WASHINGTON (AFP) — Republican White House hopeful John McCain has rejected the endorsement of a second pastor, this time for reportedly calling Islam "the mouthpiece of a conspiracy of spiritual evil."
Pastor Rod Parsley, who had thrown his support behind the Arizona senator in February, also said Islam was an "anti-Christ religion that intends through violence to conquer the world," according to ABC news.
"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," McCain said in a statement late Thursday.
It was the second endorsement rejected by McCain on Thursday, after he earlier disavowed fiery evangelical Texas pastor, John Hagee, who said he believed the Nazis did God's will by chasing Jews from Europe.
Hagee is a well-known television evangelist who founded the strongly pro-Israel Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas. It has 19,000 members, according to his website.
On Thursday, the Huffington Post website posted audio of his remarks in a 1990s sermon, and published comments he made saying Adolf Hitler was a "hunter" sent by God to herd Jews to the land of Israel.
"Why did it happen? Because God said my top priority for the Jewish people is to get them to come back to the land of Israel," Hagee was quoted as saying.
McCain, the presumed Republican presidential nominee, called the remarks "deeply offensive and indefensible, and I repudiate them."
"I did not know of them before Reverend Hagee's endorsement, and I feel I must reject his endorsement as well."
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