McCain rejects endorsement of "spiritual guide" Parsley

In quick succession, John McCain has attempted to distance himself from two of his prominent Christian conservative supporters.


Alex Koppelman
May 23, 2008 6:14PM (UTC)

On Thursday, John McCain rejected the endorsement of one his most controversial supporters, Pastor John Hagee. He didn't wait long before rejecting another, Rod Parsley. Parsley, a preacher based at a megachurch in Ohio, has made anti-Islamic comments, saying, for example, that the prophet Mohammed is "the mouthpiece of a conspiracy of spiritual evil." McCain has called Parsley a "spiritual guide."

My former colleague, Time's Michael Scherer, reports on a press availability at which McCain hinted he was distancing himself from Parsley, while at the same time working in a shot at Barack Obama and his former pastor. "My church I attend is North Phoenix Baptist Church. My pastor and spiritual guide is Pastor Dan Yeary," McCain said. "I've never been to Pastor Hagee's church or Pastor Parsley's church. I didn't attend their church for 20 years. I'm not a member of their church." (The 20 years part is a reference to Obama, who attended Trinity United Church of Christ for 20 years while the Rev. Jeremiah Wright led it.)

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Later, in an interview with the Associated Press, McCain confirmed that he was in fact rejecting Parsley's endorsement, saying, "I believe there is no place for that kind of dialogue in America, and I believe that even though he endorsed me, and I didn't endorse him, the fact is that I repudiate such talk, and I reject his endorsement."

On a personal, small-world note, I was at Parsley's church the Sunday before the 2006 elections, and covered his sermon for Salon -- you can read that here.


Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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2008 Elections John Mccain, R-ariz. War Room

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