Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is backpedaling from his statement that the "Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation."
In an interview with Beliefnet.com , McCain said the most important issue to consider when selecting a president 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?". . .
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." (READ MORE)