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. Enraged

    Yes, Mr. Conrad, the election of Barack Obama would certainly mean that people of other faiths, who already dismiss your deity of choice, would "think that their God is bigger than" your supernatural sky daddy. What sound reasoning from this pious charlatan!

    October 12, 2008 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  2. Enzo - Canada

    Well, I guess McCain has the 'ignorant' vote locked up.

    I'm sorry, but I can't believe this stuff! This is supposed to be a minister! A spiritual man, a man of God...and THIS is how he talks?!? Us vs. them? No wonder people are disillusioned with religion. I think this minister needs to ask himself if this is how GOD would talk.

    There is only one truly enlightened choice in this election: Obama/Biden.

    October 12, 2008 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  3. Francisco

    Comments that have been made against Barack Obama and his campaign are indicative that our nation is still filled with racism and ignorance. The leaders of the GOP need to speak up about these malicious comments and not let politics interfere with sound judgment and good reasoning. Despite our differences, it is a must to maintain an attitude of respect and dignity.

    October 12, 2008 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  4. carolina_gamecock_08

    The McCain campaign needs to put an end to this stuff, fast. This is the third or so event I've heard about in the last week or two where the introductory speaker at a rally fired up the crowd with some really nasty stuff. That the campaign would just throw some speaker before the mic without knowing what they planned on saying is nonsense; anyone paying serious attention knows that both campaigns are extremely scripted at this stage in the election. I don't think McCain the candidate is the same as the McCain Campaign; you can tell he doesn't like what's going on around him, and he needs to take charge of his people, NOW. They're walking on dangerous territory with this stuff, and sadly if he doesn't do something, he risks permanently scarring his legacy, even if he wins the election. This is Campaign First, Country Second.

    October 12, 2008 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  5. jeff

    Look, Obama has said numerous times that he is Christian. I don't know what it takes for some people to not believe what is clearly in front of them. If McCain supporters can spew out this kind of junk to the public, then the times I live in are no better than the civil rights movements of the 1960s.

    The ignorance that GOP is banking on is sad. Not sad on the GOPs part, but the part of the American people that believe this. I would rather live in a USA that is full of people that can think for themselves.

    October 12, 2008 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  6. Carolyn

    Regardless of the outcome of the election, what kind of nation will be standing considering the prayers from Arnold Conrad, the former pastor of Grace Evangelical Free Church in Davenport, praying

    October 12, 2008 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  7. martins

    I wonder why he's a former pastor. Such ignorance is an abomination to God. I'm a christian and I believe God has ordained Obama's step. So maybe this pastor is the one not serving the True Living God.

    October 12, 2008 02:20 am at 2:20 am |
  8. Madame President

    And this is why religion should not play any part in politics.

    October 12, 2008 02:20 am at 2:20 am |
  9. gerald

    I am astonished at this! I am a Christian and I want Obama to win... I find myself more and more concerned with the hate and division coming from the McCain/Palin ticket. I hope and pray that continued talk like this does not spark a "dirty" culture war in America.

    wow.. this is amazing

    October 12, 2008 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  10. Joker

    republicans are stupid and ignorant. It probably won't be long until these bigots start getting violent.

    October 12, 2008 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  11. ChristianforObama

    I'm a Christian and I'm an Obama/Biden supporter. This pastor's comment only brings ignorance and shame to the Christian faith.

    October 12, 2008 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  12. Steve C

    This is not about the candidate's faith. Obama is a much more devout christian then John McCain, who has only started attending church regularly after securing the republican bid. This is about Gay rights and Abortion. Why are these the ONLY TWO issues most Christian conservatives concern themselves with?

    Mathew 19:24 says 'And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. Yet the republican party has always been for the wealthy over the common
    Deuteronomy 27:19 States 'Cursed be he that perverteth judgment of the stranger(Foreigner in biblical speak)
    Exodus 22:21 'Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt' Yet the right to detain a non-citizen without charging them of a specific crime still stands under the patriot act.
    Deuteronomy 10:18 'He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow,....in giving food and raiment.' Yet the republicans are constantly in favor of cutting social programs that would help the widow and the fatherless.
    Proverbs 14:31 'He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor' yet we do not do nearly enought o help the poor of our country, and when we do, its normally a democrat that leads in the crusade.

    America is no longer blessed by God, but It's not because the gays can marry in some states, or because of the legalization of abortion. Christians need to stop eating what is fed to them by the wealthy, vote hungry republicans, and start TRULY voting with their values. Whats more important, stopping two consenting adults living their life the way they see fit, or ending poverty? Stopping the destruction of a body of cells before the point of viability, or treating foreigners justly, as the lord God proclaims?

