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. Nathan

    I am a Hindu and a concerned citizen of the world. I proudly support Obama, not because I am Hindu, but because of his policies.

    I have friends from all religions and religion should be kept as a personal dialog between oneself and god. Nothing more. It can be any God or any form of God.

    I pray to God – does not matter whether it is Allah, Jesus, Buddha or Krishna – to give the Americans courage and confidence to vote for the right candidate.

    America – think and vote responsibly.

    God (does not matter which one) bless America....

    October 12, 2008 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  2. Sally in Oregon

    Count this Christian as voting for Obama/Biden

    October 12, 2008 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  3. julie

    John McCain fully endorsed this prayer then after it was said he appeared and pretended to reprimand the bigot pastor. How Christlike is that pastor? John McCain knows fully well everything that is going to be said at his rallies. He incites the people attending to make those accusatiopns. He wants those accusations to be made but does not want to make them himself. So he gets others to so for him, then after the ideas are out there in the public , he quickly pretends to distance himself from them. In his mind, "job accomplished".

    October 12, 2008 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  4. Confused

    When did this race turn into this? Did I miss something? How does having McCain win guard God's reputation? Sooooooo the ticket that inspires people to be divided and draws crowds filled with hateful people shouting insane comments about the other candidate, God must clearly be behind. Yeah right. Maybe people around the world see something decent in the Democratic ticket that's painfully lacking in the Republican. This race is making me more confused and sad about the mindset of the American people by the day. I thought we made progress since the 60's, but this race has blatantly shown, we're a lot more immature than I thought.

    October 12, 2008 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  5. david

    i'd like to see mccain wiggle out of this one in Florida.

    here's another non-Christian person of faith who prayed for Obama on Yom Kippur.

    October 12, 2008 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  6. KC

    I'm a Christian and a pastor and find this behavior disgusting.

    A true follower of God would cry out, "God let your will be done and not ours. Show us how you want us to cast each of our individual votes and let us trust the outcome and build up our leader regardless of our preference"

    God detests people who claim to know His will and claim it for their side.

    October 12, 2008 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  7. Confussed

    I don't understand? Obama is of Christian faith. What a terrible thing to say. This is getting more and more strange by the day.

    October 12, 2008 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  8. let us pray

    It's absolutely true. Millions of non-Christians are praying that Obama will win this election, and so are millions of Christians. He is the clear choice.

    And pro-lifers who are able to see that casual war-mongering is NOT pro-life will choose Obama, too.

    October 12, 2008 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  9. Rob

    They prayed for rain in democratic convention , what happened ? There was a storm during Republican convention. They have done so many sins that even GOD is not going to listen to them any more.

    October 12, 2008 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  10. Angelina L

    I am a very committed Christian.. I am voting for Obama. Not all conservatives are so ignorant to endorse and vote for someone simply because they claim to represent the "Christian" party. I have seen very little in the comments by Palin or McCain that conveys the fruits of the spirit as I know them. I think Palin has been mocking, sarcastic and if I didn't know her from Adam and I heard her speak...I wouldn't peg her as a Christian.

    October 12, 2008 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  11. G.W.McPain

    McCain should hang himself in shame. All the respect he earned for himself as a POW has evaporated in the last week. He has completely lost it, now that he realizes the prayers of the most fanatic priests won't be able to help him.

    Come on the people of Montana, Idaho, Indiana, Georgia, Nebraska, Utah, etc. etc. that still show McPain leading. Don't vote for a loser just because your grandfather and father voted for the GOP. Be ashamed to see your state red. Let's give Obama a sweeping victory. Paint America Blue

    October 12, 2008 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  12. Jason Gleason

    With all due respect, I am a Bible believing, Conservative Christian and better yet a Straight, Pro-Life, Married Republican with 3 children who voted for George W Bush in the past two elections and I am praying to the same God that Obama wins by a landslide.

    Friends in my Republican party just don't get it – we cannot afford 4 more years of the same – we need change! As a Christian I am offended by this speaker's words and elitist world view. God Bless You!

