Candor or Pander?

WASHINGTON (AFP) — US Republican presidential hopeful John McCain moved Sunday to calm controversy over an interview in which he said he would prefer to have the US president be Christian rather than Muslim.

“I just have to say in all candor that since this nation was founded primarily on Christian principles … personally, I prefer someone who I know who has a solid grounding in my faith,” said McCain, 72, in an interview posted Saturday on the faith and politics news site Beliefnet.

“I think the number one issue people should make [in the] selection of the president of the United States is, ‘Will this person carry on in the Judeo Christian principled tradition that has made this nation the greatest experiment in the history of mankind?'”

Oh, John the Baptist McCain, I almost (but not quite) feel sorry for you.

Original DVD cover.

Asked if that criteria would make it difficult for a Muslim to perform well, McCain responded: “I admire the Islam. There’s a lot of good principles in it. I think one of the great tragedies of the 21st century is that these forces of evil have perverted what’s basically an honorable religion.”

Awww, he admires the Islam. How very Christian of him!

As with everything McCain, the backpedaling followed as soon as he got his foot out of his mouth.

From The New York Times:

The interview was conducted by beliefnet, a Web site that writes extensively about religious issues of virtually every denomination. After the interview, Mr. McCain contacted the Web site to clarify his remarks, saying, “I would vote for a Muslim if he or she was the candidate best able to lead the country and defend our political values.”

From DiversityInc:

In response, Muslim and Jewish organizations are saying McCain’s comments are divisive and ignore the nation’s traditions of religious pluralism and inclusion born from the Constitution. They add that McCain’s comments are heaped on top of a number of gaffs from Republican leaders who suggest the party is one that excludes people who are different from the mainstream.

“If the GOP wants to reach out to minority communities, they’re not doing a good job,” says Ibrahim Hooper, spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “We have a string of these Republican gaffes: Virgil Goode said ‘No Muslim should take an oath on the Koran.’ Peter King said there are too many mosques in the U.S. Daniel Pipes said Palestinian villages should be razed—and he’s an adviser to [GOP presidential candidate Rudy] Giuliani. These are troubling remarks and there’s absolute silence from the Republican Party.”

DiversityInc contacted the Republican National Committee for comment but did not receive a response.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), in a statement, described McCain’s comments as “disappointing and disturbing” and said it had sent the Arizona senator a letter asking that he withdraw his statements.

“We would have thought that a senator as experienced and respected as John McCain would place himself above such divisive appeals to religious intolerance,” said Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the ADL, in a statement. “His remarks were inaccurate and ill-advised for any candidate seeking to lead a nation as religiously diverse as ours … Absolutely nothing in the Constitution establishes that the U.S. is a Christian nation, nor is it accurate to say that this nation was founded on Christian principles.”

Oh, poor, poor John the Baptist McCain! Won’t anyone come to your defense?

From Think Progress:

But there’s at least one religious group that is proudly backing McCain’s religious bigotry. In a press release, the Christian Coalition — an organization founded by Pat Robertson — said McCain may win the presidency with his “America is a Christian Nation” comment:

In a Christian Coalition of America blog entry entitled: “McCain’s ‘America is a Christian Nation’ Comments Might Make Him President,” Jim Backlin said: “Comments like ‘America was founded on Christian principles’ by Senator John McCain just might make him president.

Oh, and there’s this guy:

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) has also lept to his friend’s defense: “I have known John McCain very well for many years and I know that he does not have a bigoted bone in his body. I know that he is fair and just to all Americans regardless of their faith.”


Will all of this do John the Baptist McCain any good?

From Salon:

Sept. 30, 2007 | WASHINGTON — A powerful group of conservative Christian leaders decided Saturday at a private meeting in Salt Lake City to consider supporting a third-party candidate for president if a pro-choice nominee like Rudy Giuliani wins the Republican nomination.

The meeting of about 50 leaders, including Focus on the Family’s James Dobson, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins and former presidential candidate Gary Bauer, who called in by phone, took place at the Grand America Hotel during a gathering of the Council for National Policy, a powerful shadow group of mostly religious conservatives. James Clymer, the chairman of the U.S. Constitution Party, was also present at the meeting, according to a person familiar with the proceedings.


According to a New York Times profile, the CNP was established in 1981, with the help of Paul Weyrich, chairman of the Free Congress Foundation, and the Rev. Tim LaHaye, the bestselling author of the “Left Behind” book series. In recent years, President Bush, former Undersecretary of State John Bolton and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld have met with the group, the Times reported. CNP membership is a closely held secret, and its meetings are not publicly announced or open to the press.

