian conservative party because of morals...is this the same set of morals that allows huge corporations and oil companies to steal money from people because they can? Is this the same set of morals that leads christian leaders of the faith to fleece their flocks saying it is their "Christian Duty" to pay their tithes and offerings, when tithing is never mentioned in the New Testament. Funny how it's Godly to pay your tithes, but not patriotic to pay your taxes. I thought they liked to think that God and the USA were on the same team.

    I am a Christian and my wife and I are praying that Obama wins. There are a lot of others out there. It's ok. This notion that we all have to be members of the extreme right is absolute nonsense...especially if you consider the new testament. Jesus wasn't for gun rights..."Those that live by the sword will perish by the sword" He wasn't for dodging taxes. "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and render unto God what is God's. He wasn't into condemnation and judgmentalism. "Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone."

    Go back and read your Bible before you dare to claim that you speak for Christians, and know what God wants to happen in America.

    October 12, 2008 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  15. JAO

    Can Americans get serious? I mean... this is a minister misleading the entire flock. God help us. It can't get any worse, can it?

    if you watch TV to the very least you know the democratic nominee is a Christian. And who are you to pray for the defeat of a candidate? We are all human and God is God.

    Dirty politics, yes, but let's separate politics and religion. It helps. Now what if Obama wins? Will he tell his flock that "their god" was defeated?

    October 12, 2008 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  16. bobby

    These so-called people are giving christianity a bad name. I hope this was not coming from a Man of God. Its a shame how these people belittle the Most High for their self-fish ends. The irony is that these behaviors turn people away from Christ and hence ,the lost of souls. Remember "Woe unto you who cause these ones to lose their soul"

    October 12, 2008 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  17. Obama Supporter

    I'm praying for an Obama victory. May God have mercy on all of us for our presumptuousness in believing that any of us lives a more Godly life than one another

    That One '08, '12

    October 12, 2008 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  18. Norm

    This minister's speech is another example of why we need a true separation of church and state. The we-against-the-rest-of-the-heathen-world seems to be an all too pervasive rallying cry to promote religion's solidarity, here and elsewhere. This rhetoric also promotes distrust, hate, violence, and war.

    McCain would do well to go beyond the apologetic sound-bites to reign in these racist hate-mongers who intrude on his rallies, and the Rovian liars who produce his commercials so that the senator can exit this losing election with a return to the former dignity that his slimy campaign has tarnished.

    October 12, 2008 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  19. Indy

    The true face of America's Evangelical Christianity of Fear, hate and subjective morality. MCCain can distance himself as much as he wants but this is whom he made his bed with picking Palin.

    October 12, 2008 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  20. cecil

    I am a Christian, and i am disgusted the way some American Evangelists think they have a Monopoly on GOD. and that God is a CHRISTIAN. Wake up and smell the roses. I am saddened to see such narrowmindedness in the McCain Campaign.

    I have no doubt in my mind that if Barack Obama was fully white, his popularity would have escalated way past McCain. To bad some americans cant look beyond colour. Imagine this man had a white mother, I hate what you would have done if he were totally black.

    October 12, 2008 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  21. Mark in Omaha

    That's absurd, people that want to change the direction this country is going want Obama to win. No more lies and manipulations. McCain would be 4 more years of Bush; this country can't afford that. Palin's divisive rhetoric and negativity is even worse. Wake up and look beyond politics and race.

    October 12, 2008 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  22. Joe

    It should not matter what your religion is. Everybody has the same goal right now, which is to make sure tomorrow is a better day than today. We can pray all we want but we need to vote for someone who will lead us to a better tomororw. That someone is Senator Obama.

    October 12, 2008 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  23. Old White Guy

    What a crock! – Preachers should stick to church affairs and leave politics out of the pulpit.

    If they want to get into politics, then they should lose their tax exemption!

    October 12, 2008 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  24. Christian, Tampa FL

    I am a devout Christian, and I am voting for Barack Obama and campaigning for him.

    What this man said... is blasphemy. And just plain stupid. There is no god named "Hindu" as far as I know and Buddha never claimed to be God. It's also completely awful for him to ask God to "protect His own reputation." No true Christian should ever say such a ridiculous thing to his Lord.

    I want to apologize for this man's idiocy. Please, do not judge all Christians by the desperate bigotry of certain McCain/Palin supporters.

    October 12, 2008 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  25. Dennis

    Yeah, the McCain campaign wants us to repudiate the "shocking" Lewis comments. Right... They're not breeding an atmosphere of lies and hatred. They're just talking about his "record."


    October 12, 2008 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
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