The Question: John McCain’s spiritual guide, televangelist Rod Parsley, calls Islam a “false religion” that should be “destroyed.” Should McCain renounce Parsley? Will Islam be an issue in this year’s U.S. presidential election?

John McCain should immediately renounce Rod Parsley not only for his astounding hate mongering against Islam, but also for his extreme views on a range of issues including his denunciation of separation of church and state.

Why hasn’t McCain already distanced himself from such a radical as Parsley? Well, first because Parsley apparently says what the “base” wants to hear, and McCain, who, in February of 2000, denounced the two best-known leaders of the Christian religious right, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, as “agents of intolerance,” needs the base to win. Of course, it helps that McCain reversed himself and went to Liberty University in the spring of 2006 to deliver the commencement address, defend the war and try to make up with religious conservatives.

Even so, what Parsley says is so over the top on Islam that it would make it virtually impossible for McCain, should he be elected President, to communicate any kind of respect for Islamic nations in his foreign relations and be believed. Even President George W. Bush has been careful to communicate respect toward Islam.

In his writings, Parsley has called upon Christians to actively confront the “false religion” of Islam with the aim of destroying it. He urges his readers to realize that a confrontation between Christianity and Islam is unavoidable: “We find now we have no choice. The time has come.” He ramps up the fear: “We may already be losing the battle. As I scan the world, I find that Islam is responsible for more pain, more bloodshed, and more devastation than nearly any other force on earth at this moment.” Parsley claims that Islam is an “anti-Christ religion” predicated on “deception.” The Muslim prophet, Mohammed, he writes, “received revelations from demons and not from the true God.”

Bill Moyers, when he and his wife Judith received the Union Medal from Union Theological Seminary in 2005 “for their contributions to faith and reason in America,” chose to focus, in his speech, “9/11 and the Sport of God” in large part, on Rod Parsley.


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