    Proverbs 15:25 'The LORD will destroy the house of the proud'

    October 12, 2008 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  13. tony

    I will be praying with Mr. Conrad, the last thing we need is an Obama presidency... Abortion, gays, high taxes, etc...

    Go McCain-Palin 2008

    October 12, 2008 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  14. no more four

    I am getting very frightened for Senator Obama. The McCain campaign MUST denounce this rhetoric IMMEDIATELY and rein in Gov. Palin. Someone, somehow...make this dangerous rhetoric STOP.

    October 12, 2008 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  15. Aussie in USA

    That is just poor. As a foreigner I can tell you that many Christians in Australia, New Zealand and Europe are hoping for an Obama win. Americans are one bad decision away from becoming the laughing stock of the world. Choose wisely America, we're all watching you!

    October 12, 2008 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  16. Colin

    This just goes to show the amount of ignorance, uninformed, and biggots follow the McCain campaign. People like this worry me as much as McCains plans for Americas future does. McCain has truly divided our country and has, in my opinion, put Obama's security at risk. If Obama is elected I can't imagine how many of these crazy McCain supporters will attempt to harm him. The amount of fuel McCain/Palin have supplied to this ignorant fire is scary...McCain wants change? He's taking our country back to the segregation of the 60s. They are so disgusting I hope America opens it's eyes and realize what these two are really doing. Obama/Biden '08 our country's only hope!!!!

    October 12, 2008 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  17. betty

    I have always been a christian and was going to vote for mcCain but after the remarks made by this man whom is a man so he says of GOd, my vote will be for obama,it is pastors like you that make people not want to come to church,your type scare them away judge not because if you do you judge GOD,you judged obama

    October 12, 2008 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  18. lorenzo starks

    that' sounds like some dumb preacher who got us in this mess in the first place.

    October 12, 2008 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  19. Pastor G

    I am a Christian and a minister of the gospel. I am tired of hearing all these religious leaders saying things that are not biblical. God did not say we should pray for a Republican or a Democratic leader. God wants us to pray for the man He has chosen. I am a supporter of Obama and I pray for all of our leaders. If you read your Bible correctly, that is what God asked us to do. May the Lord have mercy on you.

    October 12, 2008 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  20. Tamra


    This bothers me, If I wasnt already a Christian....I would probably become a Christian after following Obama. I see more of Jesus in Obama than Mccain.

    What I dont understand is Republicans always throw up God and being a Christian but have policies that neglects the poor. Isnt the poor who Jesus stood for? Republicans confuses me.

    What people dont understand is that God has ordained this election and Obama is in his plans. Thats why enemies can come against him (cast stones) and not succeed while he walks through the fire with peace. He is getting this peace from God

    Thank God! I am ready to see the people happy and peaceful again.

    October 12, 2008 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  21. Jason

    A new low for (R) party...this is disturbing and disgusting. I guess the "good" reverend forgot to mention Obama is Christian. Unbelieveable...

    October 12, 2008 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  22. Michael

    The idea that somehow the Judeo-Christian God doesn't support Obama is highly offensive to me, a Catholic. I have news for people like this minister and others in these circus religions - YOU don't have the power to tell GOD what HIS political preference is!! You arrogant right-wingers think you can invoke God's name and command him? You display all the wrong virtues: no humility and love are to be found in your hatefully ignorant and blasphemous comments. I'll go to church and pray for your wayward souls.

    October 12, 2008 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  23. Aaron

    Barack Obama happens to be a Christian not a Muslim.

    October 12, 2008 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  24. Mark Kahle

    Could not be more divisive, unreal... Note mr Rev, I am a Confirmed Lutheran, and my god is the same god that everyone else prays to with a different name...

    Get a clue we are all connected in some form or fashion, and what makes " Your God" more important than "Their God"..

    News flash NOTHING!!

    Fear mongering at its worst!!

    Obama/Biden 08! 12!
    Clinton 16! 20!

    October 12, 2008 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  25. Pat Lightfoot

    He's probably right, however, there are a lot of Christians around the world that are praying Sen.Obama will win too? And in America, where it counts! Obviously, the suggestion is targeting those who still think America should be theocracy not democracy. The Holier than Thou syndrome. If you are not of our church, you have a pact
    with the devil.

    God fearing Christian folk down South are easily flattered that they are doing the Christian thing voting for Mr McCain and Guv.Palin. Disgraceful conduct by the McCain/Palin campaign, supporting racial and religious bigotry plus ignorance. Anyway, Mrs Palin got booed at the hockey game she was invited to. Some people do have a sense of propriety obviously. LOL.

    October 12, 2008 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
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