Washington, DC – The Interfaith Alliance called on Senator John McCain to reject absurd and offensive comments made by two prominent religious supporters of his candidacy.

The Huffington Post has documented a sermon Pastor John Hagee delivered in the late 1990s, which argued that “the Nazis had operated on God’s behalf to chase the Jews from Europe and shepherd them to Palestine.” In addition, Brave New Films has chronicled statements by Rev. Rod Parsley claiming the United States is at war with Islam.

The Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, a practicing Baptist minister and President of the Interfaith Alliance issued the following statement:

“Clergy can and should speak out about issues of the day, but when they insert themselves into the political process, they must be prepared to have their statements from the pulpit scrutinized and their actions seriously questioned. When candidates for public office seek to profit from the endorsement of clergy who become politically involved, they, too, must be held accountable for the clergy person’s words and actions.

The extremist, hate-mongering comments and views of ministers like Rev. John Hagee and Rev. Rod Parlsey should be of great concern to all Americans and of special concern to presidential candidate John McCain. Both men have enthusiastically endorsed Senator McCain for president. Now, some of the past statements of these would-be political players demand immediate, public renunciation.

Senator McCain needs to tell the American people that he refutes these absurd and offensive comments that breed hate and send the wrong signal about America to the international community. There is no place in public discourse for religious or political leaders to espouse this narrow-minded thinking and hatred.”

Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.