Dobson, who is one of the nation’s most outspoken Christian leaders, has previously announced that he does not support Giuliani, Arizona Sen. John McCain or former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson as nominees for the Republican Party.

(Side note: Read more about CNP here!)

Pander on, John the Baptist McCain!!


Filed under 2008 election, Anti-Defamation League, Beliefnet, Chimpy, Christian Coalition, Christianity, Constitution, Council for National Policy, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Daniel Pipes, Donald Rumsfeld, Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, Fred Thompson, Free Congress Foundation, Gary Bauer, George W. Bush, humor, Islam, James Clymer, James Dobson, Jesus, Joe Lieberman, John Bolton, John McCain, movies, parody, Pat Robertson, Paul Weyrich, Peter King, politics, Republicans, Rudy Giuliani, snark, Tim LaHaye, Tony Perkins, Virgil Goode

11 responses to “Candor or Pander?

  1. I’d say he was being candid in an effort to pander.

    As for me, I too would never vote for a Muslim Presidential candidate. I simply do not see Muslim values as being compatible with American values.

    If it is between being a free society and a repressive one, I’ll stick with candidates who live by standards and values that will strengthen, not weaken, our national character.

    Which is why I’d never vote for McCain, either.

  2. gottagrip

    Actually, Muslim values are American values. Islam, Judaism, and Christianity all come from the same tree, my friend. They are all children of Abraham. It is not the faith that makes the difference, it’s those who would pervert it. The same can be said for those Christians who would try to insert their religion into every aspect of political discourse, despite the fact that the separation of church and state was one of the deepest held principles of America’s founding fathers.

    This country has a vast array of different religions practiced by significant numbers for each. Why should your faith trump someone else’s faith? If we’re going by the true religion this country was founded on, then we’d all better go have a good chat with the nearest tribe of indigenous peoples. Sun worship, anyone?

    I really don’t care what a person’s faith is when I vote for them, I just want them to do the job at hand and make sure that all my rights are protected. Those that pander will not do that, of course. But then, neither will so many others.

  3. Friend of the court

    What are American values? Seriously, what is left of American values that requires a person of any religious beliefs, to, “strengthen, not weaken, our national character.”? Are exclusion and bigotry values that need to be strengthened? “Believe what I believe or go to hell. Amen.”

  4. Thank you gottagrip. All three faiths come from the same root. Although you would never know it by Christians.

    McCain was stating something that Christians on the right seem to believe. It’s ashamed that they are forced to live in a diverse world.

    Personally I would rather have a president that didn’t tell WTF his/her religion is. I don’t care. Just look at where all those Christian values have gotten us.

  5. So, you would force your daughters to wear body-obscuring clothing? Would it be acceptable to you if Americans stone others, issue fatwas calling for the deaths of those they didn’t agree with?

    Are these actions (which are reflective of the values of people from those countries who immigrate here) acceptable and equal to “American” values?

    Moral and Cultural Equivalancy are the tools of a lazy mind. There is nothing “progressive” about accepting evil.

  6. gottagrip

    You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. I’d explain it to you but I don’t think you’re capable of rigorous thought.

    Take your bigotry and go away. You’re a troll…

  7. nonnie9999

    the only one i ever remember worrying about covering up the female form was john ashcroft, and, if i remember correctly, he is not a muslim.
    let’s leave religion in the churches and the mosques and the temples. it has no place in politics. i don’t give a damn if someone prays to their dirty socks if s/he can balance the budget, make this world a peaceful place, guarantee everyone healthcare, and educate our kids.
    what are american values? are they bill bennett’s values? he wrote a book about them, but he didn’t include gambling as a sin. jerry falwell’s values? i’m not a christian, but isn’t gluttony a sin? how about pat robertson? is making money from blood diamonds a christian, and, therefore, american value?

  8. gottagrip

    Thank you, nonnie, and sorry for getting pissy. But that kind of ignorant bigotry really makes me see red. I apologize for having a fit here.

  9. nonnie9999

    no apologies necessary. religion can be a touchy subject, and i fully expected that there might be a bit of disagreement. thankfully, we still have freedom of speech (for how long, i don’t know), so rant on.

  10. patrioticamerican:
    You really need to do some serious higher education reading. Bible school BS doesn’t cut it in the real world.

    Your statement:
    fatwas calling for the deaths of those they didn’t agree with…

    Answer: That would be the religious right wing’s mantra on the rest of America and the world.

  11. nonnie9999

    i thought those fatwas calling for the death of those who disagreed were issued by bill o’reilly. he likes to sic faux news security on anyone he doesn’t like. i think i will write a book about it, and i think i will call it the falafel fatwas.