    October 12, 2008 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  13. kevin from minnesota

    So if Obama wins does that mean that God is not in fact on the side of Christians?

    That alone would seem like reason enough to vote for him.

    October 12, 2008 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  14. robert

    What a backward statement. This is not a religious matter.

    October 12, 2008 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  15. Jonathan

    don't vote for mccain if you're not christian???


    October 12, 2008 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  16. I'm A Christian Too

    I am a Christian and I vote for Senator Obama. Senator Obama is a Christian too. The McCain campaign and its surrogates should be shameful of themselves because of their erratic behaviors lately. This incident is an insults to all Christians who support Senator Obama. This summer, a pastor also asked Christians to pray for rain to disrupt Senator Obama acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention. Instead, Hurricane Ike disrupted the Republican Convention. Our God is real, and should not be mocked. Enough of these Republican self righteous claims. Republican, unfortunately, you do not have a better candidate, so it is your fault. Do not try all things impossible to install the wrong man for the job. Senator Obama is the best choice, and he will surely win no matter you smear and fear tactics. May God Bless Senator Obama and America.

    October 12, 2008 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  17. patrick

    Maybe that says something about Mccain??

    October 12, 2008 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  18. Pareen

    The McCain Camp has gone to lengths for downgrading their opponents, but this politically incorrect. If Republicans in free USA are so religiously biased, then why shouldnt the Islamic world not be biased against the US.

    These statement used against people supporting Obama are uncalled for. This proves how weak, the foundations of McCain camp are.

    I cannot support a candidate who leads people with such mentality to lead a country.

    In this global economy, it will not only bring harm to the country, also it will create a great divide between various communities who reside in the country itself.

    October 12, 2008 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  19. Alan

    WOW, ok for a non-Christian those comments piss me off. Even though I am voting for Obama it's not because of the fact that I'm not Christian, it's because I researched the issues. It's not because of religion but because of the fact he makes a solid candidate. To be so arrogant and say because there is one God who only supports McCain is absurd because I know there are Christians out there who think McCain is a horrible choice. Religion has nothing to do with politics, and should never have anything to do with it!!

    October 12, 2008 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  20. marko65

    It's just a fact that God, like republicans, hates black people.

    October 12, 2008 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  21. Chris, Antioch, CA

    Here's a Christian who'll vote Obama. What a nutcase

    October 12, 2008 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  22. Ann

    Like other Americans, I was raised fervently believing that America was a land of equal opportunity, regardless of your race, religion, etc. It was what made the US so special, I knew.

    I have been completely broken-hearted to realize how completely bigoted American are about religion. I have realized that unless you are a Christian you have NO CHANCE to be President. Even Obama, who IS a Christian, by choice moreover rather than by simple birth, but has a "funny" name that "sounds Muslim" may not make it through, and faces endless ridicule not because of who he is, but who his hardly-present-in-his-life father happened to be. This is completely un-American!

    This is disgusting and unacceptable. I've lived in Asia, and have seen the same religious bias in Malaysia, where a non-Muslim stands no chance of holding the highest public office. Is this really the standard Americans want to fit in with? Meanwhile, lowly and often-mocked Singapore is truly democratic in this regard, and has had Presidents of several different faiths, with the public's total acceptance.

    The thorough religious bigotry I have seen from Americans over this election has broken my heart and smashed my treasured concept of our noble free and equal America.

    October 12, 2008 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  23. ocprogressive

    I would like to remind everyone that Allah is the same god that Christians worship. The Muslims just call him Allah, just as the Spanish call him Dios and the French call him Dieu. I can't believe people's ignorance sometimes.

    October 12, 2008 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  24. GP Chicago

    It's not really freewill if God interferes with an election is it? Pray for someone else to lose???


    This is manipulative and evil...I'm glad that there are enough educated voters to keep religion in their hearts and make a decision for who will create the most positive situation.

    October 12, 2008 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  25. Calandra Ferguson

    CNN is a joke organization. Just as crazy as McCain and his racist followers.

    October 12, 2008 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
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